Jamal Murray is fresh off major knee surgery and a year of recovery. That has to be considered here, but so does the fact that he is still 25 years old. Murray is younger than the other high-profile guards he is jockeying for position with, and it’s not like Fred VanVleet and Ben Simmons are operating with clean bills of health.
We have seen flashes of true stardom from Murray. The injury was a setback, but he was on the precipice of a major ascension last time we saw him. Murray has long possessed immense confidence in his own ability, but the development of his peripheral skills and the improvement of his defense are sources of extreme optimism in Denver.
A healthy Jamal Murray might just be the most prolific scorer from this draft. First and foremost he can bury the defense from 3-point range (40.4 percent on 6.6 attempts per game in 2020-21). Murray has deep range on his pull-up jumper and he’s equally capable of moving without the ball and relocating for spot-up 3s. Murray has never really played the traditional point guard role in Denver and there’s room for him to grow as a facilitator, but he puts pressure on the rim and generates opportunities with his dribble penetration — something that’s absolutely crucial for the Nuggets’ offense.
It will take time for Murray to shake off the rust. Lower leg injuries are no joke and the Nuggets will proceed with caution. But, in the grand scheme of things, it should amount to little more than a blip on the radar. Murray is a tremendous talent and will emerge as All-Star material sooner than later.