He’s just 21, folks.
That was my best Chris Marlowe impression, thanks. It’s an important thing to remember with Jamal Murray‘s volatility, he’s doing things that very few have done at his age. He’s going to miss the third game of his NBA career on Monday versus the Memphis Grizzlies. It’s almost a relief to have Murray injured such that he’s not going to miss significant time but he will be forced to rest.
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He may be 21 but he is not invincible and as we saw last year, he’s susceptible to being worn out late in the season. Taking these games off might be just enough to keep Murray in top form as the Nuggets push toward the playoffs.
Earlier in the season, when he had off games, he was immediately mentioned in trade rumors for whomever was supposed to be currently available. Kemba Walker and Jimmy Butler were subjects of myriad what-if scenarios. The ringleaders of the trade Jamal movement tended to be analytics guys who could make Murray’s numbers look like maybe we should’ve kept Emmanuel Mudiay.
When he wasn’t slated to be traded, it was suggested that he be benched in favor of Monte Morris. The impatience of the internet would not even allow for growing pains in a 21 year old phenom. Steph Curry averaged 14.7 points per game in his third season. Murray averages 18.5. Curry broke out in his fourth season and the Golden State Warriors have never looked back.
Nowadays, with off performances getting few and far-between for Murray, the calls for his removal have fallen off. He has Curry potential and is ahead of the schedule that Curry established.
In the preseason the goal for this team was to make the playoffs. It was never in the cards for the Nuggets to win the championship this year. Murray and Jokic need to break through 20 ppg barrier. Gary Harris needs to get and stay healthy or risk his development. Mostly what needs to happen with regards to Jamal is that he needs to be allowed to express himself and make mistakes. The payoff is a Steph Curry level point guard. The danger in strangling his development looks a lot more like Stephon Marbury.
We should be celebrating what Jamal is, not lamenting what he is not.