Spurs: Early data shows Dejounte Murray is the team's closer
By Josh Paredes
In a season full of questions, the San Antonio Spurs seem to be answering an important one in the early stages of the season. While it'll be a season-long process, Dejounte Murray is establishing himself as the go-to guy in crunch time.
The NBA tracks clutch statistics, with the parameters being situations in which a game's score is within a five-point window with five or fewer minutes remaining. Wednesday's loss to the Mavericks had a 94-94 score with five minutes remaining, which gave us all a chance to see who might come up clutch for the Spurs.
By the end of the game, Murray had tallied seven points, two assists, and a steal with the game on the line. While it wasn't quite enough to overcome the Mavericks, it was a welcome sign as the Spurs still look to establish individual identities.
Diving deeper into the data, Murray has played all 20 possible minutes in clutch situations this season. He's the only one to be on the floor for every minute, followed by Devin Vassell with 18. Here's how the early data breaks down in those situations sorted by field goals attempted.
1. Dejounte Murray: 6-of-14, 15 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block
2. Keldon Johnson: 2-of-6, 5 points, 1 assist, 1 rebound, 1 steal
3. Jakob Poeltl: 3-of-5, 7 points, 5 rebounds
4. Derrick White: 1-of-3, 2 points, 2 assists, 1 rebound
Murray has attempted more than twice as many field goals in the clutch as number two on the list, Keldon Johnson. He's also gotten to the line more than anyone else with six attempts, but he's only made half of those. Unfortunately, those misses have been costly.
Still, the stats are promising for the Spurs' point guard. As the season goes on, there will be plenty more chances for Murray to show what he can do with the game on the line. Without DeMar DeRozan or LaMarcus Aldridge to feed the ball to, it's becoming increasingly clear it'll be up to him to make crucial plays.
So far, Dejounte is doing just that.