Jun 23, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Dejounte Murray (Washington) greets NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected as the number twenty-nine overall pick to the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Dejounte Murray sat and waited for his name to be called as he witnessed international prospects rise from their seats and emerge from the stands to shake NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s hand.
Murray was projected as a lottery pick by some NBA scouts, and a top 20 pick by most. With the first-round drawing to an end, the projected lottery pick was now seeing himself not being selected at all.
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Nineteen draft prospects convened in the NBA’s “green room,” waiting to hear commissioner Adam Silver call their name. Murray waited nearly 31/2 hours before his was called.
Then at the No. 29 pick of the draft the Spurs decided to select Murray based on his size and athleticism at the guard position-a position of need for San Antonio. He’s a combo guard, possessing the ability to play either position, yet also comes with some worrisome flaws.
Most players would show signs of frustration when waiting nearly four hours in a room when you were only expected to be there for an hour tops. His positive attitude came through in the end.
“I had to sit a long time, but I didn’t pout,” Murray said. “I didn’t try to show nothing negative, tried to stay positive. I feel like I’m going to the best organization in the NBA.”
He’s very turnover prone, and will have to become a better decision maker if he ever wants to be a successful point guard in the NBA.
The upside with Murray is huge, and the Spurs have earned the benefit of the doubt throughout their years of shrewd drafting.
The Spurs are entering a new era post-Big Three, and Murray can be a solid piece to winning basketball for years to come.
Lets take a deeper look at Murray as here are five things to know from the newest member of the Spurs.
Next: Born and Raised In Seattle
Jan 9, 2016; Pullman, WA, USA; Washington Huskies guard Dejounte Murray (5) celebrates after a game against the Washington State Cougars at Wallis Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum. The Huskies won 99-95. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
Murray was born and raised in Seattle. He attended Rainier Beach High School and was a 2015 Parade All-American, the 2015 Washington Gatorade Men’s Basketball Player of the Year, WIAA Mr. Basketball, and the Seattle Times and Tacoma News Tribune Player of the Year.
He went on to play in his home town of Seattle at the University of Washington. Where he excelled as a freshman.
Next: Murray can score with the best of them
Dec 8, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington Huskies guard Dejounte Murray (5) shoots a layup against the TCU Horned Frogs during the first half at Alaska Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Murray excelled in his only season at the University of Washington. He was one of two freshmen to average at least 16.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists last season–another to do so, LSU’s Ben Simmons, whom was this year’s No. 1 overall pick.
Next: His weakness is his jumper
Jan 20, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington Huskies guard Dejounte Murray (5) shoots against the Colorado Buffaloes during the first half at Alaska Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
One area in Murray’s game that needs work is out on the perimeter. Going to a team where they have one of the best shooting coaches in the game in Chip Engelland is a plus. Murray shot 28.8 percent on 3-pointers and hit just 66.3 percent of his free throws. He shot 41.6 percent from the field, but was a bit better inside, hitting 45.7 percent of his 2-point tries.
Murry knows where work needs to be done as he told the media after being selected.
“I could be a great shooter,” Murray said. “I never stop shooting, like Steph Curry. He’s a great shooter. I’m pretty sure he still works on it every day countless hours.”
Next: Murray is the fifth pick for the Spurs at No. 29
Jun 23, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Dejounte Murray (Washington) puts on a team cap after being selected as the number twenty-nine overall pick to the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Before their selection at No. 29, the Spurs have had four previous selections in the same spot. Mike Brittain (’85), Cory Alexander (’95), Leon Smith (’99), and Cory Joseph (’11).
Next: Murray compares his motor to that of Leonard's
March 9, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Stanford Cardinal forward Rosco Allen (25) shoots the basketball against Washington Huskies guard Dejounte Murray (5) during the second half of the Pac-12 Conference tournament at MGM Grand Garden Arena. The Huskies defeated the Cardinal 91-68. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
When asked what he can bring to the team, Murray responded: “You know, high motor, like Kawhi Leonard; a dude that’s willing to work, and I’ll never settle for less, never get comfortable.”
He also got some praise from head coach Gregg Popovich as he spoke with him prior to being drafted. “He told me they want to turn me into a great player like they did Kawhi.”
Next: His size is what intrigued San Antonio
Dec 12, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington Huskies guard Dejounte Murray (5) goes for the steal against Montana Grizzlies guard Michael Oguine (10) during the first half at Alaska Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports
Murray possesses ideal size for a guard. He’s 6-foot-5, with a nearly 6-10 wingspan. At just 170 pounds, he’ll have to add some bulk to that spindly frame. He’s extremely athletic, and gets to the rim with ease. He also is very lengthy for a guard. With his size, he can make it difficult for guards on the perimeter to pass or even make a move on him.
Next: Murray gets a call from LeBron James
Jun 19, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) and head coach Tyronn Lue celebrate on the podium after beating the Golden State Warriors in game seven of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Shortly after Murray was selected by the San Antonio Spurs, Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James called Murray to congratulate him in saying, “You’re going to one of the best organizations in the world.” Murray and James share a common agent in Rich Paul.