During the 2019 NBA playoffs, Jamal Murray averaged 21.3 points per game and led the Denver Nuggets to their first playoff series victory since 2009. The young Canadian’s performance earned him recognition as a rising young superstar.
High Expectations Placed on Jamal Murray
Murray Looked Upon to Lead Nuggets
After the conclusion of last season, the Nuggets offered Jamal Murray the maximum contract extension worth $170 million over five years. That lucrative contract makes Murray the highest-paid Canadian athlete in history.
This will make Jamal Murray the highest paid Canadian athlete ever ($170M/5 years), topping the $148M/5-year deal that Andrew Wiggins signed in 2017. https://t.co/cXCMQQCEbg
— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) July 1, 2019
With speculation about the NBA resuming their season in July, the 23-year-old Canadian will once again be counted on heavily by the Nuggets franchise to lead their 2020 postseason charge.
Goal-Oriented and Focused
Having played rep basketball with Murray during their high school days in Kitchener, Ontario, Sasha Simic remembers his friend and former teammate was focused and determined to play the sport at the highest level.
“It came to me as no surprise. He had incredible potential and maturity for someone his age. Things that others were interested in, did not peak his interest. He was so focused on his goal that he made it impossible to fail,” said Simic about Murray making it to the NBA.
While they played for rival high schools, they played two years together for the same rep team in Kitchener.
“We played the backcourt together one year. My most memorable moment was going into double overtime where I hit the game-tying basket and he hit the game-winner,” recalled Simic.
A College Standout
After Murray graduated from Orangeville Prep in Orangeville, Ontario – about an hour drive from Toronto – the highly recruited guard took his talents to the University of Kentucky where he averaged 20.0 points per game in his freshman year with the Wildcats. That was the most points per contest by a freshman in the school’s history.
After one season at Kentucky, Murray had proven to scouts that he was NBA ready; and was selected by the Denver Nuggets with the seventh overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft.
The moment: Jamal Murray gets picked by Nuggets. Wiggins, Bennett, Thompson only Canadians drafted higher. pic.twitter.com/WSj8V88Pu8
— Ryan Wolstat (@WolstatSun) June 24, 2016
Afterward, Jamal Murray talks to reporters about what he brings to the table for the Nuggets.
“Play-making, making that option that can pass for others and get others open with my shooting,” he said.
“Just going to be an all-around player, the player that you can’t leave open, the player you’ve got to pay attention to on the court at all times.”
Jamal Murray is Ready to Meet Expectations
With a lot of buzz and excitement about the NBA putting the wheels in motion to restart the season, the Denver Nuggets will be counting on their young star to lead them to greater playoff success this summer.
Simic believes his former teammate – a player many consider the top Canadian playing in the NBA today – can live up to the high expectations placed on him.
At only 23 years old, Simic believes the sky’s the limit for Murray; and over time he will be able to prove that he’s worthy of his max contract.
“It is clear to me he thinks highly of himself and his capabilities,” said Simic.
“Every time Jamal has set his mind to something even if he is doubted he has accomplished it. It is no more just talk when it comes to him.”
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