(247 SPORTS) – According to NBA General Managers, Denver Nuggets third-year guard Jamal Murray is poised to take a major step forward this season.
In the 17th annual GM Survey conducted by NBA.com, Murray was voted most likely to have a breakout season in 2018-19 with 20 percent of the vote, double the amount of votes received by any other player.
Murray was followed by Brandon Ingram, Los Angeles Lakers (10 percent), Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics (10 percent), Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic (7 percent), Kyle Kuzma, Lakers (7 percent), Kawhi Leonard, Toronto Raptors (7 percent), Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls (7 percent), Dejounte Murray, San Antonio Spurs (7 percent) and Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers (7 percent).
Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns was voted most likely to break out in last year’s survey with 21 percent of the vote. Helping lead the Timberwolves to its first playoff appearance since 2004, Towns posted a league-leading 68 double-doubles, averaging 21.3 points and 12.3 rebounds in 2017-18. He scored 30 or more points in 11 games, including a career-best 56 vs. Atlanta on Mar. 28 en route to making his first All-Star appearance and was named to the All-NBA Third Team.
In his second season with the Nuggets, Murray emerged as one of the top young shooters in the NBA, averaging 16.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game in 2017-18 while making 165 three-pointers while shooting 37.8 percent from beyond the arc. He shot 42 percent on catch and shoot three-pointers. Murray was at his best at the end of last season, topping 20+ points in eight of his final 17 games.
Murray recorded seven games of 30+ points last season and posted back to back 30-point games in January including a career-high 38 points in a 104-101 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Jan. 22 where he made 14 of 19 shots, 4 of 6 three-pointers and all six of his free throws.
Last month, Murray was named as the No. 55 overall player in Sports Illustrated’s ranking of the top 100 NBA players.
Murray, who was selected by the Nuggets with the No. 7 pick out of Kentucky in the 2016 NBA Draft, Murray took home MVP honors at the 2017 Rising Stars Challenge at NBA All-Star Weekend in New Orleans after posting game-highs of 36 points (including nine three-pointers) and 11 assists in a 150-139 World Team victory over the United States Team.
Last season, the Nuggets finished ninth in the Western Conference with a 46-36 record, missing the playoffs by one game following a 112-106 loss to the Timberwolves on the final day of the regular season.
In a 124-107 preseason win over the Lakers Sunday, Murray made 8 of 12 shots, including 2 of 3 three-pointers and scored 18 points in 19 minutes
The GMs responded to 49 different questions about the best teams, players, coaches, fans, and offseason moves. General managers were not permitted to vote for their own team or personnel. Percentages are based on the pool of respondents to that particular question, rather than all 30 GMs.