Welcome To Denver: Jamal Murray

Analysts and fans know Jamal Murray can shoot the basketball. But at the end of the day, he wants to prove he belongs in the NBA.

At 6’4” and 207 pounds, the 19-year-old Murray entered the 2016 NBA Draft after playing at University of Kentucky for just one year. He was the leading scorer for the Wildcats, averaging 20.0 points and shooting 40.8% from long range. Murray also chipped in 5.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.0 steals per game. For his work at the college level, he racked up plenty of accolades, including an All-SEC First Team and an AP Third Team All-American selection.

Murray has worked tirelessly to get this point. When he was six, he was playing basketball against kids almost twice his age. Murray also played for Team Canada in the Pan American Games, where he scored all 22 of his points in the fourth quarter and overtime in a win against Team USA.

The hard work definitely has paid off.

Although many mock drafts projected Murray to be selected within the top five, Denver found exactly who they wanted at No. 7. Murray had been on Denver’s short list, rated third overall on their draft board behind top picks Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram.

“Jamal was a guy we had targeted through the whole process,” Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly told Nuggets.com in an exclusive interview after the draft. “We thought the combination of his shooting, ability to play both off and on the ball and his work ethic fits in perfectly with what we’re trying to build.

“We were lucky he was there.”

Although he was happy to be drafted by the Nuggets, Murray believes he slid a bit in the draft and that fact only serves to motivate him more.

“I always believe I’m the best player, and when a team really sees the No. 1 choice, like Denver did, then I just want to play for them more,” Murray said.

“I want to give them all I’ve got, and I just want to learn and be ready to compete.”

Take a look behind-the-scenes as Jamal Murray's name is called at the 7th pick during the 2016 NBA Draft!