An All-Star Selection for Dejounte Murray Could be Gamechanger for Spurs
By Cal Durrett
San Antonio Spurs guard Dejonte Murray is having a breakout season and has established himself as the team's best player. The 5th-year guard is averaging a terrific 17.8 points, 8.4 rebounds, 8.8 assists, and 2.0 steals and appears poised to make his first NBA All-Star team.
Were Murray to actually make the All-Star team, it could have a big effect on his career as well as the Spurs organization. With that in mind, let's take a look at how Murray making the All-Star team would affect his career.
With the NBA All-Star Game less than two months away, Murray has managed to raise his profile around the NBA by carrying the Spurs on both sides of the ball. As a result, the team has remained competitive and even has a shot at making the playoffs.
While there's no guarantee he will get rewarded for his amazing play, let's assume he does and that Murray makes his first All-Star team. That would solidify him as one of the league's best players while also helping to cement his legacy with the Spurs. After all, he'd be just the 22nd player in the team's 46-season history to make an All-Star team.
Murray is also smashing franchise records. In fact, he already set the single-season record for triple-doubles with six. Additionally, he has 10 triple-doubles overall, giving him the second-most in franchise history (Robinson, 14). Considering he's just 25, it appears that he's only getting started, which bodes well for the Spurs, given his eye-popping production.
Dejounte Murray's rise could jumpstart the rebuild
Murray's transformation into an All-Star would have a big impact on the franchise beyond their record this season. Dejounte was taken 29th overall in the 2016 NBA Draft and would become the fourth member of the Spurs this century to be named an All-Star despite not being drafted in the lottery.
Furthermore, his emergence as a star helps to reaffirm that the Spurs are still the best at drafting and developing players despite several misses in recent drafts. Not only that, but the Spurs' decision to gamble on Murray's talent after he tore his ACL looks great in retrospect. San Antonio signed Murray to a 4-year, $68 million deal in 2019, and it now looks like one of the best contracts in the NBA with two seasons remaining.
While all of that is great from San Antonio's perspective, by far the most important aspect of Murray becoming an All-Star caliber player is that it helps jumpstart the rebuild. After all, there are far worse ways to start a rebuild than with a rapidly-improving star in their mid-twenties to build around.
Instead of having to focus on finding a new franchise player, the Spurs can instead work on trying to build around Murray while also finding another star to pair him with.
Having one star can often help lure another, and as Murray's star power continues to rise, he'll hopefully help the Spurs gain more attention around the league, including from players on other teams. Players help recruit players all the time, and Murray could eventually help the Spurs convince another star to play in San Antonio.
If Murray makes the All-Star team, it would be a well-deserved honor for a player who has put in the work to become great. Moreover, with Murray's game taking a big leap forward, it will likely prevent the Spurs from bottoming out over the next couple of seasons.
That's important because it gives players like Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell more time to develop, hopefully resulting in either or both emerging as stars themselves. After those two seasons, he'd become an unrestricted free agent and could command a max contract at the age of 27. Assuming, Murray continues his strong play, then the Spurs could agree to such a deal, especially if they're ready to compete by then.
Spurs fans will have to wait until February to find out whether Murray will make his first NBA All-Star Game. Even if he doesn't, Murray has already proven that he's among the NBA's best players. But if he does, then it will have big ramifications on both his career and the Spurs franchise.