Denver Nuggets’ Jamal Murray is one of NBA’s most unique point guards

Jan 7, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27) sits on the bench before the game against the Dallas Mavericks at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 7, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27) sits on the bench before the game against the Dallas Mavericks at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray is one of the more interesting players in the league, and here’s why.  Let’s look at some of the things we know.  When watching Jamal Murray it’s easy to see the ability he possesses, he confirmed that during the playoffs last year in the bubble.  We also know that his career numbers in a span of 4 years being the Nuggets starting point guard (2017/18-2020/21) are very similar in most categories (points, rebounds, assists, steals, shooting percentages per basketball reference.

Because the numbers are so similar it’s easy to misunderstand the growth in Murray’s game, but then he does what he did in the bubble looking unstoppable putting up historical performances.  That player certainly looked like an all star caliber player, even a superstar.  He proved why he is the max player the Nuggets think he is.

Any person would expect to see Jamal Murray continue that ascension into the next season, but it is more complex than that if you watch the games, Murray has had a slow start but he doesn’t play with the same aggression for a full game and passes up many of the shots we saw him take in the bubble.  Coach Malone and teammates continuously stay on Jamal about looking for and taking his shots.  There is a simple reason we don’t see bubble Murray all the time in the regular season.

Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray is one of the most unique in the NBA

Jamal Murray is one of the more unique point guards in the NBA because he’s in one of the most unique positions as a point guard in the NBA.  The offense that the Denver Nuggets run is a rather unorthodox offense.  You can’t find another point guard with his abilities that plays alongside a player like Nikola Jokic.  Speaking of unique, Nikola Jokic is just that and he’s downright special.

The Nuggets simply win games when Nikola Jokic is the engine to that offense.  He is a point center which essentially takes away duties from Jamal Murray, there isn’t another center in the league that not only does the offense go through him, but he can legitimately run the offense from any spot on the court.

Jokic can run the Nuggets offense from the low and high post, from the top of the key, fast breaks, and even out of bounds with his full court passes.  The ball must go through Jokic because since he became a full time starter, the Nuggets have boasted a top 5 offensive rating in each of those seasons so why would you change anything up as it has proven to be successful and efficient.

So instead of Jamal Murray taking tough shots which we know he can make, the offense is designed around Jokic, ball movement and player movement for easy baskets.  In the playoffs, it was evident that more was needed, and so Murray stepped up in a big way.

When you think of the best guards in the NBA you think of players like Steph Curry, Damian Lillard, Kyrie Irving, or even Trae Young because they are players that can take over a game and light up the scoreboard.  Jamal Murray isn’t considered in that category of players and understandably so because the numbers he puts up aren’t up there with those players and they seem to do special things almost every game of the season.

But people have to remember that none of those players and no other guard in the NBA play with anyone close to Nikola Jokic.  They don’t have to go down the court every possession with their big man having to touch the ball to essentially run the offense, no point guard does.  It would be something to see if Jamal Murray had his own team where he was the go to guy and where it would make sense for him to have the green light every possession down the court.

Other guards don’t have to even pass it to their big man if they don’t want to because typically their shot on the court is the best shot on the court.  I mean, what do you trust more, a Steph Curry/Damian Lillard created shot or their respected Centers with the ball in their hands? That isn’t the case with the Denver Nuggets as Jokic creates easy baskets for himself and everyone else on the court.  “He’s throwing free cheeseburgers” like Paul Milsap said earlier this season.

Who’s to say if Jamal Murray was on a team such as Portland instead of Damian Lillard, that he wouldn’t average in the upper 20’s as far as ppg because he would be attempting more shots.  Not many would consider Jamal Murray as a better player than Damian Lillard, but one could argue that Jamal’s great playoff run was better than any Damian Lillard playoff run because of how special he was playing.

At that point in time, there weren’t many players in general that you would rather have had.  There is certainly something to be said when Jamal makes his mind up to only focus on scoring and nothing else.  When he is aggressive looking for his shot, he has a different bounce in his step.  When coach Malone decides to enter a lineup that features Monte Morris or Facu Campazzo at point guard and slide Jamal to shooting guard, he tends to look for his shot more often which bodes well for everybody.

Think what CP3 is to Devin Booker, Jamal could potentially be a more effective player if he focuses mainly on scoring.  Jamal has THAT special stuff in him just like other premiere guards as we saw in the playoffs where he was simply unconscious, but the Denver Nuggets just don’t demand that over the course of the regular season because the most efficient basketball is Nikola Jokic basketball.

Jamal aka “The Blue Arrow” recently turned 24  so he is still very young and his prime years are still ahead of him.  His numbers should increase but we won’t see Murray step into the category of “elite” guards unless there is a mix of him deciding to be more aggressive and a change in offensive philosophy for the Denver Nuggets, which the ladder isn’t likely.

He can flat out score the basketball, and he can get excitingly hot shooting the ball when he decides to be aggressive with confidence which was nice to see with his most recent 50 pt. performance.

When Jamal Murray is hot, only Jamal Murray can slow him down.  His hot streaks are something Nuggets fans are familiar with in spurts during games, but in the bubble, it lasted the whole playoffs which was great to see.  Jamal is passionate and he really does want to be the best, you can see the fire in him when he makes his mind up that he can’t be stopped.

Last season was his second playoff appearance, even in his first playoff appearance Jamal elevated his game from the regular season to the postseason.  The same happened last season so the Nuggets and their fans should feel confident that no matter what, when their backs are up against a wall, or when things really count, THAT Jamal Murray will show up and leave everything he has out there on the court.

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