The preseason injury to Dejounte Murray opened up some opportunity in the San Antonio Spurs backcourt, which has created one of the best point guard situations in the NBA.
The San Antonio Spurs’ 2018-19 season opened under a dark cloud after Dejounte Murray went down with a torn ACL in a preseason game against the Rockets.
The Spurs would lose another point guard option for significant time went Derrick White suffered a preseason heel injury shortly after he was named a starter.
Along with the always reliable Patty Mills, San Antonio has the deepest point guard depth chart in the league, and it looks like they could keep this group together during this era led by DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge.
With White’s recent incredible performance against the Atlanta Hawks in an important road win, I felt it was a good time to dive deep into each piece of the Spurs’ talented backcourt and determine what their future looks like in San Antonio based on their contract situation and their fit with the current roster.
Next: Derrick White
The Spurs have consistently been able to find talent late in the first round of the draft during this historic run over the past two decades, and they’ve done so again by selecting Derrick White with the 29th overall pick in 2017.
After spending nearly all of his rookie season with the G League team in Austin and leading them to a championship, White has stepped up into the starting point guard role admirably this year.
The former Colorado Buffalo has scored nearly 9.9 points per game this season while filling out the stat sheet with 3.8 assists, 3.8 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 0.7 blocks per night.
He’s also maintained a true shooting percentage of 57.2% while hitting 34.6% of his threes on 2 attempts per game.
Those stats don’t fully encapsulate how great White has been this year because he struggled mightily in his first games back from a heel injury in November, and another heel injury damaged his February performance as well.
White’s best work has come on the defensive end where he ranks second among point guards in defensive real plus-minus, and we saw those skills on full display in Atlanta where he blocked a career-high six shots.
The Spurs can keep White on his rookie contract through the 2020-21 season, and he will continue to be extremely valuable to this team even when Dejounte Murray returns next year.
Next: Dejounte Murray
With breakout performances from Bryn Forbes and Derrick White this year, it’s easy to forget about Dejounte Murray who has just rejoined the team recently after privately rehabbing his knee injury for most of the season.
Murray proved he could be an absolutely dominant defender last season leading the league’s point guards in defensive real plus-minus by a wide margin. But he also took some steps forward on the offensive end averaging just over 8 points and 2.9 assists per game.
Murray still has a lot of work to do on his offensive game, but it will be really interesting to see how his shot looks along with his playmaking skills after a year of development during the summer of 2018 and a hopefully healthy summer to work with the Spurs’ coaching staff again this year.
Murray is actually two years younger than Derrick White, and Dejounte could also be under team control on his rookie contract through the 2020-21 season.
I can’t wait to see Murray get back on the floor again next year to examine how he fits with San Antonio’s new roster.
Next: Patty Mills and Bryn Forbes
Patty Mills and Bryn Forbes
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Because Derrick White and Dejounte Murray aren’t outstanding three-point shooters, Patty Mills and Bryn Forbes play an extremely important role for the Spurs.
Mills and Forbes are both shooting over 39% from three this season, and they’ve combined to make four three-pointers per game on a team that ranks dead last in three-point attempts.
We know exactly what Patty can bring to the table in his eighth year in San Antonio, but Forbes has been a revelation in his third NBA season.
Forbes is setting career-highs across the board this year, and he’s also been able to make some plays within the flow of the offense along with his pinpoint shooting with 2.2 assists in 28 minutes per game this season.
With a healthy Derrick White and Dejounte Murray next season, Forbes and Mills will be asked to play off the ball much more, but they are both capable of excelling in those roles.
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Bryn and Patty will probably always be liabilities on the defensive end, but their shooting off the bench will provide some much-needed spacing in the Spurs’ offense for years to come.