Wizards

Is Jamal Murray the next Bradley Beal?

Wizards

It's virtually impossible to ignore what Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray is doing in the NBA playoffs right now, and if you haven't noticed you probably live under a rock.

Murray has led the Nuggets into a Western Conference Finals showdown with the Los Angeles Lakers. Read that sentence a few times to truly understand its gravity.

He's averaging 21.2 points, 6.6 assists and 4.9 rebounds in the playoffs so far, but the fashion in which he's producing has put NBA fans everywhere on high alert -- including opponent LeBron James who called Murray "one of the hottest guys in the bubble," after Thursday night's game.

However, with the hype comes some outlandish comparisons. The most recent? "Murray is the next Stephen Curry."

NBC Sports NBA Insider Tom Haberstroh was recently on "Runnin' Plays: A Golden State Warriors Podcast," and completely ripped even the premise of the aforementioned statement being true.

"No, Jamal Murray is not the next coming of Stephen Curry," Haberstroh said. "Jamal Murray has a career 3-point percentage of 35 percent, okay? He is shooting lights out in the bubble, but let's see what happens when he gets out of the bubble.

"This entire conversation of Jamal Murray is the next Steph Curry blows my mind."

Haberstroh instead offered up a more realistic comparison of his own: Wizards guard Bradley Beal.

"[Murray] is more Bradley Beal. A guy who's an All-Star caliber player," Haberstroh said. "A guy who is a really good slasher, creative ball-handler and just gets buckets."

 

Well wait a minute now, those are some strong words from Mr. Haberstroh. Let's break it down.

Firstly, let's get one thing straight: the NBA bubble has been full of surprises. From T.J. Warren MVP cries to the Los Angeles Clippers getting bounced in the second round, it's apparent the time away from the court impacted every team in a unique way.

Analyzing Murray's complete body of work, his season numbers read 18.5 points (45% FG, 34.6 3FG%), 4.0 rebounds and 4.8 assists. Beal's numbers are All-NBA-esque: 30.5 points (45.5% FG, 35.3 3FG%), 4.2 rebounds and 6.1 rebounds. Without over-analyzing the points disparity, both players are shooting almost identically from the field, however, Beal attempts about three more shots per game (10.4) than Murray (6.9), which is understandable with Beal being the star player on an underwhelming roster, opposed to Murray sharing the court with a top-three center in Nikola Jokic. 

Beal's transformation into a 30 ppg player came out of necessity due to John Wall's injury and the lack of consistent supporting-cast output, while Murray has never had to face said pressures due to his shared court time with a 20-point/10-rebounds/7-assist Jokic. Before saying Murray is the next Beal, ask yourself this: Could Murray be as potent of a scorer as Beal if he was the focal point of an offense?

Could Murray increase his scoring output to 30 while maintaining his efficiency from the field?

Who knows? But before we make such grand comparisons, let's wait until Murray captures a couple of All-Star selections, averages 20-plus points in a season, etc.

Often times fans become prisoners of the moment, just so happens Murray's moment has been larger than life this postseason.