San Antonio Spurs: Gauging the importance of Dejounte Murray’s jumper

SAN ANTONIO, TX - FEBRUARY 28: Dejounte Murray #5 of the San Antonio Spurs stretches during the game against the New Orleans Pelicans on February 28, 2018 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - FEBRUARY 28: Dejounte Murray #5 of the San Antonio Spurs stretches during the game against the New Orleans Pelicans on February 28, 2018 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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After reeling from Dejounte Murray’s injury last season, the San Antonio Spurs are anticipating an improved jumper from their beloved point guard.

Few traditions are as beloved in the modern basketball landscape as summertime Instagram videos of NBA Players hitting open threes in random gyms, but the general consensus is that most of them don’t equate to higher shooting percentages in the regular season. For as many stepback jumpers as Detroit center Andre Drummond has drained for the cameras over the course of the last four summers, the uncanny rebounder has still only made 10 career three-pointers.

For the San Antonio Spurs, the overarching hope is that Dejounte Murray, the appointed heir to the Alamo City point guard throne, will return from injury with a refined jump shot ready and available. He won’t be asked to become a volume three-point shooter – Tony Parker never shot more than three triples per game in his 17 seasons as a Spur – although the promise of extended range would greatly amplify this team’s chances of success.

The dynamic between Murray and San Antonio’s lead guard DeMar DeRozan has yet to be established, but Dejounte’s team-first mentality and defensive prowess is sure to pair nicely with DeRozan. Both are exceptional athletes with the tools necessary to play above the rim – giving Spurs mastermind Gregg Popovich the most athletic guard duo he’s had in his career. Throw budding stars Derrick White and Lonnie Walker IV into the mix and the Spurs are sure to take off next season.

Still, floor spacing is going to be an issue as DeRozan’s three-pointer has never been more than average. It’s hard to expect a player at this stage of his career to develop a sure-fire longball (though San Antonio still holds out hope), so the pressure is on Dejounte to hit consistently when spaced beyond the arc.

In back-to-back offseasons, Murray has boasted the hard work he’s put into his jumper on his Instagram stories for all of his followers to soak in and the hype is certainly building. It’d be ludicrous to question the 22-year-old’s work ethic, he’s proven himself to be one of the most persistent players to come from this system, but it’s also understandable to be skeptical of his jumper.

Murray made an exceptional 9-of-23 three-point attempts in his rookie season and followed that up by making only 9-of-34 as a sophomore – a decrease of 12.6 percent from year one to two. Even though his deep jumper failed to connect in his second season, Murray is going to do everything in his power to prove himself this season and that includes an added polish to his three-ball.

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Going into a contract year while coming off of injury, there’s not a doubt in my mind that Dejounte is going to take a step in the right direction in 2020. With a championship or bust mindset, intense focus on his craft and unwavering devoting to Spurs culture, Murray is going to give it his all for the silver and black as he finds his bearings and adapts to his new teammates.

If he can shoot the ball consistently and pose a legitimate threat from beyond the arc, the Spurs could present themselves as a top-six team in the uber-competetive Western Conference.

San Antonio needs Murray to learn how to space the floor effectively without sacrificing his dynamic playmaking and slashing ability in the half-court. Grittiness on the defensive end comes from within him – he’s a dog, through and through. Naturally, a more honed jump shot is the next step in his progression toward becoming an All-Star-caliber talent.

Next. Goals for Dejounte Murray in the 2019 Offseason

If the Instagram stories are more fact than fantasy, we’ll be in for an exciting season.

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