Nuggets 2018-19 Player Previews: Jamal Murray
Last Season: Jamal Murray was the Nuggets most improved player in points per game, averaging nearly 7.0 more points in 2017-18 to top out at 16.7 on the season. That was the headliner in a sophomore season that saw Murray improve across the board year-over-year in points, rebounds (3.7), assists (3.4), steals (1.0), field goal percentage (45.1), 3-point percentage (37.8) and free throw percentage (90.5). Murray was fifth in the NBA in free throw percentage, and was tied for first in the NBA (with Houston’s Chris Paul) in free throw percentage in clutch situations (minimum: 15 attempts). Murray made 96.3 percent of his free throws (26-of-27) in the clutch.
And he did all of this while learning the point guard position in his first full season as the starter. Over the course of the season, Murray got better at running his team – getting the Nuggets into offense early in the shot clock, reading situations right and hitting the open player for a shot attempt, getting off the ball and being ready to shoot himself -- and defensively being more active, with an average of a steal per game.
2017-18 Outlook: The beauty of this offseason for Murray was his health. He did not have to undergo any surgical procedures. He did not have to rehab any part of his body. As such, he spent all of his time in the summer working on his physical condition and the aspects of his game that he deemed necessary.
He’ll go into the season the unquestioned starter at point guard, and he’ll look to make a move into the upper echelon of players at that position in a talented crop of floor generals in the Western Conference. His comfort, chemistry and continuity with the other starters will allow him to hit the ground running this season.
Bold Prediction: Jamal Murray will lead the Nuggets in points, shoot over 40 percent from the 3-point line and make an average of 4.0 free throws per game.
Christopher Dempsey: email@example.com @chrisadempsey on Twitter.