Nuggets guard Jamal Murray says ‘the confidence is starting to come back’

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Nuggets Jamal Murray (left knee), Jeff Green (back) questionable vs Grizzlies

Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray missed all of last season due to an ACL injury. The 25-year-old is still working up to his full potential. Of course, the Kentucky product has already noticed a confidence boost in his game.

“I’m just taking it game by game,” Murray said prior to the Nuggets’ 120-100 win over the Houston Rockets. “I feel like at the start of the season, first couple of games, I was just happy to be there. Just not forcing it, not really going to the rim, not really being aggressive.”

Per a few NBA betting sites, the Nuggets have the eighth-best odds to win the championship in 2023. Some sportsbooks show higher odds for the Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference.

“Just kind of letting the ball come to me, and I’ll figure it out,” added Murray. “But now it’s forcing the issue more, getting to the paint, taking off dunking, all that stuff. So, everything’s starting to come back, and the confidence is starting to come back.

“It’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when you’re so far away. So just sticking to the weight room and sticking to my rehab routine was really crucial, and not getting too ahead of myself and thinking I got to do all kinds of crazy stuff in the game.”

Nuggets’ Jamal Murray is “taking it game by game” this season, rehab routine was the key

Through 17 starts this season, Murray is averaging 17.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 1.0 steal per game. To add to these stats, he’s shooting 44.5% from the floor and 37.9% beyond the arc as well.

The Nuggets are utilizing Murray in 27.3% of their plays — a notable career high analyzed via total games played — with the sixth-year player on the court.

Hands down, based on a number of statistics, the 2020-21 season was the guard’s best NBA season at this point. In 48 starts with the Nuggets, Murray averaged career highs of 21.2 points, 1.3 steals, 47.7% shooting from the field, and 40.8% from three-point range.

Not to mention, the Denver guard recorded a career-best true shooting percentage of 59.2%. And he logged a career-high player efficiency rating of 18.3. Can the 2016 first-round draft pick average 20 points per game this season?

It’s possible. In Murray’s last three games, he has scored at least 20 points. On Monday, in the Nuggets’ 129-113 win against the Rockets, the guard scored a season-high 31 points in 26 minutes played. He shot 11-of-17 (64.7%) from the floor and made four three-pointers.