Denver Nuggets

DENVER, CO – MAY 12: Jamal Murray (27) of the Denver Nuggets takes a breather against the Portland Trail Blazers during the third quarter on Sunday, May 12, 2019. The Denver Nuggets versus the Portland Trail Blazers in game seven of the teams’ second round NBA playoff series at the Pepsi Center in Denver. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

The Denver Nuggets made a great show of faith in Jamal Murray when they agreed to a five-year max-contract extension with him this offseason. We look at 3 key areas he could improve in to live up to his new deal.

The Denver Nuggets made the ultimate show of confidence in point guard Jamal Murray when they agreed to a five-year max-contract extension worth $170 million. The extension was initially scoffed at by many but giving the max extension to a player of Murray’s ilk is just the cost of doing business in today’s NBA. And based off of Murray’s 2018-19 season, it is easy to see why President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly and the Denver Nuggets felt he was more than worth the investment.

Over the 2018-19 season Murray averaged 18.2 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game, all career-highs. His efficiency took a hit in the postseason but he upped his raw scoring numbers to 21.3  points per game over Denver’s 14 playoff contests.

Perhaps the moment Murray sealed his long-term security in Denver was at some point during his 55-minute night against the Trail Blazers in Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals. In that matchup Murray had 34 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists and finished a +6 in a game the Nuggets lost by 3 points.

Murray dropped 34 points again in Game 4 of the WCS, playing more efficiently as he chipped in 4 assists and only 2 turnovers while getting to the free throw line a whopping 11 times.

It was always obvious that Murray was important to the Denver Nuggets offense but the 2018-19 playoffs helped illustrate the difference in how dangerous a team Denver is when he is on versus when is (very) off.

In that fateful Game 7 loss Murray was awful, scoring 17 points on 18 shots, which included going 0/4 from the 3-point line. He got to the free throw line quite a bit, gave effort on defense and gave up at any point. But nonetheless, Murray didn’t play like a superstar in a moment Denver needed him most. The pain of that loss no doubt helped serve as great motivation for Murray to work even harder towards becoming the best version of himself over the offseason and beyond.

With his fresh max contract extension in mind, we took a deep dive into three key areas of improvement for Jamal Murray heading into the 2019-20 season.

Source link