In the annual Silver & Black Open Scrimmage on Thursday, Dejounte Murray showed why his return to the San Antonio Spurs has been so highly anticipated. Although the scrimmage counted even less than a normal preseason game, the smoothness of the 23-year-old’s three-point shooting had the AT&T Center abuzz at the end of the night.
Here’s a look at each of Murray’s three made three-pointers during the scrimmage:
In his young career, Murray has stood out mostly due to his defensive instincts and ability to attack the glass. In the 2017-18 season, he became the youngest player ever to be named to an NBA All-Defense Team. That same season, he was the second best rebounding guard in the league.
Offensively, Murray’s game so far has mostly consisted of attacking the rim or putting up short jumpers or floaters in the paint. So far in his career, 63.9% of his field goal attempts have been within ten feet of the rim.
Dejounte Murray’s Three-Point Shooting So Far
In the Spurs’ first two preseason games, Murray has attempted one three-pointer in each game, making his lone three in the opener against the Orlando Magic. While the sample size is small, considering he averages 0.5 three-point attempts per game for his career, he’s already showing signs that he trusts his outside jumper more than ever before.
Thursday night, Murray got his chance to show he’s more than capable of knocking down shots from the outside. While official statistics weren’t kept for the scrimmage game, SpursTalk’s own LJ Ellis tabulated Murray’s numbers, along with every other participant in the scrimmage.
The 6-foot-5 point guard went a perfect 3-for-3 from beyond the arc for the Silver squad and mixed in some nice driving plays as well. Murray also hit the boards as we’re all accustomed to, pulling down seven to lead all players.
It’s Only a Scrimmage, But…
Yes, of course, a scrimmage featuring only members of one team isn’t exactly the NBA Finals. The proper way to handle Murray’s shooting Thursday should be the same as seeing LaMarcus Aldridge nail three-pointers to open up both of the first two preseason games: We’ll need to see plenty more where that came from before getting too excited.
Still, though, it’s not like the Spurs were human traffic cones out there. Even in a meaningless game, Gregg Popovich would not tolerate All-Star Game level defense as other teams might in these types of situations. Even though we weren’t exactly seeing a bunch of Bruce Bowens and Tim Duncans out there (well, I guess we did technically see one of them), guys were still getting their hands up and making an effort.
Given the work ethic Murray has shown in his effort to return to NBA action following the torn ACL injury he suffered last year in the preseason, there’s no reason to believe he can’t translate his improved shooting to the regular season and beyond. If he’s able to do that, San Antonio has an opportunity to once again make some noise in the reloaded Western Conference.