#1 The Denver Nuggets' perimeter play must step up without Jamal Murray
The Denver Nuggets' backcourt suffered in the 2021 NBA Playoffs without Jamal Murray. There's no other way to put it. It was obviously a tough job for a core constructed with Facundo Campazzo, Monte Morris and Austin Rivers and it is unfair to heavily criticize them heading into the 2021-22 NBA season, but is an area that has to be solved.
Defensively, it was difficult for Campazzo, Morris and Rivers to consistently create trouble for the Phoenix Suns' perimeter players in last year's NBA Playoffs, but that squad did beat Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum in the first round, which was a bit promising for the Denver Nuggets in the 2021-22 campaign.
Offensively, the Denver Nuggets' backcourt completes different tasks than others in the league, given how Nikola Jokic is the driving force of the offense both in the scoring department and in playmaking. Even with Jamal Murray playing, Jokic is the engine of the offense and the team works well with that.
However, there has to be improvement from the perimeter group without Murray, for the Denver Nuggets to remain an elite squad in the Western Conference next year.
Will Barton, who missed 16 regular-season games last year and played in only three NBA Playoffs games, could also be a good performer for the Denver Nuggets' wing in the 2021-22 season.
Morris stepped up offensively, providing nice scoring in the 2021 postseason with some good percentages from the field. He averaged 13 points per game in the postseason and made 40% of his three-pointers. Campazzo and Rivers averaged nine points per game each, making 39% and 41% of their threes.
But it wasn't enough, and the backcourt was clearly outplayed on the perimeter in last year's NBA Playoffs.
Starting off with the backcourt already set for the 2021-22 NBA season should definitely be beneficial for the Denver Nuggets as the team can find certain connections that could be sustained throughout the regular season.
Also read: "His ego never got in the way" - Michael Malone on Aaron Gordon's mindset upon joining the Denver Nuggets last season