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Guard Jamal Murray will miss the rest of the season after tearing his left ACL
KELLY WERTHMANN: The Denver Nuggets will have to move on without one of their best players. Jamal Murray suffered a torn ACL against the Warriors on Monday and is out indefinitely. This is a big loss for a team with championship aspirations.
Michael Spencer joining us now, and, Michael, the basketball gods certainly not doing the Nuggets any favors.
MICHAEL SPENCER: No, they're certainly not, Kelly. You know, Jamal was in the middle of one of the best seasons of his career. Now the Nuggets are going to have to adjust without him. You're talking about a guy who is really kind of the heart and soul of this Nuggets team. He was averaging a career best in points. And, Kelly, he really brought it every single night.
Nikola Jokic is by far their best player. I don't think anybody is going to argue that point. But Jamal was the guy that they turn to in critical situations. He was the guy who could get hot all of a sudden from 3-point land, and he was their kind of motor, if you will. This is a huge, huge loss for the Denver Nuggets.
As you mentioned, they have championship aspirations. Now there's a big question as to whether or not they can even advance past the first round in the playoffs moving forward.
KELLY WERTHMANN: Well, they've got a strong roster, right? So who needs to step up to help try to cover Murray's absence? I mean, you mentioned the Joker. He obviously does a lot of hard work for the team.
MICHAEL SPENCER: Yeah, I think it's almost impossible for Nikola Jokic to try and do more than what he is already doing. I think you're going to look for Michael Porter, Jr. to step up and maybe provide even more scoring right now. I also think that Aaron Gordon and Will Barton are guys who are going to be called upon offensively to improve the way that they are playing right now to help this team moving forward.
As for the point-guard spot, I mean, Jamal brought a lot more than just scoring to this Nuggets team. So you're looking at Monté Morris and Facundo Campazzo, the two backup point guards. They can fill in that role admirably. I also wouldn't be surprised if the Nuggets go out on the free-agent market and try to bring in a veteran.
But this is a really big loss because Jamal not only can score in bunches but he's a playmaker and he sets up everybody else, and the two-man game that he had going with Nikola Jokic this year was arguably some of the best two-man basketball that we have seen not only in Denver in quite some time but maybe across the entire NBA in quite some time.
So this is a big loss. Look for everybody else to be called upon to score a little bit more, and then Monté Morris and Facundo Campazzo are going to have the ball in their hands a lot more moving forward.
KELLY WERTHMANN: So how far, Michael, do you think the Nuggets will get without the Blue Arrow?
MICHAEL SPENCER: Well, I think they had championship aspirations with him. I think it's fair to say that you can take those off the table right now. He was that essential to what they do. I think they could maybe give it a run in the first round of the playoffs, but I certainly don't see this team advancing past the second round and into the Western Conference Finals, which, of course, is where they got last year.
This is a big, big hit to this team not just for this year, Kelly, but this ACL is a nine-month minimum recovery. I mean, Jamal's a really tough dude, but there's a chance that this could affect him at the beginning of next season as well. Going to be really interesting to watch that moving forward.
KELLY WERTHMANN: Well, we certainly hope the best for his recovery. So, I mean, you kind of hinted to it here, but what do the odds say for Denver winning a championship?
MICHAEL SPENCER: Yeah, they took a drastic drop. At this point yesterday the Nuggets were plus 1,600. That means 1,600-- or excuse me, 16 to 1 in order to win the NBA Finals. They have now dropped to plus 3,000. That's 30 to 1 odds there. So you lay $1 on the Nuggets yesterday to win the championship, you'd get back $16. Today it's $30. That tells you just how much that move is going to impact the Nuggets moving forward, especially in the eyes of the oddsmakers in Vegas.
KELLY WERTHMANN: Well, once again we wish Jamal Murray well with his recovery. And, of course, we're rooting for the Nuggets. We-- nothing is impossible, right? Nothing is impossible.
MICHAEL SPENCER: That's exactly right. That's exactly right. And hey, look, there's also still the Avs, right? So we still have that going for us as far as Denver fan bases. But yeah, obviously a big hit to the Nuggets moving forward.
KELLY WERTHMANN: Absolutely. All right, well, Michael, thank you so much, and we have the latest on all Colorado sports here on CBSN Denver and CBSDenver.com.