SA Spurs: Dejounte Murray’s breakout season is fueled by his drive to lead

San Antonio Spurs Dejounte Murray
San Antonio Spurs Dejounte Murray / Ronald Cortes/GettyImages
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San Antonio Spurs Dejounte Murray / Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

Once a non-shooter, Dejounte's jumper is now clean and consistent

In a league that values 3-point shooting over perimeter defense, Murray’s shooting stroke has been the point of contention that prevented him from reaching the next level for several years. The fact of the matter is that he was not a natural shooter upon entering the league, and while he’s posted decent percentages in the past, Dejounte has never done it with the volume he has today.

After increasing his 3-point attempts by 1.3 from his third season to his fourth, Murray’s percentage dropped off by 5.2%. Earlier in his career, Dejounte’s shooting motions weren’t always fluid. He was inconsistent with his release point and oftentimes shifted his feet before launching a shot, therefore disrupting the shooting motion. 

That doesn’t seem to be as much of an issue any longer with the 25-year-old routinely releasing his jumper at a point that’s difficult for other guards to contest thanks to his length and fluid motion. While entering the shooting motion, Murray has begun raising his elbows higher and releasing his shot more quickly than in years past.

By releasing his shot faster with his hands and elbows ready, Murray is shooting 38.7% from deep on 4.4 attempts per game in his last eight games. He’s making more of an impact away from the ball by developing into a steady catch-and-shoot threat beyond the arc. His catch-and-shoot 3-point percentage is up 3.1% from last season, and he looks confident doing it.

It's not just 3-point shooting either—Dejounte Murray has firmly established himself as one of the sport's most deadly mid-range shot creators. He must've taken a thing or two from DeMar DeRozan because he went from being a pure slasher to a mid-range assassin after 'Deebo' came to town.

Though he's not going to light up the All-Star 3-Point Competition any time soon, Dejounte's growth in his most criticized area has been a sight for sore eyes; and one that places him in the Most Improved Player conversation.