Jamal Murray’s ACL injury is a huge blow to the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggs, who built their team around Murray and Nikola Jokic, just lost a huge puzzle piece to compete for the championship. To make things worse, recovery time for ACL isn’t a joke—it’s almost a year-long recovery.
Now, the Nuggets have a lot to figure out, including who can they acquire with Murray out.
Of course, no free agent right now can replace Murray’s production. However, the Nuggets have roster spots to fill and they need to find someone who can score and help Jokic carry the playmaking workload.
With that said, we take a look at two players the Nuggets can consider.
Austin Rivers’ name has been linked with the Nuggets even prior to Murray’s injury because of the team’s lack of guard depth. They gave up Gary Harris and R.J. Hampton for Aaron Gordon in the trade deadline, so they clearly need to fill up that spot now more than ever.
Rivers, who played 21 games for the New York Knicks this season, was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder before being waived. Picking Rivers up could fill in that guard spot and possibly help provide scoring.
Before being waived, Rivers averaged 7.3 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists. While he won’t be putting up Murray numbers, at least he can still be a threat on the offensive end. With him on the floor, at least there will be less attention to Michael Porter Jr and Nikola Jokic—two players who are expected to step up even more after Murray’s injury.
Troy Daniels’ numbers aren’t pretty at all, but he’s still a slightly dependable shooter. He played for the Los Angeles Lakers for a while last season but was waived by the team. Daniels was then picked up by the Nuggets where he averaged just 4.3 points a game.
His low numbers are mostly because of lack of playing time, but that could change if the Nuggets offer him time on the floor.
An advantage of signing Daniels is that he knows Malone’s system or basically how the team operates. With this tight schedule, there’s limited time for a player, especially a guard, to learn everything at once. Daniels can provide scoring (from the 3-point line mostly) and space the floor for the offense to operate.