San Antonio Spurs: Dejounte Murray quietly heating up from behind the arc
This season, the San Antonio Spurs have proven themselves to be a league-average team. Thanks to a slightly below-average offense and a slightly above-average defense, the Spurs have hung around .500 for most of the season. And, tough schedule or not, they’re likely to end up close to that mark when the regular season is over.
If there is one thing that this season has taught us it is that even though the Spurs might be an average team, Dejounte Murray is not your run-of-the-mill, average point guard. No, he’s much, much more than that.
Since the beginning of the season, Murray has been outstanding for the Spurs. He’s putting up numbers across the board (15.5 points, 6.9 rebs, 5.3 assists, and 1.5 steals per game) that can only be matched by Jimmy Butler. Frankly, he should be in the consideration for Most Improved Player of the year.
The one thing that most would say is still missing from Dejounte’s game is a consistent three-point shot, and most would be right. But over this last stretch of games, Murray has given us a glimpse of what could be in store for him next season. And let me tell you, it looks dangerous.
Dejounte Murray becoming an outside threat for the San Antonio Spurs
Dejounte’s evolution into a consistent jump shooter hasn’t been easy. It’s taken him years of work, countless hours in the gym, but he’s slowly and surely developing the jumper we had hoped he would.
Early in the season, it started out close to the basket. Murray would often drive into the lane and either pull up from near the free-throw line or just off to the right of the lane and nail a jumper. It was a bit surprising at first but now it’s something that we see Murray regularly look to and hit. He’s shooting 44 percent from the field between 10 feet and the three-point line, and now he’s bringing that accuracy behind the arc.
Over the last 12 games, Murray has been shooting 40 percent from behind the arc on 3.6 attempts per game. It’s not a crazy amount of volume and it’s not an otherworldly percentage but it’s a dang impressive stretch for a player who was routinely disregarded as a non-threat by defenses when he had the ball behind the arc.
It’s hard to overstate just how impactful it could be for the Spurs if Dejounte can sustain this kind of shooting going forward. There are so many players who would benefit from the ripple effects of this.
During the Spurs’ struggles over the past few weeks, defenses have been packing the paint as a way to make life harder for the slashes who make a living there. DeMar DeRozan, Keldon Johnson, Derrick White, and Murray have all been impacted by this. If Murray keeps shooting like this from deep, defenses are going to have start stepping out to cover him. If that opens up even a little bit more room inside for the other Spurs to operate it’ll make their lives a lot easier.
More important than what this means this year is what it could mean next season. With DeMar DeRozan potentially on the way out of San Antonio, the Spurs are going to be looking for their next lead scoring option. Murray is second on the team in points per game today and looks like the prime candidate to take over the lead scoring role if DeMar does leave San Antonio.
Developing a three-point shot was the natural next step in Dejounte Murray’s evolution. He’s starting to hit his stride now, let’s see if he can carry it through the final stretch of the season and maybe use his new shooting touch to help carry the San Antonio Spurs back to the playoffs.