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Jamal Murray has potential to be like Devin Booker

Jamal Murray’s game and ability to score are reminiscent of another young Kentucky wing,

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Denver Nuggets Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The first quarter of the Denver Nuggetsgame against the Orlando Magic was a track meet. The Denver Nuggets got up early in the 1st quarter and never looked back on their way to 39 points. 16 of those 39 points came from Jamal Murray, who finished the game with 32 points on 12 of 21 shooting from the field including 6 of 9 from three. The game was a career high in points for Murray and what the Denver Nuggets hope is a stepping stone for the type of season that Murray is going to have.

Murray is a good sized wing with average athleticism, but an amazing jump shot. He had a good rookie season with the Nuggets, getting the opportunity to start 10 games for a team that would end up competing for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference before losing out to the Portland Trail Blazers. Murray showed some real potential and the Nuggets were reportedly not interested in dealing him this summer in a potential Kyrie Irving trade.

Murray had an average rookie season putting up 10 points per game on 40% shooting including 33% on three. He did this only averaging 21.5 minutes per game. These numbers don’t tell the whole story because Murray was given more minutes in April of last season and during those 6 games when the Nuggets were competing for a playoff spot, Murray had some of his best games. Murray put up 30 points in a game against the Pelicans and 27 points against the Thunder.

Murray’s game and ability to score are reminiscent of another young Kentucky wing, Devin Booker. Booker’s rookie season was much different from Murray’s. Booker was given the keys to the offense quite quickly in his rookie year. He put up multiple 30 point games on his way to All-Rookie 1st team. Booker’s game is so similar to Murray’s. Both are shooters that have the ability to score coming off screens and in catch and shoot situations. Also, both showed potential for being able to put the ball on the floor and get their own shot.

Devin Booker has turned into one of the premier young shooting guards in the league with his ability to shoot it from deep and score in so many other ways. He even put up 70 points in a game last season. While he has shown these amazing flashes, he is not going to be playing for a playoff spot for some time. The Phoenix Suns are not a very good basketball team and in Booker’s two years the team has won 47 games. In Murray’s rookie season, he won 40 games.

This gets to the potential of Jamal Murray. Murray is not going to be able to put up the kind of numbers that Booker has in his time in the NBA, but that is due to their situations. Murray has to pick his spots and does not get the playing time or the shots that Booker has gotten. So far this season, Booker is playing 33 minutes per game putting up 17 shots and scoring 22 points per game. Meanwhile, Murray is playing 25 minutes per game putting up 12 shots and scoring 12 points per game per Basketball Reference.

Despite this, Murray is still in a great basketball situation. He is a shooter that plays with two great big guys that can pass and shoot and he gets the chance to operate without as much attention as Booker. Murray has actually struggled this season shooting the ball, but he is starting to score the ball more. In the Nuggets’ last 9 games they have gone 7-2 and Murray has had his best four games of the season in terms of scoring.

Murray has the ability and the game to be as effective as Booker. The difference is that Murray is going to have to make more of his opportunities. There are going to be nights where Murray is not going to get shots. In the Nuggets last five games, Murray shot less than 10 times in four of them.

Devin Booker has not shot less than 10 times since November of 2016. Murray is going to be needed if the Nuggets are hoping to get in the playoffs. They will need him to be more aggressive getting to the basket and shoot the ball more efficiently. It is not impossible to see Murray match the level of Booker and even surpass him as he develops on a young team that is winning games.