The worst of the omens was confirmed: Jamal Murray will not be able to play any more games for the remainder of the season. The Canadian point guard, the top standard for the Denver Nuggets after Nikola Jokic, tried to scare away the worst ghosts by rejecting a wheelchair that, after the results of the tests, was totally justified. He left the track, in front of the Golden State Warriors, preventing his left leg from touching the ground, with the help of several members of the coaching staff and putting both teammates and rivals on alert. And, of course, fans, of all colors. After knowing the medical report, desolation everywhere: tear in the anterior cruciate ligament of the left knee. Tragic news for the player, heroic in the past playoffs and with averages of 21.2 points, 4 rebounds and 4.8 assists this season, and for the franchise, which is moving away from a ring that seemed more and more feasible.
In Denver, the season started with doubts, with more defeats than scheduled (four in five games) and slipping, from time to time, from a new rung in which, both due to the trajectory of the project and the fresh memory of the previous final phase, wanted to settle down. Jokic, the main candidate for the MVP, was gradually putting a solution to it, finding a constant rhythm that, after the incorporation of Aaron Gordon, on March 25, took off: a streak of eight consecutive victories, the best so far this year, and firmness in the candidacy for the title. In a West more savage than ever, with intractable Jazz and Suns and Clippers closely following, many already placed Denver as the top contender to stand up to the Lakers in playoffs, that franchise that at the beginning of the season was imperial and that now, due to the damned injuries, also fights – with great pride – below its real possibilities.
Possible ownership and reinforcements in sight
The Angelenos will get LeBron James and Anthony Davis back in time, but the Nuggets won’t. Not much less. In a transition between seasons that will again require a new collective effort, Murray’s withdrawal could seriously affect the next season, extending even to the beginning of the years. playoffs. Future problems that need to be solved for the present, where chips must be moved. Franchise coach Mike Malone has already had to deal with it in recent games: Before the game against the Warrios, Jamal was out for four games due to problems in his right knee (the other). In three of them, settled with two victories and one defeat, Facundo Campazzo occupied the starting position, a situation that, from now on, could be the usual one.
The season of the Argentine guard, from less to more, has had everything: he began generating many expectations thanks to a striking preseason, he had to face the most ferocious criticism when the minutes and positive performances did not arrive and he resurfaced, as he has always done. , based on work and perseverance. Since the franchise, with Malone as the loudspeaker, he has always been trusted, in words and actions: Garry Harris and RJ Hampton, first guard and second baseman, left Denver in the operation that brought in Gordon. Direct competition for the Cordovan, now converted into a combo that can alternate both positions, and shows significant confidence in him, who could have entered the operation perfectly; But it was not the case. The Facu He stayed and, since then, averages 23.6 minutes, 5.9 points, 2.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists; well above, in all sections, their total averages for the course.
With Jamal Murray out of the equation, the Argentine player’s numbers, at least the minutes, should continue with this upward trend. In Colorado they need your character. Along with Campazzo, the rest of the team’s exteriors will also have to take on more chevrons. Mainly, Will Barton (guard), Monte Morris (base) and PJ Dozier (guard); Markus Howard, a 22-year-old point guard, who may also see his participation slightly increased, is in a lower status within the roster. From there the new team’s starting couple should come out, in which, with the most recent precedents in hand, Facundo seems to have a good place. With Will Barton more than settled in the ‘2’ and Dozier offering good minutes in the alternative, the base position (the natural one for Facundo), where Monte comes into play, happens to be the key.
At first, it might seem that, beyond what has been seen in recent meetings, the title is for the American; but the current situation seems to indicate otherwise. Morris, a starter 11 times this season, 7 of them in a row before being injured for another 11 games, could feel more comfortable coming off the bench. At least, that’s what they point to from Denver, where they talk about a conversation between the player himself with Mike Malone where the subject was covered. In this way, the scenario could be as follows, with Campazzo starting as a starter along with Barton, and Morris taking over, being able to accumulate this second, however, a few more minutes. Together with Michael Porter Jr., Aaron Gordon and Nikola Jokic, they would form the new starting five.
In the franchise, however, moves are expected. Before the injury, the name of Austin Rivers had already sounded as a possible reinforcement in the face of playoffs; With the new situation, it becomes a priority. Along with him, Troy Daniels (whose last NBA team was the Nuggets themselves, with six games last season) and Gerald Green, all of them free agents, could also be on the radar. In the case of Rivers, the favorite from the management, he would arrive after playing 21 games with the Knicks during this course. The player, who can add minutes in the two outer positions, with the role of substitute in most of his career, would be one more piece in the puzzle. One in which, for now, Facundo Campazzo may have a new fit. And more prominent.