The Denver Nuggets have played phenomenally as of late, as they have won seven games and are on a three game winning streak. They are currently 7-1, and their only loss was against the fourth-seeded Minnesota Timberwolves last week.
Recently, against the Chicago Bulls, Jamal Murray left the game early and only played nine minutes. Murray was out the next game two days later against the New Orleans Pelicans. He is currently expected to miss some time with a hamstring strain.
The Denver Nuggets missing their second-best player and dynamic scorer in Murray puts them in a bit of limbo. They no longer have Bruce Brown to fill in as the starting point guard, as Reggie Jackson will now start instead.
Head coach Mike Malone said the injury is more than “a one or two game injury.” This could be a few weeks that Murray will be out, which is detrimental to Denver’s potential success.
With Jamal Murray out, that leaves a hole in production on offense. Nikola Jokic will get his points, there’s no doubt there. Michael Porter Jr. is a gifted scorer and can heat up at any time. Reggie Jackson, even though no longer in his prime, is still a solid passer and can create his shot when needed.
There has to be someone who will step up and produce more on offense with their All-Star caliber point guard sidelined for a while.
Aaron Gordon needs to be a more focal player on offense
To start the new season, Aaron Gordon has been a great player. He’s been a tremendous finisher, which is something we are used to. His defense is still phenomenal, as he is one of the most versatile players in the NBA on the defensive side of the ball. He’s also been very fashionable, something small to note.
Now that Murray is out, though, he’ll need to be tasked with more on offense. Looking at his last three games, he has had five assists and six assists twice. He is currently averaging the most assists in his career with 3.9. Sure, it is a small sample size with only eight games, but even so, it can be sustainable.
One thing to work on, though, is his jump shot. He is shooting a career low 25.0 percent from beyond the arc, which is a far cry from his 34.7 percent from last season. Now that Murray is out, Denver’s offense will be less spaced out than before. Reggie Jackson is a capable shooter from deep, but even so, they won’t have as much space.
And with the Denver Nuggets facing off against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night, their offense and defense have to be on point. It’s not every day that the NBA champs from the past two seasons face off.
Draymond Green or Andrew Wiggins will be tasked to guard Gordon, both being stellar defenders. This means he might not get as many good looks to shoot the ball, which could mean that Gordon will have to be a primary playmaker in the post.
He may not have to score a ton of points to be effective, though. Seeing that he’s had a tremendous playmaker recently, this means that he can be a more focal point with the ball in his hands and creating for his teammates.
Whether the Denver Nuggets continue their success or not, Aaron Gordon should still be a primary part of their offense.