Dejounte Murray has proven himself to be nearly the perfect San Antonio Spurs player imaginable. He plays with grit and determination, hustles every single play, and is a great leader on the court. He plays exceptionally good defense, and the only issue any fan could have with him is his rather cryptic social media presence.
Unfortunately, like most Spurs, he is consistently disrespected by the national media. He is constantly left out of the top ten point guards conversation and barely makes the top 100 players list, often falling short of even that. So what gives? He is widely considered one of the best two-way players in the league, so why is he not given the respect he deserves?
I’m a diehard Spurs fan, but I also try to be a realist. Luka Doncic, Steph Curry, and Damian Lillard are all miles ahead of Murray on any tier list at this point. While I do believe Murray is one of the top players at his position, he is not at the very top quite yet. That being said, he has made noticeable strides in his game recently, so check back in after another healthy season, especially if he's allowed to take over as the first option.
Murray is not an excellent scorer, averaging just under 16 points per game. While that’s not necessarily a low number, it does rank 22nd in the league for his position. Scoring is one of the most important aspects of a point guard, and Murray doesn’t excel at it at this point. He is rather efficient, though. His field goal percentage of 45% is good enough for the 15th best in the league among point guards.
Outside of scoring, Murray actually does quite well for himself. He is the fourth-best rebounding guard and managed to place 19th in the league in total assists this past season (tying Steph Curry) on a team that was awful at shooting. Defense is where he really shines, as he racks up the 5th most steals out of all point guards. He also ranks 25th in turnovers per game among point guards and is only one of two players in the top 25 that played over 30 minutes per game.
Based on statistics, Murray is certainly a better point guard than advertised. He takes care of the ball on offense, causes mayhem on the defensive end, and he is a good rebounder and playmaker. He managed to score decently well despite being the third or even fourth option at times last season often being behind DeMar DeRozan, Derrick White, and LaMarcus Aldridge.
The San Antonio Spurs and Dejounte Murray are still overlooked
So why does he get constantly disrespected? The fact of the matter is that the Spurs are still often labeled as a boring team. They thrive off the midrange in an era where that shot is forgotten and they have steady rotations that don’t get mixed up often. The national media and the NBA's casual fans write off Murray for no good reason. As of right now, my current rankings of NBA point guards go something like this:
- Steph Curry
- Luka Doncic
- Damian Lillard
- Chris Paul
- Russell Westbrook
- Kyrie Irving
- Dejounte Murray
- Kyle Lowry
- Jamal Murray
- De’Aaron Fox
Yes, I didn’t include Ben Simmons. While he's an All-NBA defender, his performance in the playoffs leads me to believe that he is much worse than advertised. In my mind, Murray clearly ranks ahead of him on this list. If you want to claim that LeBron James is a point guard, I won’t fight you on that. In that case, he’d be number one on this list and everyone else would slide back a spot. Jamal Murray is a very good player, but he benefits heavily from playing with Nikola Jokic. Dejounte Murray, on the other hand, was likely hindered statistically from playing with DeRozan.
Next season, with the Spurs’ young core taking center stage, Murray could easily vault himself into the top five. Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook may be due for a heavy decline soon, and unless Fox takes massive steps, he won’t be passing Murray any time soon.
The national media may have been disrespecting Murray since he entered the league, but if his social media is any indicator, he’ll just use the criticism to fuel his fire.