Denver Nuggets: Comparing Jamal Murray to Three “Better” Rookies

Oct 14, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) guards Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27) in the second quarter at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets have seen dividends from Jamal Murray this preseason, and he stacks up nicely against some of his rookie counterparts.

By now, many of you know that Jamal Murray, a sharpshooter from the University of Kentucky, was drafted by the Denver Nuggets with the seventh overall pick in this past years draft.

With the offseason coming to a close, we will be taking a look at how Murray is compared to some of his fellow rookies that were drafted higher than him.

In the following slides we will take a look at Jaylen Brown, Kris Dunn, and Buddy Hield respectively.

Back in June when the draft night was upon us, it seemed obvious that any of these three (outside of Kris Dunn) would fall to Denver. With that said, no one in Denver anticipated Jamal Murray to fall to the Nuggets. As he continued to drop and Denver got on the clock, manager Tim Connelly was ecstatic about being able to draft this young Murray.

According to Mile High Sports, Connelly said this concerning Murray following draft night:

“We are extremely excited about what happened this evening. We got our top-ranked guy that we could conceivably get in Jamal. His ability to play both guard positions — his shot making certainly was a huge need — and I think you won’t find a harder working guy. He fits the mold of the type of players we’re trying to bring to Denver.”

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In a couple years, Dany Ainge and these other managers may be shocked at how they messed up. While it is only preseason, Jamal Murray has put up some impress stats, but ultimately Denver fans must remember that it is only preseason.

With that said, let’s take a look at how Jamal Murray’s numbers line up against these other lottery picks.

Oct 8, 2016; Uncasville, CT, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jaylen Brown (7) goes up for a dunk in the 2nd quarter during a pre-season game at Mohegan Sun Arena. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Jayden Brown vs Jamal Murray

For myself, I had Jaylen Brown pegged as the next member of the Denver. Jaylen Brown had a standout year at California showing his athleticism and ability to score the ball while Murray had a standout season at Kentucky proving that he is the best scorer that was draft.

With that said, here is who their stats of lined up throughout the majority of the preseason.

While I would love to advertise my Twitter, it is more important that we break down some of these stats. Another key stat that was pointed out to me was usage percentage which Murray is better at posting a 22.6% to Brown’s 19.6%. This could give a little background to how their stats are different, partially because Murray is more involved.

Coming into this preseason, this was almost expected. Jaylen Brown is a much more raw and undeveloped player than Jamal Murray, and these first few games show it. Brown has not been able to do his break-and-butter which is swipe that ball.

On top of that, he does not need to an offensive factor for Brad Stevens and the Boston Celtics. With the newly acquired Al Horford and the season veteran Isaiah Thomas, Jaylen Brown may be able to take a backseat and learn for his rookie season.

Comparing his stats overall to Murray’s, Brown shot a big better which was not mentioned due to  character limits on Twitter. Brown has struggled becoming a solid offensive weapon. Brown plays a much different game than Murray. But overall, numbers never lie.

Danny Ainge may regret this draft pick this season as the C’s will be fighting for top playoff spot and could use the immediate contributions of a Jamal Murray-esque talent.

Oct 16, 2016; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Kris Dunn (3) and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) dive for a loose ball during the first quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Kris Dunn vs Jamal Murray

This is of the more intriguing matchups as these two were able to already meet in the preseason and in the Las Vegas Summer League. They are also inner-division rivals, so these two will have a fair share of each other throughout their rookie seasons.

Dunn was the standout point guard of this years draft after several years at Providence. He is much older and a much better defender than Murray. Although older in this new-day NBA is usually frowned upon, Dunn will have the capability this season to prove that older can mean better.

With that said, let’s take a look at how the Dunn’s stats line up to Murray’s so far this preseason.

Again Murray’s involvement in the offense does yield a higher usage percentage (22.5%) than Dunn’s (20.7%). Murray has been a force this preseason and even against other highly regarded rookies, his numbers still seem to impress.

At the same time, Murray and Dunn play different roles. With players like Shabazz Muhammad coming off the bench in Minnesota, Dunn is asked to be a setup man while Murray has been asked to score at will like he is capable of. The end result of coach Malone giving Murray the bright green light is number like these that prove his potential talent.

The roles do mess with the stats a little, but it is becoming more clear that Murray is outplaying even the best contemporary competition.

Oct 1, 2016; Bossier City, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans guard Buddy Hield (24) salutes the crowd after making a 3-point basket against the Dallas Mavericks during the second half at CenturyLink Center. New Orleans won 116-102. Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Buddy Hield vs Jamal Murray

This is where the fun part comes in: on draft night it was either Jamal Murray or Buddy Hield for the New Orleans Pelicans. I was really hoping they chose Hield just because the age difference and Denver’s push for youth.

Both have been solid this preseason for their respective teams, and here are some of the stats below.

Wow, those are close. Without much to separate them, it seems a three years older Buddy Heild has been one of the only rookie to keep with the majestic Murray. And from the stats side of it some could easily fight that Heild has been better than Murray.

This is one of the easier comparisons since their roles are similar.

This will be a matchup that we will be able to see opening night as the Pelicans and Nuggets will square off in New Orleans to start each of their season.

Each of these match ups will be exciting to see moving forward, and we can only hope for each of the different rookies mentioned and their respective teams!

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