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Denver’s Jamal Murray has joined Steve Nash as the NBA’s best Canadian playoff performers

May 24, 2023

Denver’s Jamal Murray has joined Steve Nash as the NBA’s best Canadian playoff performers Murray led all players in scoring (32.5 points per game) in the West final, shot 52.7 per cent from the field, 40.5 per cent from three-point range and made 19 of 20 free throws. Wed., May 24, 2023timer3 min. read They are from different eras and the sport is a different place today than it was about a decade and a half ago, but what Canadian basketball fans are witnessing is one of the great young players trying to surpass what the best of all time once did. Kitchener’s Jamal Murray , who has helped get the Denver Nuggets to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history, is putting up numbers that have been the sole domain of two-time NBA most valuable player Steve Nash . There is a strong case to be made that comparisons are unfair given different eras, different styles of play, different responsibilities within a team, different levels of competition and that it’s more logical to just appreciate the talent of the individual players involved. But to see Murray this spring in comparison to the best playoff runs of Nash’s career is to see the 26-year-old almost duplicate the numbers of Nash, a 2018 inductee into basketball’s Hall of Fame. Murray has scored a higher clip (27.7 points per game, compared to Nash’s 23.9 in 2005) while Nash had far superior assist totals (11.2 per game in 2005 to Murray’s 6.1 this year) because he was much more a facilitator with his Phoenix Suns teams than Murray is with the Nuggets. Both have otherworldly shooting percentages from every spot on the court and both are central to their team’s success. Nash never played in the NBA Finals — he helped the Suns to the Western Conference final twice only to come up short — and Murray will play for a title after his second appearance in a conference final. Murray’s performance in a four-game sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers was stunning. He led all players in scoring (32.5 points per game), shot 52.7 per cent from the field, 40.5 per cent from three-point range and made 19 of 20 free throws. It was extraordinary by any standards, even more so because Murray was, until the middle of this season, wary about how fully recovered he was from 2021 reconstructive knee surgery. “I had some ups and downs during the season, some sore days where I couldn't play, and those sucked,” he said after the Nuggets finished off the Lakers. “Played my first back-to-back in January or something like that … Every month I feel my knee get better and more solid and more consistent in the way it's going to feel. “I'm just glad I put the work in during the rehab to be able to perform and be at my best.” Murray will be trying to become one of a handful of Canadians to win an NBA championship starting next week and the second in two seasons after Andrew Wiggins won with Golden State last season. And while Wiggins was instrumental to the Warriors’ triumph over the Boston Celtics, his contribution to that team has been dwarfed by what Murray is doing for the Nuggets. Murray’s play has set him apart from every Canadian and made his story one of the best leading up to the Finals. “He was injured, he was getting through a tough period, he thought they're going to trade him,” teammate Nikola Jokic said. “And then the way he's leading us and how he's controlling the game and making shots, playing … I think I'm so happy for Jamal, just proving (what) he's worth and he's a special player in this league.” Murray’s play has undoubtedly kindled interest in the Canadian senior team that will play in the FIBA World Cup later this year. The spectre of backcourt combination of Murray and Hamilton’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander would be one of the most potent in the tournament, which takes place in Indonesia and Philippines in late August and early September. Murray is one of the 14 players to have made a commitment to play for their country, although the toll of a 65-game NBA regular season and at least 19 playoff games could be a legitimate concern when factoring in an additional month and a half of high-intensity basketball. But regardless of what August and September hold, Murray is having one of the truly great runs by a Canadian player. Read more about:

Steve Nash Investments

2 Investments

Steve Nash has made 2 investments. Their latest investment was in TMRW Sports as part of their Seed VC on November 11, 2022.

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