Murray nets rookie honors
Guard led Western Conference first-year players for the month
A season that started with trepidation ended with one big award for Nuggets rookie Jamal Murray. He was named Western Conference rookie of the month for the last part of October and November.
“Just to see how Jamal has responded to adversity, to come back and play at the level he’s played,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “The biggest growth I’ve seen is just his mental toughness, his poise in handling adversity and just the self-confidence he has. He’s not afraid of the moment. ”
Murray, who the Nuggets selected seventh in the draft, led all Western Conference rookies in scoring at 10.4 points per game. He added 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists. But it was his work after the season-opening shooting slump, when he went 0-for-16 in his first four games, that stood out.
Since Nov. 6, Murray is shooting 46.3 percent from the 3-point line and 43.8 from the field overall. He has scored 18 or more points in four of his last six games, and has become a key player off the bench, playing more than 20 minutes a game.
“The fact that we had guys out, there’s always a silver lining,” Malone said. “You don’t want to lose Gary (Harris), you don’t want to lose Will (Barton) to injuries. But within that the positive that comes is Jamal Murray is not only given an opportunity but takes full advantage of the opportunity given to him.”
Murray is the fourth Nuggets player to win the award, and the first since Kenneth Faried in April 2012.
“We don’t win the Chicago game without Jamal Murray, which is one
HOUSTON AT DENVER
of our best wins of the year,” Malone said. “He’s continuing to work on his game, his body, his strength and he knows he has to be a more consistent defender for us. But I’m just so happy for the kid because he puts a lot of time in and he stands for everything that we’re trying to be about – a work team, a trust team, a selfless team.
Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid was named Eastern Conference rookie of the month.