With a record of 34-20, the Denver Nuggets currently sit in fourth place in the NBA Western Conference standings. They have a legitimate MVP candidate in big man Nikola Jokic and postseason experience from the past two seasons. Many believed the Nuggets to be legitimate contenders for a championship this season. That assessment, as well as Monte Morris’ fantasy basketball outlook, both changed in a big way Monday night.
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Jamal Murray Suffers Torn ACL
The Nuggets suffered a major blow to their NBA championship hopes on Monday night. Star guard Jamal Murray crumpled to the court on a drive to the basket with less than a minute remaining in Denver’s loss to the Golden State Warriors. His knee visibly buckled on the play, causing both the NBA and fantasy basketball worlds to hold their collective breaths. Non-contact injuries of that nature are usually the most consequential. Indeed, the worst-case scenario for Murray and the Nuggets was confirmed on Tuesday morning. A torn ACL in his left knee brings an immediate end to Murray’s season.
It’s an unfortunate break for Murray, who recently had been sidelined by a much less severe injury to his other knee. For fantasy basketball owners, this injury could not come at a worse time. The fantasy playoffs are set to begin as soon as next week in some leagues. The loss of Murray strips owners of a player who was averaging 21.2 points per game on 40.8% shooting from 3-point range. His production was steady in other areas for category leagues as well, with averages of 4.8 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals. Murray averaged 24.6 fantasy points per game in points leagues this season.
Monte Morris Fantasy Outlook Following Murray Injury
Replacing the production of a star player like Murray is nearly impossible. The Nuggets will be up against it in their quest to navigate a crowded Western Conference playoff picture. For fantasy basketball owners, the question is whom do we turn to from here? For me, Monte Morris’ fantasy outlook is set to rise the most in the wake of Murray’s injury.
Morris has recently been working back from his own injury. His recent minute totals have hovered on either side of 20 minutes per game. Expect that to increase in a big way going forward. The 25-year-old is averaging 10.4 points, 3.3 assists and 2.2 rebounds per game on the season. He has notched 10 points in four of six games since returning to the lineup. The highlight performance in that stretch was a 21-point outing on 7-8 shooting in just 25 minutes last Friday. While Morris isn’t the same caliber of player as Murray, his numbers are bound to see a rise with the increased role that looms ahead.
Facundo Campazzo Could Also Emerge as Viable Fantasy Option
The other player who stands to benefit directly from the Jamal Murray injury in terms of usage at the position is Facundo Campazzo. The 30-year-old Argentine guard figures to play an even bigger role for the Nuggets in the short term as Morris continues to work back from his injury absence. Even after Morris assumes the lead role, Campazzo could factor in as a valid streaming option in 12-team leagues, particularly those in need of assists and steals. In just 18.7 minutes per game this season, Campazzo has averaged 2.8 helpers and 1.0 thefts.