The Denver Nuggets are going into the playoffs without one of their co-stars.
Jamal Murray tore his ACL, which was a devastating blow for a team with title hopes.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 22, 2021
The Nuggets are a team that has built themselves from the ground up.
They got their three best players from the draft and have gotten better each season.
This season was the one where a Finals appearance seemed like the next step.
Murray started off slow this season, but started to regain form after struggling with some nagging injuries.
He looked poised to help Nikola Jokic and take the Nuggets to new heights until this unfortunate injury occurred.
The Nuggets were able to recover without Murray.
They finished with a record of 13-7 without him and are now the third seed in the tough Western Conference.
Denver still has a chance to make it far, but how far can they go without Murray?
Yes, They Have the MVP and Another Co-Star
The Nuggets have one thing that will keep them as a contender and that is the MVP of this season in Jokic.
Jokic has been all-time great this season, while playing every single game this season.
The MVP is rightfully his this year with averages of 26.4 points per game, 10.8 rebounds per game, and 8.3 assists per game.
Also, he is super efficient as he was almost at 50/40/90 guy.
In any given playoff series, Jokic can easily be the best player on the floor.
Jokic and Murray are a dangerous duo, but the Nuggets have another duo blossoming.
Michael Porter Jr. has been a revelation since the Murray injury.
For the past three months, MPJ has averaged 21.7 points per game, while shooting 55 percent or better from the field.
He is a legit scoring machine with one of the prettiest jumpshots you will ever see.
Video breakdown on Michael Porter Jr.'s development, how the Nuggets increased his usage after Jamal Murray's injury, and his long-term upside next to NBA MVP Nikola Jokic:
— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) May 18, 2021
His fit next to Jokic is great as he can create and play as a spot-up shooter.
This new dynamic duo can help the Nuggets keep up with the other elite teams in the West.
Even with the Murray injury, the Nuggets can still make it far.
No, We Remember Last Postseason
The case against Denver not being able to win without Murray is due to his historic run last season.
Jamal Murray's 2020 playoff run has been sensational
🏹 27.1 PTS
🏹 6.4 REB
🏹 5.0 AST
🏹 Four games with 40+ points
🏹 Two 3-1 comebacks
Only 23 years old pic.twitter.com/LaHBAMA8Bx
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 16, 2020
His performances were legendary stuff.
He went for 50 points twice in a three game stretch; with a 42-point performance sandwiched in between.
There were times that Jokic needed Murray to carry the load and he was not afraid.
The Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Clippers, and Los Angeles Lakers were all terrified of this man.
They knew what he was capable of and he was still able to deliver.
Murray is going to be such a difficult player to replace.
His two-man game with Jokic is what drives the offense.
Yes, MPJ can fill in from time to time, but is he ready for that playoff pressure.
Only time will tell if the Nuggets can without their star guard.