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Examining the Impact of Jamal Murray’s Season-Ending Torn ACL




1. Denver Nuggets 2021 playoff chances have decreased infinitely  

Without Murray in the lineup for the remainder of the year, Denver’s playoff chances are looking extremely bleak. In a tough Western Conference, it will now be a serious struggle to even escape the first round with an upcoming matchup likely against the loaded Lakers, Clippers, or Blazers. 

Denver still has their MVP in Nikola Jokic as well as a strong supporting cast with Michael Porter Jr.Aaron Gordon, and Will Barton, but Jamal Murray‘s impact at the end of close games is irreplaceable and will be awfully missed during those tense postseason matchups where the Kentucky hooper has proven to elevate his game time and time again. 

2. The wild, wild West is now down to 4 legitimate contenders

With Denver not looking like a legit conference contender anymore, it benefits the other teams in the conversation. The squad who draws Denver in the first round will be playing a much less fierce roster than they previously thought. Currently, this would be the Lakers. Additionally, teams like UtahPortland, and LAC would avoid a potential first or second-round matchup with Denver, giving them better odds to make the Finals as well, considering DEN was the hottest team in the league since acquiring Aaron Gordon.

3. This injury not only impacts this season but next year as well

Not only does Murray’s injury hurt Denver this season, but it is likely that he will miss most of the 2021-22 season too. This means that Denver could begin the season without those 20+ points per game and the winning plays that Murray brings to the table nightly. If they are unable to crawl back to a top spot in the West, it is likely they will be due for an unfavorable matchup against a top team in the first round, and it’s rare to even see a player return to form just one year after his recovery, so Denver likely won’t be a realistic title contender again until the 2023 postseason at the earliest. 

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