Jamal Murray suffered what appeared to be a devastating knee injury on Monday night against the Warriors. (UPDATE: Murray tore his ACL.) If everyone's worst fear is realized, he'll be done for the season. The Nuggets' championship dreams will be over before they ever even got started. It sucks for the NBA, the Nuggets, and most of all, Jamal Murray.
Following a breakout postseason in the NBA bubble last Fall, Murray has averaged a career-high 21.2 points per game and making a career-high 40.8 percent of his three point shots. He was first on the Nuggets in minutes per game and was second on the Nuggets in scoring, assists and steals. He's almost always good and sometimes spectacular.
If Murray really is lost for the season, it will be devastating for the Nuggets. They acquired Aaron Gordon at the trade deadline and have looked great since, winning seven straight before dropping their last two games. With Gordon, Michael Porter Jr., MVP candidate Nikola Jokic and Murray, they were legitimate title contenders.
With Murray, they could hang with any team in the leauge. They have the sixth-best record in the NBA and are a combined 3-2 against the two teams with the best records in the NBA, the Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns. Without Murray, it will likely be too much for Jokic.
The Nuggets are a fun team with Murray. Obviously, any team with Jokic is going to do some cool stuff, but Murray gave them that guy who can go off like Stephen Curry or finish at the rim as viciously as anyone in the league. When he was on the court anything could happen. This was an exciting team with the potential to win it all.
Now this season may be lost. Even if Jokic can will them to the second or third round in a loaded conference, they just don't have enough without Murray. Not to mention Murray will probably be looking at a late start to next season. Combine that with his penchant for slow starts and next season is probably a wash for the Nuggets too. Losing a year of Murray's prime and wasting two of Jokic's seems like a crime.
Even if robbing fans of Jamal Murray isn't against the law, it's a very disappointing outcome. The Western Conference playoffs just got a significant percentage less interesting. Who knows how many highlights we lost from one of the league's young stars. It's just a bummer all around.