San Antonio Spurs point guard Dejounte Murray will be coming into the 2021-2022 season with a chip on his shoulder and the motivation necessary to make a big statement. After the departure of Patty Mills, Murray is now the longest-tenured Spurs player and will surely be taking on a leadership role that fans have yet to see.
Although the Spurs shocked the world by selecting Josh Primo in the 2021 NBA Draft, over the past several seasons, they've managed to compile an interesting group of young players. Devin Vassell had some flashes of greatness in his rookie season, Luka Samanic looks like he's been putting in work in the weight room, and Keldon Johnson is coming off of a gold medal performance at the Tokyo Olympics.
Recently, I took a stab at predicting Lonnie Walker's stats this coming season, and this time around, I'll be doing the same for Murray. Without further ado, these are the stats I'll be expecting from Murray this coming season.
Dejounte Murray will average 23 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists per game on 46/36/82 shooting splits with the San Antonio Spurs
While I noted in my assessment of Walker that my expectations of him are a bit more on the realistic side (despite a noticeable improvement), I have high expectations for Murray. He'll be coming off of an offseason that was full of trade rumors involving Murray, among others, and he appears to be invigorated now that he'll be fully in charge of the team.
Seeing that Murray has managed to improve in one way or another virtually every season, even after recovering from a torn ACL, I expect the same from him this coming season.
A significant portion of his improvement will likely be attributed to an increase in sheer usage now that DeMar DeRozan won't be in the starting lineup. I expect Murray to be involved in the offense much more often, whether that be as a scorer or as a facilitator. In that way, I'm expecting particularly strong improvements in both his scoring and assist numbers.
Murray is already a very strong rebounder for his position and, although I could see him grabbing more boards as well, I think that Keldon Johnson entering the starting lineup could cause him to slightly stagnate. I highly doubt he grabs significantly fewer boards, but I don't see him improving much either.
Generally speaking, the most obvious weakness in Murray's game up to this point has been his three-point shooting. He's a career 33% three-point shooter and only shot about 32% from beyond the arc this past season. This is where I anticipate the biggest improvement from Murray. I don't necessarily expect Murray to drastically improve his overall field goal efficiency with his increased usage, but if he's been working on his outside shot this offseason, I don't see any reason why he wouldn't improve.
In his time in the league, Murray has improved as a finisher, a midrange shooter, and a free-throw shooter. These are all encouraging signs that he should be able to become a better three-point shooter as well. To be blunt, I don't think that Murray will ever become an elite 40% three-point shooter, but if he can even reach the league average, the rest of his offensive game will open up tremendously. I predict that he'll jump to nearly 36% from three this coming season.
Overall, based on his mentality and proven ability to improve from past seasons, I have very high expectations of Murray.