I’ve said often since the Nuggets selected Murray with the 7th pick in the 2017 draft that Jamal could be Denver’s best player. It’s hard to quantify how I separate the things that go into Murray’s greatness versus those that make up Nikola Jokic’. Murray is the most explosive, most physically gifted player on the Nuggets roster. That doesn’t mean he’s the leader or the most valuable of the young Core.
It does mean that Murray’s piece of the Nuggets puzzle is well attuned to the needs of his team. Picture Denver in their half-court set. Do you see Nikola at the top of the key with the ball? The Nuggets, with Jokic’ skills are as non-traditional as you’ll find in the NBA. The demands from the point guard position are different in Denver and Jamal Murray fits that demand perfectly. He’s tough, having missed only one game in his two seasons. There seems to be no fear in Jamal, he will bang with much bigger players, he’s an above-average rebounding guard. He can change games on both ends of the floor.
Jamal Murray also makes his free throws. Any longtime Nuggets fan will confirm what a relief that is.
After Murray, the ranks are thin. Devin Harris is an unrestricted free agent leaving only Monte Morris behind the former Kentucky standout.
Morris is another of those guys that could make an incredible impact on the Nuggets fortunes. If he were able to eat minutes as the backup point, Denver would again have an opportunity next summer to fine-tune this squad into a contender.
The Nuggets as contenders is coming, sooner than anyone is ready for. It’s going to happen without Donovan Mitchell or LeBron James. It’s probably going to have Faried and Arthur on the bench for another season.
I have been cynical as a Nuggets fan. I understand the frustration.
In the 35 plus years I’ve been watching Nuggets basketball, this is as sure and as excited as I’ve been for the prospects for the team.