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Friday, January 27, 2017

Dejounte Murray Takes the Reins

Posted By on Fri, Jan 27, 2017 at 2:00 PM

click to enlarge SCREENSHOT, @SPURS
  • screenshot, @spurs
In the NBA, injuries can sometimes translate into opportunities for young players trying to crack a tight rotation. When six-time All-Star Tony Parker was sidelined last week, due to pain in his left foot, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich handed the offensive reins over to 20-year-old rookie Dejounte Murray, who quickly seized the moment.

After being listed as inactive in the previous two contests,
Murray went off for a career-high 24 points against the Denver Nuggets, becoming the youngest Spur to reach that mark in a regular season game. Murray followed that up with 14 points versus the Cavaliers in Cleveland, in a nationally televised overtime win where his full game was on display.

Murray began the week with a quiet night in Brooklyn against the Nets, but bounced back with 11 points in a victory over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday. The Spurs are 6-0 with Murray in the starting lineup this season, which is one win away from Parker’s 7-0 start in 2001. Parker is listed as probable for tonight’s away game versus Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans.
Although Murray’s emergence on the NBA stage has been a welcome surprise, it falls in line with his numbers in Austin for the D-League Spurs. He is averaging 17 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists in 13 appearances with the Austin Spurs this season. Like Kyle Anderson and Jonathon Simmons before him, Murray appears to be making full use of his D-League experience, as he become more and more familiar with the intricacies of I-35.

With Parker back in the rotation and Patty Mills playing at
a high level, additional jaunts to Austin may be in Murray’s immediate future. For now, Murray has proven that he can compete at the NBA level and is a reliable option at the point guard position should further injuries arise. Not bad for the 29th pick in the draft.

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