Denver Nuggets: The weight of a big time injury to a small market franchise

The Denver Nuggets suffered more than just a loss in the W/L column with the game against the Warriors. The Nuggets lost a player absolutely vital to their success in Jamal Murray. If Nikola Jokic is the engine that makes the Nuggets run, Jamal Murray is without question the driver.

The ramifications of this Jamal Murray injury to the Denver Nuggets and their championship window

The Nuggets were set up for possibly their best shot at a championship ever in this team’s history with this roster. The confidence level of the organization, the team, the fans, and even outsiders was at an all-time high. An injury like this couldn’t have come at a worse time and you really feel for Jamal Murray the person, and Jamal Murray the basketball player. There is no doubt about it, this is a deflating loss to everyone involved in the Nuggets organization.

Losing Murray to a torn ACL at a time where the Nuggets’ window for contention is as wide as ever just adds to the weight of this loss. The Nuggets are a small-market NBA team that traditionally has had to rely on drafting well and developing players, they don’t have the luxury to conjure a team from the free agency market every other year like bigger market teams often can.

Teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, LA Clippers, Miami Heat, and New York teams (NY Knicks, Brooklyn Nets) can reload on big-name free agents who choose to team up to play for them.

If you look at Denver’s “Big 3” alone, Jamal Murray was the 7th pick overall in 2016, Michael Porter Jr. was drafted 14th overall in 2018, and back in 2014, the Nuggets drafted Nikola Jokic in the second round during a Taco Bell commercial. They were drafted and developed, there were a lot of growing pains and the three are finally hitting their stride.

The opportunity to win a championship is a long journey for the Nuggets, over a span of at least 5 years of building and developing their roster (which is usually how it goes for small market teams) whereas other big market teams can re-load every other year and compete for a championship.

The way the Nuggets have to stay the course and trust in the small market model and grind made Jamal Murray going down even more painful. Having to do so much just to even have a championship window in the first place that most small market teams don’t see over long periods of time adds frustration to the situation.

You also feel for Jamal Murray who is as passionate of a player as anyone. Jamal Murray broke out during his first career playoff run, and then last year in the bubble he was historical and became one of the most dangerous and fun players to watch.

The pain of this injury for Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray

This year has been a year that Murray proved to be one of the more clutch players in the league and after not making an All-Star team, you know he was looking forward to getting back to the playoffs to show again what he’s capable of. He showed he is more than ready for those moments when the lights shine the brightest and the pressure is on, I mean it’s Jamal, he wants to be the best.

Jamal Murray’s injury is bad for the entire NBA, not just the Nuggets

This will also be a loss for the NBA in general as Murray has proved to be one of their young bright stars of the league last year. Murray was downright fun to watch in last year’s playoffs and one of the main reasons the Denver Nuggets were able to come back from down 3-1… twice!

He was part of one of the most thrilling first-round series you’ll ever see against the Utah Jazz. This series featured him and Donovan Mitchell going at it. Then, the odds were stacked against the team again going up against the LA Clippers, but Murray and company were able to dig deep and best Kawhi Leonard and Paul George as well.

Murray is well respected around the league and many like to watch the “Blue Arrow” heat up. Many NBA players shared their good wishes with Jamal Murray because at the end of the day no athlete likes to see another athlete go down due to injury.

This injury brings up another point about the concerns from GMs and coaches around the league about the shortened season. The condensed schedule this season could be a reason we’re seeing some unfortunate injuries to star players.

Players can be in great shape, but the wear and tear from so many games in a shortened amount of time right after the playoffs in Orlando just ended. The injury is a tough pill to swallow for Nuggets fans but If you know Jamal, you know to trust his mindset and that he will come back strong. Jamal will no doubt attack his recovery like he attacks everything when it comes to basketball.