Starting point guard Dejounte Murray suffered a torn right ACL in Monday’s preseason loss against Houston.
This one stings, Spurs fans. After a summer-long journey of growing as a player and taking the starting point guard mantle from Tony Parker, third-year guard Dejounte Murray is likely out for the season after tearing his ACL on Sunday evening.
Spurs: DeJounte Murray has a torn ACL.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 8, 2018
Murray drove past reigning- MVP James Harden en route to the basket and felt his knee buckle. This sent him to the ground, writhing in pain before he exited the game. After becoming the youngest player to make an All-NBA Defensive Team in his second season, Murray was on the horizon of a breakout campaign for head coach Gregg Popovich. The injury leaves the starting point guard position wide open for the taking.
Who will step up is yet to be determined, but there’s certainly been chatter around sophomore Derrick White. He spent the past year leading the Austin Spurs to a G League championship before taking over the Summer League in July. His emergence could provide a sight for sore eyes this season as he fills the gap left by the injured Murray.
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This is a major blow for San Antonio, as Murray’s vocal leadership and enhanced offensive game made him a prime candidate to direct the team on both sides of the floor. More so than just that, Murray is only 22 years old. The sky’s the limit, but a torn ACL will certainly hinder some of the growth he’s shown over the summer.
Still, there’s more than meets the eye when assessing Murray. This injury was nowhere close to part of the plan, but Murray is built differently from other players mentally. His greatest strength is his mind and his motor won’t allow him to quit until he’s back at 100 percent. Any fan that’s paid attention to Murray over the past year knows that he’s got the heart of a champion and won’t rest until he becomes one.
It’s not time to mourn the season or give up, as there’s still plenty of time for San Antonio to sign another piece or make a trade. Unfortunately, the point guard market hasn’t been kind as seen by the struggles facing the Phoenix Suns this offseason, but it’s not impossible to find a quality replacement by the start of the year.
— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) October 8, 2018
Murray’s production can be matched with some extra effort from other players around throughout roster. Both White and veteran Patty Mills can pick up some slack this year with meaningful minutes and newcomer Jakob Poeltl can gobble up some of the rebounding they’ll miss without Murray. Unfortunately, his defensive impact will leave a huge gap on the perimeter for San Antonio.
Whether it be an opposing point guard or shooting guard, Murray has been a reliable option to defend the opposing team’s best guard in each and every game. This is going to pose an extra challenge to All Star shooting guard DeMar DeRozan, who will definitely need to step up as at least a reliable on-ball defender and an active player off of the ball.
As a collective, Spurs fans have rallied around Murray over the past year and embraced him as the point guard of the future. It’ll be hard to see it ahead of a season in which many others will don the point guard position. Players may rise or fall in terms of stock and output, but no matter what comes next, know that Murray is still the Spurs point guard of the future.
It’s only a matter of time before DJ returns to form and gets back on track, but for now, it’s time to prepare for the new season. Get well soon, Dejounte. You still have the support and affection of the fan base regardless of whatever comes next. Go Spurs Go.