At media day prior to the start of the 2017-18 season, Nuggets coach Michael Malone announced a three-way point guard competition between Jamal Murray, Emmanuel Mudiay and Jameer Nelson, and despite Paul Millsap’s arrival earlier that summer, incumbent power forward Kenneth Faried declared that he still viewed himself as Denver’s starting four.
A lot has changed in a year’s time and Denver enters this year’s training camp with a set starting lineup but questions around free agent signing Isaiah Thomas’ status heading into the preseason and when first-round pick Michael Porter Jr. will be cleared for action. Monday at media day and later on this week at training camp, some of those questions will be answered.
Meanwhile, here’s one question that will define every player’s season.
Can Jamal Murray become a more efficient pull-up shooter?
Jamal Murray’s first season as a full-time starter gave the Nuggets intel on exactly the type of player the 21-year-old will eventually round into. Murray is a gifted and natural playmaker with an attacking mindset who’s a “point guard” in name only. But to get to the next level, Murray needs to improve his accuracy on pull-up three-point jumpers, which he only made 30.6 percent of last season — a low mark when compared to how others at his position shot it over the last few years. Murray is already an elite catch-and-shoot threat, hitting 41.6 percent of his jumpers of that variety last season, good for the 16th-most in the league out of players who attempted at least 250 last season. If he can become more dangerous off the dribble, opponents won’t be able to give Murray any cushion when he has the ball in his hands.
Will Gary Harris emerge as a lockdown defender?