DENVER – Recovered from a ligament tear in his left knee suffered on April 12, 2021, Canadian Jamal Murray is once again ready to join forces with Nikola Jokic and company, at the Nuggets.
Adding Michael Porter, who was limited to nine games last season due to back pain, puts the trio that led Denver to the 2020 Western Finals in the bubble.
“The atmosphere has changed, summarized Aaron Gordon, whose club will start the season on October 19, in Utah. There is a calm that has returned. We have a lot of talent and depth. »
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Ish Smith were acquired from Washington, in exchange for Will Barton and Monte Morris.
Reserves include Bones Hyland, Jeff Green, Bruce Brown, Zeke Nnaji, Davon Reed, Vlatko Cancar, DeAndre Jordan and Christian Braun, who was drafted 21st.
With the Nuggets having little to no reliance on Murray and Porter in 2021-22, executives were able to pin down some things.
« Having these types of players sometimes leads to overlooking weaknesses, » said general manager Calvin Booth, whose club lost in the first round to Golden State.
“We realized that we need to be bigger and more versatile. »
Murray made a false move Friday in Chicago, hence coach Mike Malone’s desire to go easy on the 25-year-old Ontarian’s return to play.
« Once in the playoffs, our way of playing is going to be different from the style of play in October or November, » Malone said. We’re going to do this thoughtfully. »
Prior to the injury, Murray was averaging 21.2 points and 4.8 assists per game in 2020-21.
« Right now, I just want the chance to play, even if I miss my 10 shots in a game, » Murray said. I want to get used to it again for a while. Then, I am aware that people may have expectations. »
Malone wants a group that will be more effective on defense, that can go from midfield to the top 5 in the NBA in that aspect.
“It’s no surprise that the final involved Boston and Golden State,” Malone said of the clubs ranked 1 and 3 last season in points allowed per game.