Nikola Jokic calls Jamal Murray best player on Nuggets after great Game 1 performance vs. Suns

Orel Dizon
3 Min Read
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Denver Nuggets star Jamal Murray is showing why he is one of the most fearsome players during the playoffs. Two-time MVP Nikola Jokic even offered an interesting take on his teammate, calling him Denver’s “best player.”

“He is playing amazing,” Jokic said about the point guard. “He is definitely showing what he is capable of. He is our best player, and we are following him right now.”

That’s certainly lofty praise from one of the greatest players in the league at the moment. Of course, Jokic’s comments may be a bit of an exaggeration, considering that he arguably remains the Nuggets’ offensive fulcrum. Through six games in the 2023 playoffs, the Serbian big man is averaging 25.8 points, 13.5 rebounds and 8.3 assists per contest.

Murray has certainly been able to keep up, as he is leading his squad in scoring in the playoffs with 28.3 points per match. He was stellar on Saturday in Denver’s series opener against the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference semifinals.

Even with Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Chris Paul on the court, Murray poured in game-high marks of 34 points and nine assists. Even more impressive was that he had quite an efficient evening, shooting 13-for-24 from the floor and 6-for-10 from beyond the arc.

His performance on Saturday, as well as the first round against the Minnesota Timberwolves, serves as a reminder of his exploits in the 2020 NBA bubble in Orlando, Fla. During the playoffs that season, Murray averaged 26.5 points per game, even putting up a total of 142 points in a span of three contests.

It was unfortunate that the 2016 lottery pick missed out on the entire 2021-22 campaign. The lengthy layoff also seemed to have some ill effects on his game earlier this season.

However, he has shown up in the postseason, lighting up the Wolves in the previous round with 27.2 points per contest, a 40-point outburst in Game 2 and 35-point performance in Game 5 to help Denver complete the gentleman’s sweep.

The next few games against the Suns will be difficult for the Nuggets, especially because an opponent featuring Durant and Booker is undoubtedly capable of pulling off four wins in any seven-game series.

But if Murray continues playing the way he has been recently, Denver’s chances of advancing to the Western Conference Finals will remain quite high.

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Orel's passion for sports stems from following Michael Jordan’s last title runs with the Chicago Bulls and his namesake Orel Hershiser’s Cleveland Indians tenure in the late 1990s.