With the new NBA season set to tip off in just over a month, many sportsbooks have opened up betting on who will win the league’s major awards. Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey recently drafted up a list of the top sleeper picks to win MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year, Most Improved Player, Rookie of the Year, and Clutch Player of the Year. Amongst his choices for the latter, Bailey name-dropped Denver Nuggets star Jamal Murray.
Murray enters the season with +2500 odds to take home the clutch award, according to DraftKings sportsbook. Last season, he was Denver’s second-leading scorer behind Nikola Jokic in clutch minutes, which the NBA defines as minutes when the scoring margin is within 5 points with five or fewer minutes remaining in a game.
He averaged 2.6 points per game on 35.3% shooting from the field and 37.9% from distance, over the course of 26 clutch games played. If he’s going to take home the big award this season, then those efficiency splits are going to have to take a jump.
Denver Nuggets star Jamal Murray’s fit with Team Canada called into question
Even though Murray wound up sitting out of this year’s FIBA World Cup, the Canadian National Team has been thriving. Led by Oklahoma City Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the Canadians have made their way to the quarterfinals, where they’ll meet the Slovenian National Team, led by Luka Doncic.
“I’ve heard now from multiple trusted international experts working for NBA teams who have questioned how seamlessly a SGA/Murray backcourt would have functioned,” NBA Insider Marc Stein wrote. “I suspect Canadian officials will wish they had both of their star guards if this team advances to the later rounds, when better defenses will naturally lock in on Gilgeous-Alexander, but there’s certainly a clear offensive pecking order as it stands with Murray declining to play after his lengthy postseason run to an NBA championship with the Nuggets.”