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San Antonio Spurs: The Murray-White backcourt deserves time to flourish

Dejounte Murray Derrick White
Dejounte Murray Derrick White / Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
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Dejounte Murray / Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

The San Antonio Spurs would be boneheaded to trade Murray now.

The harbinger of Spurs culture among the team’s younger players, Dejounte Murray has given nothing less than his all since he was drafted by San Antonio in 2016. After slipping to the 29th pick because of questions about his character, Murray has silenced his doubters with sensational two-way effort, tireless work ethic, and a standup attitude.

It’s not always easy for a strong defender to stick out on a poor defensive team, but Murray’s effort is felt every time he steps on the court. As you may have guessed, Dejounte led the Spurs with 1.5 steals per game in the 2020-21 season. His active hands never rest, leading to 193 deflections, which was seventh in the league and fourth amongst point guards last season. Additionally, the 25-year-old finished third among all guards in total rebounds on the year (473), at an average of 7.1 boards per game.

Offensively, Murray set career-highs with 15.7 points and 5.4 assists per game. After teetering close to the milestone several times before, Dejounte broke through the glass ceiling and recorded four triple-doubles on the year. Along the way, he set single-game career-highs in points, assists, rebounds, steals, and field goals. If you still don’t believe me, Dejounte finished third among point guards in D-LEBRON* from B-Ball Index.

Dejounte’s improvements were shown across the board in the 2020-21 season. His contract is favorable, he’s dedicated to the Spurs’ way, and he’s built on his progress every year of his career. Unless the team is moving him for a bonafide superstar, there’s no logical reason to move Murray without actively tanking.

*D-LEBRON (Luck-adjusted player Estimate using a Box prior Regularized ON-Off) uses advanced calculations to determine a defender’s impact on their team.