I haven’t read any literature about the duality of man, but I have to assume all text on the topic reads like a Jamal Murray boxscore––you take the good with the bad.
Look no further than his Game 2 performance against the San Antonio Spurs. He had one of the worst shooting performances in recent memory through the first three quarters of that game, and then erupted for 21 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Nuggets to an improbable win.
But that type of turnaround was nothing new for those that have followed the Nuggets since Murray entered the league. Well, maybe the in-game turnaround was something else, but the highest of highs and lowest of lows is the essence of the Jamal Murray experience.
And despite this variance in performance, Murray keeps firing. And he does so with the confidence of Floyd Mayweather Jr. in his prime. And that’s exactly the type of fake-it-til-you-make-it swagger a franchise like the Denver Nuggets need. It’s foolish to ever feel confident about Denver’s chances in the playoffs, but when Murray is firing on all cylinders and Nikola Jokic does Nikola Jokic things, good things are imminent for the mob from Mile High.
As The Ringer’s Dan Devine pointed out Wednesday, Murray is the ultimate barometer of Denver’s success.
Including the playoffs, Murray has made more than 45 percent of his field goal attempts in a game 40 times this season. In those games, the Nuggets are 31-9. The 28 times that he’s hit fewer than 40 percent from the field, though? They’re just 13-15. Denver has won every playoff game in which he’s scored 20 or more points, starting with his remarkable 21-point fourth quarter in Game 2 against San Antonio. And the Nuggets have lost every postseason contest in which he’s failed to crack 20, including Wednesday’s Game 2 against Portland, during which Murray struggled and put up just 15 points on 6-for-18 shooting.
Watching Murray can be maddening at times, but the boneheaded plays and ridiculous shot attempts make the good times that much sweeter. You know he’s not a superstar, or even a star, but that doesn’t stop him from channelling his inner-Kobe night in and night out. And I’m okay with it. More than okay, actually.
We’ve all been in positions in life where we have to put on a good face and take on tasks we may not be ready for. Or, we’ve earned a seat the the table, but due to our lack of experience, self-doubt creeps in. But you know what we do? We keep going. We keep shooting because that’s what shooters do.
You can call Murray and the Nuggets frauds or fake superstars, but it doesn’t matter what the critics think. I’m sure there are times when Murray experiences imposter syndrome, but he works his way through it just like us. You can back Superman. I’ll stan for the Blue Arrow.