The San Antonio Spurs can slow down two young guards who are dominating the playoffs right now.
The restart of the NBA season was largely dominated by a few headlines. There were the outstanding individual performances of Damian Lillard and Devin Booker, as well as the impressive team runs of the Phoenix Suns and San Antonio Spurs. But now that we’re officially in the postseason, two men are dominating games like few in the league can.
If you haven’t been watching the playoff matchup between Jamal Murray and Donovan Mitchell you’ve been missing out. The two young stars are going bucket for bucket, they’ve both made history by having multiple 50 point games in this series and we’re still not done.
Murray and Mitchell are going to be dominant for a long time. They’re cornerstones of their respective franchises. Murray has already signed a deal keeping him in Denver for the foreseeable future and Mitchells opportunity shouldn’t be far away now. The San Antonio Spurs are going to have to contend with these two for the next decade at least.
Thankfully, the San Antonio Spurs have the perfect backcourt duo to slow down these two dynamic young guards.
Derrick White and Dejounte Murray are ready to slow down Mitchell and Murray
One of the revelations that we saw from the San Antonio Spurs in the bubble was finally seeing the duo of Dejounte Murray and Derrick White getting extended playing time together. This is something that Spurs fans have been calling for for a while now. The results were mixed but encouraging.
The San Antonio Spurs gave up 109 points per 100 possessions when Murray and White shared the floor. Certainly not where they want to be but markedly better than where the team was for the majority of the season.
The Spurs shifting to a starting backcourt of Murray and White is important contextualization for the numbers that Jamal Murray and Mitchell have put up against San Antonio throughout their careers. Looking back at all the games the two have played against the Spurs, they’ve been going up against a backcourt that featured one of White and Murray alongside Bryn Forbes. That truly does make a difference.
Here’s how the two have performed against the San Antonio Spurs so far:
- Jamal Murray: 12 career regular-season games, 16 ppg on 41% shooting from the field & 36% from behind the arc, 4.4 Rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.8 turnovers per game
- Donovan Mitchell: 8 career regular-season games, 23 ppg on 40% shooting from the field & 39% from behind the arc, 3.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.8 turnovers per game
Looking at their career numbers and you can see that the Spurs have done a fair job of keeping the two young superstars contained. They’ve forced Mitchell into some tougher shots, his lower than career average shooting percentage largely stems from two particularly difficult games during his second season where he was forced to carry the offensive load for the Jazz.
But the point is that the Spurs have been able to hold Murray and Mitchell close or slightly below their career averages and have done so with Forbes getting heavy minutes. Imagine what they might be able to do with another full offseason of work and chemistry building from Derrick White, Dejounte Murray, and Lonnie Walker.
White and Murray are already two of the best defensive guards in the NBA. White finished 2nd in the league’s guards in blocks and was also one of the best players in the league at drawing charges. Meanwhile, Murray was one of the NBA’s best ballhawks. He finished in the top-ten in both total steals and deflections. Together they’re a versatile, defense-focused backcourt that should be able to give even the most prolific scorers problems.
Donovan Mitchell and Jamal Murray aren’t going to stop giving the league fits for years. But with Derrick White and Dejounte Murray on the squad, the San Antonio Spurs are as prepared as anyone to slow them down.