Murray has improved as a scorer from every level of the floor
Analyzing the improvements Murray has made as a scorer this season is an excellent case of the stats not matching what we’ve seen on the floor.
If you just look at the changes he’s made in key statistical areas on a per-game basis, it doesn’t look like Murray has improved. In fact, it seems like he’s taken a bit of a step back. But anyone who has watched the Spurs play this season can tell you that’s definitely not the case.
Season FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% 2P 2PA 2P% eFG% FT FTA FT% PTS
2019-20 4.5 9.7 .462 0.6 1.7 .369 3.8 8.0 .481 .494 1.4 1.7 .798 10.9
2020-21 6.5 14.2 .454 1.1 3.3 .330 5.4 10.9 .491 .492 1.8 2.2 .812 15.8
The slight decline in field goal percentage is more of a result of the increased responsibility Murray has taken on in the Spurs offense than it is a reflection of a lessened ability to score. He’s taking almost five more shots per game and his overall usage rate has gone up from 20.8 percent last year to 23.4 percent this year.
He’s being asked to do so much more in the Spurs offense and his field goal percentage has only taken a very slight step back. I don’t think you’ll find many Spurs fans complaining about that.
One of the most impressive areas Murray has taken steps forward in is how patient he’s become while probing defenses. In years past, he had a tendency to look flustered when under pressure. This year he’s been calm and collected as he’s navigated tight spaces in the paint.
He’s made similar improvements in the mid-range. What used to be an area of weakness for him has turned into an area of strength for the young leader of the Spurs. He’s looked comfortable finding his preferred spot just outside the paint and cashing jumpers all season.
The last area of his scoring profile that Murray needs to round out is his three-point shot. This has been a focal point for a while now and there have been signs of improvement. He seems confident taking them, just watch the one he nailed in the face of the Golden State Warriors to ice a game back in early-February.
Murray has repeatedly expressed a belief that his three-point shot will improve and given the progress he’s made elsewhere I’m inclined to believe him. Give it time and I guarantee you Murray develops a consistent three-point shot.