Denver Nuggets Coach Gets Honest on Jamal Murray's Playoff Struggles

Jamal was not good in the second round vs the Timberwolves.
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As important as Nikola Jokic is to the Denver Nuggets' success, Jamal Murray's health is pivotal for that same success. Without Murray performing at his best, the Nuggets have no chance to win an NBA championship, and that was shown perfectly in these playoffs.

During the Denver Nuggets' exit interviews, head coach Michael Malone opened up on Murray's injuries and playoff struggles. Malone can't say what could have been done to prevent Murray's injuries, but he does hope that the early playoff exit will motivate the young guard.

"I have no idea why he's missed the games he's missed," Malone said. "The injuries have been the injuries. Are they all a by-product of the original ACL injury? I'm not really sure. That's a question better-suited for someone that knows what the hell they're talking about, so I'm not going to be that guy. But what can Jamal do to help himself out? The hope is not just for Jamal, but when you lose in the playoffs like we did this year, that has to motivate you. That's got to resonate deep within you to come back a better player, to come back a better coach, to come back a better a team. For Jamal, we don't beat the Lakers without Jamal. Two game-winners."

Last season in the playoffs, Jamal Murray averaged 26.1 points, 7.1 assists, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.5 steals on 47/40/93 shooting from the field. This season, he averaged 20.6 points, 5.6 assists, 4.3 rebounds, and 0.8 steals on 40/32/92 shooting from the field. It was a drop off that that coach Malone would attribute to Murray's injuries.

"You look at Jamal's numbers last year in the playoffs compared to this year, the efficiency, the productivity, was just on a completely different level," Malone said. "That's why we won it last year. We had Nikola, but we had Jamal playing out of this world. Just trying to find ways to get Jamal healthy and back to playing at that consistent level. The only way he can do that, for any player, is to being in the gym and working, and having a routine."

The Denver Nuggets need Jamal Murray to be playoff Jamal Murray next season. Without him, the team will face the same fate in the playoffs.


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Farbod Esnaashari

FARBOD ESNAASHARI

11-year veteran inside of NBA arenas. Published for ESPN, Forbes, Bleacher Report, and FanNation. Follow @Farbod_E on Twitter.