Nuggets sign Jamal Murray replacement through rest of season
The Denver Nuggets have officially signed Austin Rivers for the remaining of the NBA season, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. This can be looked at as a bit of a replacement for the injured Jamal Murray. This signing comes after Rivers played out two 10-day contracts with the Nuggets.
The Denver Nuggets are planning to sign guard Austin Rivers for the rest of the season, sources tell ESPN. He’s averaged 24 minutes in five games on a 10-day deal. Nuggets lost guard Jamal Murray for year and are playing without Will Barton now.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 29, 2021
Jamal Murray tragically tore his ACL during the regular season and the Nuggets were suddenly without their second-best player. That is an incredibly tough loss for a team hoping to compete for the championship, but luckily, the Nuggets had plenty of depth at that position. Monte Morris, Facundo Campazzo, and Austin Rivers were all waiting in the wings.
Rivers has bounced around throughout his entire career but has remained generally productive throughout. It has been a slightly underwhelming career for the former top 10 pick, but he will still provide a valuable role for the Nuggets in the playoffs. The Nuggets will run the majority of their offense through Nikola Jokic in the playoffs, so it best to surround him with shooters, cutters, and big enough bodies on defense. Rivers checks all those boxes. At 6’4, he can switch a little on defense, is a good spot-up shooter and the occasional iso scorer, and he could be utilized well as a cutter.
The Nuggets are currently fourth in the Western Conference, and they are likely to remain there. This would mean a tough first-round series against the Los Angeles Lakers assuming the standings stay where they are. It is yet to be seen what Austin Rivers would contribute to the Nuggets in this series, but he provides depth and another option for Mike Malone to go to if needed.