By CJ Carlson
Jamal Murray out 3-4 weeks
The Denver Nuggets are the reigning NBA champions and have picked up right where they’ve left off so far in 2023. Denver is currently 8-1 on the season thanks to some phenomenal play from their superstar center Nikola Jokic. However, this is a team that will have to face some early adversity now that Jamal Murray has gone down with an injury.
Murray aggravated his right hamstring during a win against the Chicago Bulls, and his current timetable has him missing about a month of basketball while he recovers. Unfortunately, a hamstring injury is something that Murray had some similar issues to during training camp. It was something that had him miss a little time during the offseason. Still, the organization is thankful that it’s not a long-term injury and that he’ll return sooner rather than later.
A good question to ask is how the Nuggets will handle losing a point guard that’s averaging 16.3 points and 7.4 assists a night. Well, the short answer is that Jokic will just take over even more. In eight games, Jokic is averaging 28.4 points, 12.9 rebounds, and 8.4 assists per game at the center position.
The consistency with which he is dominating other teams is simply unheard of from the center position. Or at the very least, it’s something that we haven’t seen in years. He’s going to show up and give the other team problems every night, though he’ll need some help at the end of the day.
Without Murray, Denver has a few other scorers that they’ll rely heavily upon in Murray’s absence. Expect players like Michael Porter Jr., Aaron Gordon, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and even Reggie Jackson take a step up in the offense. All of those players except for Jackson currently average in the double digits when it comes to points scored per game this season. There could also be an increase in minutes for their youngsters such as Collin Gillespie and Julian Strawther.
With all of that being said, Denver will have some work to do if they hope to stay atop the Western Conference. According to head coach Mike Malone, the injury is a little worse than he’d have hoped. He said, “This will be something that will be longer than we would like. You have to have the big picture in mind and make sure we’re putting him in position to get healthy before he comes back.” It’ll be interesting to see how he handles his recovery and how quickly we might get to see him on the basketball court again.