There are any number of words to describe what was a winding, complex rookie season for Nuggets guard Jamal Murray. Intriguing, might be the most accurate way to put a first-year campaign that is likely to end in an all-rookie selection and definitely left a Nuggets franchise salivating, wanting to see more.
The ultra-confident Murray no doubt feels he put together one of the best seasons of any player in this year’s rookie class and hopes it ends with an all-rookie team nod.
“Hopefully I get it,” Murray said. “If not, it’s whatever. But I feel like I’m one of the better rookies in the class and got a chance to prove it. I was focused on the team and what the team wanted me to do, so I wasn’t trying to force anything.”
Murray ranked sixth among rookies in scoring (9.9), made the second-most 3-pointers (115) and led all rookies in free throw percentage (88.3). Murray made 30 of his last 33 free throws and didn’t miss a single one of his 15 attempts in the Nuggets’ seven games in April. He played in all 82 games, making him the only Nugget to do so.
He shook off an 0-for-17 shooting start to the season to grab the NBA’s Western Conference Rookie of the Month for games played in October and November anyway. The season also featured his first significant time playing point guard since he was in high school. Murray was a shooting guard in college at Kentucky, and was drafted by the Nuggets in 2016 with an eye on improving their shooting profile.
But as the season went on, it appeared more and more that Murray’s future is at the position he says is his favorite: Point guard. And with the rise of Gary Harris, who with a solid season of his own has nailed down the starting shooting guard position for years to come with the Nuggets, if Murray starts next season or any season in the near future, it has to be at point guard.
And as a point guard Murray was effective, averaging 11.5 points, 2.6 assists and 2.5 rebounds when playing that position, according to Hoopsstats.com. Murray ended up starting seven games at point guard, including each of the last four games of the season, where he averaged 18.3 points and 6.5 assists while shooting 50 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from the 3-point line.