While the Denver Nuggets have struggled out to a 1-4 start to the 2020-21 regular season, it appears that Denver’s two stars — Nikola Jokić and Jamal Murray — have locked in and are producing to start the year.
Jokić is doing MVP level things, but Murray, who initially got off to a slow start, appears to be joining him back where he belongs on top of the NBA pedestal. After an incredible bubble performance, Nuggets fans grew worried when Murray started the year on the wrong foot in the season opener against the Sacramento Kings.
That game appears to be far behind Murray now. Denver’s second max contract player had a max worthy game against the Phoenix Suns. Murray, also known as Michael Jordan any time he faces a team from Arizona, chipped in what appeared to be an effortless 31 points on 12-of-22 from the field and 4-of-8 from three-point range. He added five assists, four rebounds, two steals, and was a plus-10 in a three-point loss. Among the reasons for Denver falling short, Murray was at the bottom of the list tonight, despite missing a game-tying shot opportunity with a couple seconds remaining.
Though he started low, Murray is suddenly averaging 21.0 points per game in the 2020-21 season, highlighted by shooting 40.0% from three-point range on 7.5 threes attempted per game. Certain factors may have aided in Murray’s ascension during the bubble this past playoff year, but Murray is giving fans every reason to believe the leap is real. Despite being hounded by Mikal Bridges, Chris Paul, and Jevon Carter for much of the evening, Murray still made things work and did what stars do: produce no matter what.