San Antonio Spurs All-Star Dejounte Murray is having an incredible season. The fifth-year guard is averaging close to a triple-double while also leading the league in steals per game. Not only that but he already has 12 triple-doubles this season and counting. With Murray emerging as a nightly triple-double threat, it leads to questions about whether he could actually average one over an entire season.
While that was previously something that only Oscar Robertson had ever done, triple-doubles have become much more common. In fact, Russell Westbrook even managed to average one over an entire season four times, and Murray could be next, considering he isn't that far off now.
Since entering the NBA, Murray has set himself apart from most guards with his ability to rebound. That's held true this season, where he ranks second among point guards in rebounds per game. It's also been a key component to his ability to rack up triple-doubles and will be critical in determining whether he could do it over an entire year.
The Key to Triple-Doubles is Rebounding
Scoring is the easiest of the three needed statistical categories, and Murray averaging 20 points means he has that area more than covered. While he's currently averaging a career-high in rebounds with 8.4, that number would still need to improve for him to take the next step and join the single-season triple-double club.
Still, averaging 10 rebounds a game is a tall task, especially for a point guard, but Murray could absolutely do it. With the Spurs playing much smaller than in seasons past, he'll continue to have the opportunity to crash the glass. Actually, he's the team's second-best rebounder behind Jakob Poeltl and, as his minutes continue to rise, he'll likely corral even more boards.
That would allow for the Spurs to continue to play small while still holding their own on the glass. It would also help them get out in transition more, with Murray being able to grab and go. That's a good thing considering how effective he is in the fast break, not only as a scorer but as a passer too. It's partly why Murray ranks third in the NBA in assists.
That's all the more impressive considering he wasn't really a point guard when he was drafted. Instead, Murray was shoehorned into the position because he didn't have the size or the shooting ability needed to play the two. That's obviously changed now, with Murray averaging a career-high in assists.
Furthermore, based on his recent play, it's possible that he could actually average double-digit assists in a season. Especially following the Derrick White trade, where he's averaging a staggering 10.3 assists per game. In addition to helping his chances of averaging a triple-double, it could also help San Antonio become a top 10 offense.
Players who average 20 points and 10 assists are exceedingly rare, with Westbrook, Chris Paul, and James Harden being the only active players to have done it. Moreover, those players can drive winning by single-handedly carrying offenses, something that Murray may be able to do in the future.
Can Murray average a triple-double?
In short, yes. Murray can absolutely average a triple-double over a full season. That said, to do so, it would require Murray to elevate his game past his current All-Star level -- Super Saiyan 2, if you will. Fortunately, that's definitely something that he's capable of doing., particularly now that he's the unquestioned number one offensive option.
Also, as Murray continues to improve as a scorer, a passer, and a rebounder, his play will significantly impact the Spurs as they look to build around him.
As a result, it could be a matter of time before Murray averages a triple-double over an entire season, and if he does, the Spurs will be much better for it.