The story of the regular season
There is not much to say about Jamal Murray’s 2021-22 season because their simply isn’t much to discuss. Murray missed the entire season recovering from ACL surgery and most of his year was talked about whether or not he was going to return to play. Internet video after internet video surfaced daily of Murray working out, which constantly gave Nuggets fans hope that he would be able to make a return before the season came to a close.
Even though it felt like time after time Murray would return to play and help the Nuggets push for that elusive title, the games went by and the Blue Arrow’s availability remained “out.” Reports then surfaced before the playoffs that Murray and Michael Porter Jr. were unlikely to play in the postseason, which took some wind out of the Nuggets sails before they ultimately lost in five games to the Golden State Warriors.
Murray said during his end of the season press conference a couple weeks ago that he’s not sure if he’s even 85 percent right now, which really puts into perspective how far away he was from playing this season. All in all, it’s not a bad thing that Murray did not rush to play this season because even with him on the roster it’s hard to envision the Nuggets getting past Golden State even with Murray on the floor.
The road ahead
This season review is taking a different approach than the other ones and rightfully so because Murray’s situation is a unique one. Murray goes into the offseason with a chance to hopefully get back into the form we saw from him two years ago, which was that of a dominant point guard.
It’s not going to be perfect right away and there are certainly going to be bumps in the road, but the hope has to be that Murray looks similar to his old self next season. With another full offseason, training camp, and preseason under his belt, hopefully that is all it takes for Murray to be ready once the regular season begins.
It will be two full years since Murray has gone through a training camp, which could definitely bring up some soreness in his knee that may force him to skip a couple practices or games here and there. That is what the offseason and preseason has to be about for Murray though is getting back out there and fighting through that pain with the hope it will not linger as the season progresses.
Do I expect Murray to be the Murray of old when the season begins? Absolutely not, but is he more than capable of doing that? 100 percent. With a fully healthy roster that features a big three of Nikola Jokic, Porter Jr., and Murray, the Nuggets will finally be able to make a push for a championship.
The key word there is healthy, which just hasn’t been the case for Denver each of the past two seasons and Murray’s injury is a big reason why. We saw what happened in the bubble as Murray has the ability to not just take over games, but playoff series as well. Murray willed the Nuggets to come from behind and beat the Utah Jazz after being down 3-1 and passed the baton to Jokic who did the same thing to get Denver to the Western Conference Finals.
It’s crazy to think that Jokic has won back-to-back MVP’s and Murray was only apart of half of one of those seasons. Just imagine how much better Jokic, the Nuggets, and Murray are going to be with a full season under their belt. With a couple roster tweaks here and there Denver has the chance to do something special this season and Murray is going to play a massive role in how far they will go.
Even though this season may have felt like a waste for Murray, it could definitely be in the Nuggets best interest long-term. No matter who the Nuggets add to their roster this offseason no addition will be greater than Murray — and Porter — and if he can return to the player we saw growing into a superstar a couple years ago.