The Nuggets started the second half of the season with a win over the Portland Trail Blazers. Nene, Danilo Gallinari, and Rudy Fernandez were all absent from the lineup due to injury. However, each are expected to suit up soon. With that, let's take a look at the Mid-Season grades for each forward.
Danilo Gallinari: A-
Gallinari was on his way to getting either an A or an A+ with the way that he was playing at the beginning of the season. Gallo was recording career highs in points, assists and steals per game and was also one tenth of a percent away from tying his career high in field goal percentage. Gallo was also getting the job done in the defensive end where his quick feet and size allowed him to lock down on smaller players.
And then Gallinari suffered an ankle injury that has sidelined him for three weeks. Gallinari is expected to return in a little over a week. Gallinari missed 10 games and will likely miss a couple more. If Gallinari can pick up where he left off before his injury, Denver could really turn into a threat in the West.
Corey Brewer: B-
Brewer wasn't expected to receive very many minutes due to being the backup to Gallinari. But when given the chance, Brewer showed great energy on the defensive end as well as the ability to operate effectively in transition. Brewer then found himself starting nine games for the Nuggets after Gallinari got injured. Brewer is currently averaging a clean 10 points per game despite playing only 21 minutes per game.
Brewer will likely take a reserve role once Gallinari and Wilson Chandler return to the lineup. But he will still likely have a spark plug role off the bench.
Wilson Chandler: I
Chandler receives an incomplete due to being stuck in China. For more information on when he will return to the NBA, click here.
Jordan Hamilton: C
Hamilton could easily be put at the shooting guard position, but for now he is in with the small forwards. Hamilton went from playing in the D-league at the beginning of the season to getting some solid minutes in recent games for the Nuggets. Hamilton's first couple games were nothing to get excited about as the rookie from Texas often looked lost on both sides of the floor.
Hamilton has since received more minutes due to injuries, and the results have been inconsistent. Against the Clippers, Hamilton went 4-5 from behind the arc and finished with a career-high 18 points in 24 minutes. On the next day however, Hamilton put up a goose egg in 27 minutes against the Spurs. Hamilton is just a rookie so things like this are to be expected.
[caption id="attachment_233" align="alignright" width="204" caption="Nene has struggled with injuries all season. Nene hopes to return within the next couple days. (Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)"][/caption]
Nene Hilario: B
Nene has struggled with injuries throughout the entire first half of the season. Most recently, Nene has been sidelined with a calf injury. Nene has been listed as day to day so he should be returning to the court relatively soon.
When he has played, Nene has put up solid numbers averaging 13.4 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. Nene's field goal percentage has dropped to 52%, but that is still respectable and keep in mind, Nene hasn't been at full strength for a lot of these games.
Al Harrington: A-
After a disappointing first season with the Nuggets , Big Al has rebounded in a big way as the 32-year-old is showing glimpses of his old self. Harrington is averaging 14.3 points per game which is almost four points more than last year. Harrington is also putting up a respectable 6.3 boards per game.
Harrington is scoring at a relatively efficient manner with a 45.5% field goal percentage although he is only shooting 31% from 3-point land. Harrington isn't the greatest defender in the world, but he has shown the ability to take over games and has embraced his role as a veteran leader.
Kenneth Faried: B
When Faried fell to the Nuggets in the draft, Denver must have been ecstatic. Faried was exactly the type of player Denver was looking for. Faried is a world-class rebounder which is evident in him being the all-time rebounding leader in college basketball. Faried is also a terrific athlete and can make an impact on the defensive end.
Like Hamilton, Faried didn't receive very many minutes at the beginning of the season, but Nene's injury paved the way for the rookie out of Morehead State. In his last 10 games, Faried is averaging 9.3 points and 7.6 rebounds per game in 21 minutes. Faried's most notable performance was when he battled arguably the NBA's best rebounder, Kevin Love. Love finished with 22 points and 13 rebounds in 48 minutes. Faried finished with 10 points and 14 rebounds in only 36 minutes. Not bad for a rookie.
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