While the San Antonio Spurs have plenty to look forward to with Dejounte Murray’s return to the court, his rebounding prowess may be his biggest asset.
Heading into the 2019-20 season, Dejounte Murray‘s return to action might just be what Spurs fans are anticipating the most.
Although he has only seen action in what equates to a season and a half, the fourth-year point guard has shown an impressive mixture of work ethic, defensive quickness and raw talent. Beyond that, Murray has shown a remarkable knack of being the first one to the ball off a missed shot so far in his young career. A look at the numbers from his last healthy season, 2017-18, shows just how good Murray was at rebounding the ball when given adequate minutes:
In just his second year with San Antonio, the 6-foot-5 point guard finished third among all point guards in the NBA at 5.7 rebounds per game behind All-Stars Russell Westbrook and Ben Simmons. The statistic beat out some of the league’s best point guards such as Damian Lillard, Kyle Lowry and Chris Paul.
When Murray was on the floor, he was crashing the boards on both ends. That same season, Murray’s 1.4 offensive rebounds per game even matched the likes of big men such as Al Horford, Montrezl Harrell and new Spur DeMarre Carroll.
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Furthermore, Murray also finished the season third among all point guards in rebound rate, a Hollinger stat that calculates the percentage of a team’s total rebounds that are hauled down by a particular player (14.6 percent).
When looking at these statistics, it’s safe to say the loss of Murray was a big reason the Spurs went from 11th in the league in total rebounds per game in 2017-18 to 20th last season. San Antonio also plummeted from sixth in the NBA in offensive rebounds per game to just 27th last season. While the loss of Kawhi Leonard is the main reason for such a disparity, losing Dejounte definitely did not help the situation.
Given San Antonio’s hesitance to shoot threes at the same rate as most other teams, limiting opponent possessions would be a great counterbalance. In the loaded west, efficient rebounding could mean the difference between making the playoffs and watching them from home.
There’s no question that Dejounte Murray is excited to return to his role as the Spurs’ starting point guard, and the city of San Antonio should be as well.