Over the last year and a bit, you’d be hard-pressed to find a player who has had a faster rise than that of Canadian guard Jamal Murray.
After bursting onto the scene for Team Canada at the Pan American Games, showcasing his talents against men and standing out without having played a collegiate game. He re-classified to the Class of 2016, and committed to the high-powered Kentucky Wildcats.
From there, he emerged as a star in the SEC, and across the NCAA as a whole. From his “bow and arrow” celebrations to record-breaking performances over the season, Murray quickly became the star of the loaded Wildcats’ team.
On draft night, Murray was projected to go anywhere from 3 to 10 in the lottery. There was one team in particular who had him ranked as the next-best prospect after Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram, but they were unsure if he’d fall down to them.
That team was the Denver Nuggets, and fortunately for them, Murray fell right into their lap. Jamal Murray was selected by the Denver Nuggets with the 7th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.
During his brief time with the Wildcats, Murray broke several school records, and flirted with a major feat on a national level.
Most notably, Murray is the all-time leading scorer for freshmen in Kentucky history, amassing 720 points over the course of the 2015-16 season. He averaged a team-high 20.0 points per game, to go along with 5.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists.
In terms of his shooting, he shot 40.2% from three point range on the year, and made a total of 113 three pointers on the year. He sits in second in NCAA history for three pointers made by a freshman. In total, Murray shot 45.4% from the floor.
His offensive abilities are well-documented, and he will form a formidable back court duo with Emmanuel Mudiay for the foreseeable future. On defense is where Murray needs to improve. If he can become a stronger defender, both on and off the ball, then his game will go to another level.
The bow and arrow are off to Denver, and Nuggets’ fans should be extremely happy with the direction their team is heading.
– T. Bennett