Jamal Murray had not played meaningful NBA minutes until the Nuggets suited up for their first preseason game. The team succumbed to the division rival, Oklahoma City Thunder, 112-101. However, the defeat is honestly the least of Denver’s worries. If anything, the Nuggets should feel hopeful for the coming season after Jamal Murray showed he was officially back to form. The main topic going into this first preseason game was not whether the Nuggets could compete for a title this season. It was whether they could stay healthy SO they could compete for a championship. After what the basketball world saw from a small sample size of a healthy Jamal Murray, it is safe to say Denver fans should feel hopeful.
Jamal Murray Shines in Limited Time in First Game Back
Jamal Murray: His Importance to the Denver Nuggets
Any avid Nuggets fan will tell you how vital Murray is to the success of this team. While Nikola Jokic is the franchise cornerstone, Jamal Murray is the second-best player on the team. He is just as important to Denver’s fluid offense. Remember, the Nuggets are getting a fringe-All-Star back who had historic playoff numbers back in the 2020 season. The same man put up totals of 31.6 points, 5.6 total rebounds, and 6.3 assists per game during said postseason campaign. Not to mention, Murray also shot 53.3 percent from beyond the arc coupled with a field goal percentage of 55.0 percent during that playoff run.
Having a healthy Michael Porter Jr. back will also help the Nuggets’ chances and allow Jamal to operate with more room now that opposing defenses won’t be able to key in on him without risking leaving Jokic or Porter Jr. open. Do not forget, before the ACL injury to Murray, the Nuggets had one of the best net ratings in the league right after they traded for Aaron Gordon. Many were saying the team was poised to make a deep playoff run until that fateful April night. Now that the Nuggets have their second-best player back, this just may be the year the Western Conference gets a new top dog.
Jamal’s Performance in the First Preseason Game
Jamal Murray, along with many of the other players, had to knock some of the rust off as they struggled a bit in the first quarter. After all, the Kentucky product had not played in an actual NBA game in over 500 days. However, the second quarter is when Nuggets fans got what they like to call a “Muray flurry.” Jamal found himself open in the corner for a wide-open three-point shot at one point and knocked it down giving him his first basket in an NBA game in over a year.
That was the turning point as Murray really gained confidence as the second quarter progressed along. He eventually had a nice play for a shot at the rim in the paint and even hit a step-back three. However, the icing on top was a buzzer-beater on an off-balanced shot. One that kissed off the glass as the Nuggets went into halftime. For the night, Jamal finished with 10 points on four for seven shooting from the field, a box plus/minus of plus four, and two for three from downtown. If there were any doubts about Jamal Murray coming back, they were laid to rest in this preseason game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
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