Future Watch: Dejounte Murray Basketball Cards, Spurs – The 2018-19 season will be a transition year for Spurs fans. They still have a solid shot of earning a playoff seed in the Western Conference, but their opening night roster will look a lot different. Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and Tony Parker left the team this offseason, and Manu Ginobli is debating retirement. Spurs fans know they are in good hands with the coach and front office, and they’ll be excited to cheer on the development of the team’s young backcourt. Point Guard Dejounte Murray, drafted in 2016 from the University of Washington, could take a big step forward this year.
Murray was ranked as the 43rd high school recruit in his class. He hit the ground running for the Huskies. He was named second team All-Pac 12 and averaged 16 points, six rebounds and 4.5 assists per game as a freshman. Washington didn’t fare too well in the regular season, going only 19-15 with a very young roster. Still, Murray made a name for himself and caught they eyes of scouts at the next level. He would declare himself eligible for the NBA draft at the conclusion of his freshman year.
Standing 6’5” with a 6’9” wingspan, scouts saw Murray as capable of playing and defending both guard positions at the next level. His greatest strengths as a prospect came in open court situations where he could push the ball in transition and work his way into the paint. His body control and confidence allow him to play above the rim and attack the basket. While he isn’t much of a dunker, he has a good floater in traffic. Murray was given a lot of freedom for the Huskies, and he was a bit turnover prone at times. He also struggled with his outside shot, hitting 29% of his college three-point attempts.
On draft night, Murray was selected with the 29th overall pick by the Spurs. He played in 38 games as a rookie, starting in eight of them. He averaged 8.5 minutes per night with 3.4 points, 1.3 steals and 1.1 rebounds. Despite the low minutes per night average, Murray saw significant minutes in a few games as a rookie and did his best to make his mark. In a 118-104 win against Denver, Murray scored 24 points with two rebounds and two assists in 34 minutes. That year, Tony Parker would be injured for the playoffs and Murray saw some decent run in their match-up with the Warriors. In four games, he averaged 21.8 minutes along with 8.3 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 3.0 steals.
Murray took a nice step forward in his second season. He played in 81 games, starting in 48. He averaged 21.5 minutes with 8.1 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.2 steals. His (arguably) best game came against Cleveland in a 114-102 win on January 23rd. That night Murray scored 19 points along with 10 rebounds, three assists and seven steals. In the playoffs, he averaged 7.8 points, 4.2 boards, 1.8 assists and 1.0 steals in five games. After the season, Murray was named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team.
This season should give Murray an opportunity to develop his game even further. DeMar DeRozan will need his shots, as will LaMarcus Aldridge. Murray has shown he can make an impact even if he isn’t getting shots. His defense will keep him on the court even if his shot isn’t falling. Developing a reliable three-point shot will have to be a priority for him moving forward. Still, there’s a lot to love about Murray’s game and if he takes a step forward collectors will take notice.
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