Sometimes it pays to have connections, and maybe the San Antonio Spurs can take advantage of that in the near future.
While the front office ultimately waived Marquese Chriss before he ever saw the floor, there's precedent for a close friend of Dejounte Murray's like Chriss finding his way to the Alamo City. Although he was born in California, Chriss grew close to Murray during their days playing for the Washington Huskies.
As a small market, the Spurs could use all the help they can get in recruiting players, so their star point guard could be a useful weapon. Averaging close to a triple-double this season, Murray is making a case to be an NBA All-Star in a season where his team is trying to grow up quickly in a full rebuild.
Now in his sixth season with the Spurs, Murray has a strong affection for his hometown of Seattle and the state of Washington in general. As he continues to grow in popularity and appeal, here are five ways he could use his roots to the Spurs' advantage down the road.
5. Jaden McDaniels - Minnesota Timberwolves
Although his lone season at Washington came years after Dejounte was gone, Jaden McDaniels still shares the same alma mater as Murray. The 6-9 power forward averaged 13.0 points and 5.8 rebounds in college before declaring for the 2020 NBA Draft and being taken by the Los Angeles Lakers.
McDaniels eventually found his way to the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he's averaging 8.2 points and 4.6 rebounds per game through 38 games played. I asked former Air Alamo site expert Ethan Farina, who previously scouted McDaniels for the site, how he feels about the 21-year-old.
"I like him a lot," said Farnia. "He's been a lot better on defense than I think most people expected. He's also grown about three inches over his first two years. I don't think he's ever going to be an All-Star, but he should stick in the NBA for a while based on his defensive versatility and shooting ability."