PORTLAND — Steph Curry, Chris Paul, Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard, Russell Westbrook and James Harden are widely considered the premier point guards in the NBA, and with the 2019 NBA Playoffs in full swing, now is the time for guards to shine, per mad-betting.com
If you don’t his name by now, it may be time to say hello to the league’s next elite point guard in Jamal Murray.
A third-year point guard taken seventh overall in the 2016 NBA Draft out of Kentucky, the 6’4, 207-pound native out of suburban Toronto has helped the upstart Denver Nuggets on one of their deepest playoff runs in recent memory.
For a franchise that has never experience playoff success, or been in the post-season consistently, the second-seeded Denver Nuggets grew up in front of a national audience in beating one of the greatest coaches of all-time in Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs.
They have the emerging brilliance of Murray to thank for that in giving the historically mediocre Nuggets a solid and legit cornerstone to build around for the first time since the days of Carmelo Anthony.
With Denver trailing 2-1 in their West Semifinals series against the Portland Trail Blazers, Murray scored 34 points in 38 minutes in a 116-112 win, barely 48 hours after losing in a 4OT thriller, 140-137 in which he also notched 34 points, nine rebounds and five assists.
During the postseason, Murray has truly emerged into one of the top performers so far in the 201 NBA Playoffs, as he has averaged 21.7 points, 4.3 assists and 3.6 assists on 44.9 percent shooting from the field and 35.3 percent from three-point range.
Not many know of him, let alone get to see the brilliance that is Murray, which can be attributed to playing in a loaded Western Conference that has some of the game’s best guards such as the aforementioned Curry, Harden, Lilliard, Westbrook and Paul, but thanks to the rise of national prominence—along with fellow teammate Nikola Jokic’s triple-double brilliance on a nightly basis—Murray is getting his national closeup.
And it’s about time.
It’s not his fault that up until this point that he has been overshadowed, but in being one half of a young and promising duo alongside The Joker, Murray—and his last-minute clutch play—gives Denver and the young and on-the-comeup Nuggets a solid foundation to build on now and for years to come.
If you didn’t know who Murray was before the playoffs began, you will certainly remember it afterwards.