Even as the San Antonio Spurs continue to struggle through their Rodeo Road Trip they can take comfort in the impressive play of Dejounte Murray.
There aren’t many silver linings to be taken away from last night’s loss to the Denver Nuggets but there are some. The San Antonio Spurs blew a 20 point lead, played horrendous defense down the stretch, and looked like they had completely given up by the end. A very on brand performance from a team that has disappointed all season long.
Despite the eventual loss, we can be happy and impressed with the strong showing from Dejounte Murray. DJ has now put together back to back impressive games and even though they both ended up as losses for the team, the Spurs should still be happy with the growth that Dejounte has shown throughout the year. The sky is the limit for the Spurs’ point guard of the future.
After putting up a 17 point, 9 rebound, 9 assist game in Sacramento, Murray followed up with a nice 14 point, 6 rebound, 9 assist performance last night. He was aggressive on both ends of the floor, going right into the teeth of the Nuggets defense and using his length to finish up or around defenders. On defense he was his usual pesky self, frequently bothering Denver’s ball handlers and turning good defense into easy offense.
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) February 11, 2020
Murray’s has been up and down throughout the season but the overall takeaways have been impressive. We have to remind ourselves that he did just tear his ACL last year and that’s a difficult injury to come back from, especially for a player as athletic as DJ. His body may be able to do the things he was capable of pre-injury but gaining the confidence to push himself is another thing. That said, it looks like he’s putting it together and becoming the guard we know he can be.
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With DeMar DeRozan sitting out last night while dealing with back spasms, Lonnie Walker got the start. This led to us getting to see a nice 21 minutes of DJ and Lonnie sharing the court. When they played together they recorded an eye-catching +50.1 net rating and genuinely seemed to enjoy playing with one another.
Together they bring a sense of urgency and speed to both ends of the floor that’s refreshing to see after years of slower play. They’re the most athletically gifted players that San Antonio has had in quite some time. As that elusive playoff spot becomes harder and harder to capture it’d be nice to see Gregg Popovich play the two together more often. They’ve proven that they can play winning basketball right now and the additional time sharing the floor will surely pay dividends in the future.
There’s still plenty that Murray can work on. His three-point percentage and ability to knock down mid-range jumpers has markedly improved from his last season but isn’t quite where you’d want it to be for a franchise point guard. Additionally, his assist percentage hasn’t really increased in the three years that he’s played. It’s hovered around 22 percent throughout his career.
Continuing to improve his jump shot and working to improve as a playmaker will surely be points of emphasis for Murray going forward but you still have to be happy with the progress he has shown this year. He’s gradually worked his way back from a horrible knee injury, improved his jumper, and proven that the future of the point guard position is in capable hands.
Even though this season has been tough for Spurs fans to endure we can still look to the future. With guys like DJ, Lonnie, Derrick White, Keldon Johnson, and Luka Samanic, plus a likely lottery pick, the coming years should be much more enjoyable than what we’ve had to watch lately.