Break the bubble wrap. The Nuggets are once again treating their young star as a porcelain doll.
Last week in Las Vegas, Michael Malone dropped a small bomb on the upcoming season. The head coach urged everyone to put the brakes on Jamal Murray. “At the beginning of the season, Jamal Murray doesn’t play every game,” he said on NBA TV. “He’s not going to play 35 minutes. He’s going to play somewhere in his 20s to kick off the season. “Well, what? Is this really the team’s plan for the station?.
By the start of the season, 18 months had passed since Murray’s torn cruciate ligament. In today’s sports world, it’s an extremely long recovery period. At the end of last season, there were rumors that Murray would return to the lineup. Malone offered to let him play with the Lakers in a pointless season finale just to get some playing time.
During the playoffs, the Nuggets never officially ruled out Murray. There’s always a silver lining that he’ll be back to help the team against the Warriors. The guard never returned to court. In fact, he started the season with the Nuggets.
Some criticized the decision. But most people think it’s reasonable. They think it’s more important to be 100 percent ready this season than to risk injury in the series against the eventual champion.
It might seem wasteful to willingly lose another MVP season from Nikola Jokic, but there’s some truth to that statement. After all, Murray is unlikely to make a difference in the series against the Golden State Warriors.
However, the only valid reason for the Guardian not to return is because he is ready for the upcoming season. That’s what made the news of him playing early in the season so crazy.
Questions must be asked at some point. Because something is not right. Was there some kind of setback in Murray’s recovery? Are the Nuggets too cautious? Does the Guardian still want to play? The latter is considered harsh, but must be raised. 18 months of recovery is pretty ridiculous.
Yes, all ACL violations are different. But it’s hard to ignore Broncos K.J. Hamler playing football nine months after the same injury. Of course, he did not guarantee the contract. Despite not playing, Murray made $29.5 million last season. No matter how many games he skips or how limited his nightly minutes are, he’ll make $31.6 million this year.
Does this affect what’s going on? It’s hard to believe it’s not. Guaranteed funding would certainly reduce the incentive for Murray to return. This is human nature. Big money was definitely a factor in the Nuggets’ decision. They put a lot of money into Murray, so they’re afraid of getting hurt again.
Whatever the reason, it’s absolutely ridiculous. It’s ridiculous that Murray won’t be healthy and ready to start the season.
According to the team, his knee is fine in March or April. But he’s not used to playing at game speed.
That’s what’s supposed to happen this summer. Murray should be on the court and playing the real game. Instead, he was credited for coaching the Denver Summer League team nearly 15 months after his initial injury. This is seen as a big step.
It’s all part of a never-ending story. Murray’s recovery feels like forever.
Is it him or the team? no one knows. Nobody cares.
18 months later, his inability to prepare for the start of the 2022/23 season is inexcusable. As a result, the Nuggets are willing to waste another peak period for Jokic. Their “championship window” continues to close while key players stand on the sidelines.
The spin will be the Nuggets wary of Murray as they want to make sure he’s ready for the playoffs and playoffs. However, at this point, caution should be taken.
If he wasn’t ready at 18 months, why would anyone believe Murray would be 100% ready at 24 months? Or 36? Or 48? This sounds ridiculous. But Jamal Murray isn’t ready to play next season.
It’s bubble wrap time in Denver. This is ridiculous.