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“I’m excited to go prove myself again.” - Jamal Murray’s return will further the Denver Nuggets’ title ambitions

Jamal Murray's return improves the Denver Nuggets' title odds in the upcoming season.
Mike Malone believes Jamal Murray is back on track for the Denver Nuggets

Jamal Murray

Jamal Murray made major strides during the 2019-20 season – particularly in the playoffs. He was the team's offensive catalyst as they took on the Utah Jazz in the first round, where he put up two 50-point games.

The Denver Nuggets eventually fell to the LA Lakers in the Western Conference Finals, but it sowed the seasons for consistent contention.

However, mid-way through the 2020-21 season, Murray picked up a season-ending injury and has been out since then. The Nuggets have had some ups and downs in his absence, but with his return confirmed – things are looking up for the franchise.

Murray is determined to prove himself again

Murray stepped on the court after a long time – facing off against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the preseason opener. He played under 15 minutes and recorded 10 points on a 57.1% shooting night – which was a good sign.

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When Murray tore his ACL, he was playing at an All-Star level. In 48 games during the 2020-21 season, he averaged 21.2 points, 4 rebounds, and 4.8 assists. Although most people expect him to spring back into that level of play, Murray is happy to be back on a basketball court.

"I'm just happy to be to be back on the court, that was taken away from me for a while," Murray said in the postgame press conference. "Wasn't sure what I was going to do without it. But here we are, and now I'm excited to go prove myself again."

The new-look Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets have benefited from Nikola Jokic's output over the last two seasons, which has enabled them to compete in the postseason despite missing some key players. His all-around performance has earned him two back-to-back MVP trophies, but playoff success has been limited.

Besides Murray's and MPJ's return, the Nuggets have made significant moves over the summer. They've added deep shooting with the arrival of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who can also add value on the defensive end. Ish Smith's addition can help the second unit make more of an impact, giving the franchise better depth.

Given their upgrades, Denver could easily be the dark horse candidate for the 2022-23 season. It will be interesting to see how far the new-look Nuggets can go.

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