The Denver Nuggets will be without star guard Jamal Murray for the rest of the 2020-21 season after he was diagnosed with a torn ACL in his left knee on Tuesday, per Shams Charania. Murray was injured going to the basket late in the fourth quarter of Monday’s game vs. the Golden State Warriors. He went down hard and had to be helped to the locker room, so this is the news we were expecting, unfortunately. With Murray done for the season, we’re looking ahead to the fantasy basketball playoffs and how you should proceed without the stud guard.
How to replace Jamal Murray in fantasy basketball
Murray was ranked 14th in player rating on ESPN for fantasy this season before being injured, so that’s a lot of production you’ll have to replace. If we look at some internal options, there are a few players available on the waiver wire.
Monte Morris (9.3 percent owned) is an OK option to replace Murray given his availability on the wire. You should be able to scoop up Morris pretty easily. He’s a decent all-around guard who can score a bit and distribute. The issue with Morris is his ceiling isn’t very high, plus his minutes won’t be anywhere near Murray’s average of 35.5 per game.
The best option appears to be SG/SF Will Barton, who is just over 40 percent owned in ESPN leagues. He has been starting most of the season after missing a few games at the beginning of the year. Barton averages 12.8 points over 31.4 minutes per game. So we really don’t need to worry about playing time; Barton was always going to get the minutes with or without Murray.
Now that Murray is sidelined, the Nuggets will need someone to be the third scoring option behind Nikola Jokic and Michael Porter Jr. That’s a role Barton used to be comfortable in during past seasons. On top of scoring, Barton chips in a nice amount of rebounds and assists per game. Really, the only department you lose out on is points and 3-point shooting.
Two other options: Aaron Gordon (81 percent owned) and Facundo Campazzo (2.7 percent owned). Gordon may be asked to score more, but it shouldn’t spike with Murray out. Campazzo gets more minutes at guard but is strictly a passer with limited offensive upside.
If you’re looking for an outside option on the wire, here are a few players to consider.
— Kevin Huerter (45.5 percent owned): The Atlanta Hawks are ravaged by injuries and Huerter can do a lot of the things you got out of Murray, except not at the same level. Heurter should continue to play around 30 minutes so long as Tony Snell, De’Andre Hunter and/or Danilo Gallinari are sidelined. Bogdan Bogdanovic (73.6 percent owned) would be better if available on the wire.
— Duncan Robinson (51.8 percent owned): The Miami Heat have been one of the most injury-impacted teams in the NBA this season. The one constant? Robinson. He’s started 53 games and is shooting the lights out of the ball lately. In April, he’s up at 50 percent from downtown over five games. In March, he shot over 40 percent from 3-point range and made 3.6 three-pointers per game.
— Derrick White (44.9 percent owned): The San Antonio Spurs starting guard has missed about half the season due to injuries. He’s putting together a solid April so far, averaging around 18 points per game. White is going to start and play north of 30 minutes, which is what we’re looking for in a Murray replacement.