What does Dejounte Murray have to do to make his first All-Star Game?
Frankly, the best thing that Murray can do to lock in his case for making the All-Star Game is to keep doing what he's been doing. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, and so far there is hardly anyone in the league who can match the impact Murray has on a nightly basis. The list of players averaging 17 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists a night this season is limited to just two players - DJ, and Mr. Triple-Double, Russell Westbrook.
Of the areas of his game that he has made improvements in - and there are a few - it's Murray's improved playmaking that makes the strongest case for his inclusion in the All-Star Game. Murray was a fine playmaker last season but with DeMar DeRozan stepping away, it was his time to step up. He's answered the bell and then some with his management of the Spurs' offense thus far.
In his fifth full season in the NBA, Murray has proven that he's one of the best floor generals the league has to offer. He currently ranks 6th in the NBA in assists per game (8.3) while also averaging fewer turnovers per game (2.2) than anyone ahead of him in assists rankings. The scariest thing is that he can still improve on those numbers.
Murray's also been averaging 15.1 potential assists per game, meaning he's been putting his teammates in plenty of scoring opportunities, but they just haven't translated to the box score. But that should change as the season goes on.
Murray is still building chemistry with teammates such as Doug McDermott - who has missed time - and has also had his assist numbers dampened by the poor shooting performance of Derrick White, a fact that hasn't gone unnoticed by Spurs fans or Murray's father.
Call me a naive optimist, but I don't think White is going to stay cold all season long. That, along with continuing to understand where his new teammates want the ball, should help DJ move a few more of those potential assists to the box score as the season rolls along.
Another thing Murray can do to continue to build his case is continuing to rack up triple-doubles. He's already got one under his belt thanks to a smooth 21/12/15 outing against the Los Angeles Lakers but he could easily have had two more, falling just short of 10 assists on both occasions. As the season goes along, I'm sure he'll continue to add to his total.