It’s hard not to get excited about Jamal Murray and Canada Basketball these days.
The Denver Nuggets’ Canadian phenome has been among the hottest players in the NBA playoffs lately. He’s averaging 26.6 points per game through 16 playoff games, leading the Nuggets to the Western Conference finals.
“He’s been amazing, I mean, unbelievable,” said Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse who doubles as the men’s Canadian basketball team’s head coach.
Canada Basketball’s hopes of making it to the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 took a bit of a hit earlier in the week when NBA commissioner Adam Silver told CNN’s Bob Costas he expects next NBA season to begin in January and look like a standard, 82-game season. If that’s the case and the NBA season runs until August, it’s unlikely Canada would have NBA players available for the FIBA Olympic qualifiers in Victoria, B.C. scheduled for late June.
“I’m just hoping we can get back to playing normal and getting on a schedule and I’m hoping there will be a Tokyo, and hoping there will be an Olympic qualifier tournament,” Nurse said. “I’m just hoping that those days are coming for all of us right, so we can get back to normal and moving around again.”
If the qualifiers and Olympics don’t interfere with the NBA season and postseason, Canada should have a very exciting team with Murray leading the way.
“All signs and any communication that I’ve had with him was that he’s gonna play,” Nurse said of Murray. “I think everybody should be excited about that, I know I certainly am and he’s really, really becoming a superstar in the league.”
Murray had previously committed to playing for Team Canada at the 2020 Olympics.
The Tokyo Olympics are now scheduled to run from July 23 to August 8, 2021.