Do the San Antonio Spurs have an All-Star in their midst? Well, not currently—but the potential may be there in the form of point guard Dejounte Murray. Regardless, last year was the second year in a row that the Spurs did not make the playoffs. In fact, that had never happened before. So, the debate is as strong as ever about whether the team needs an All-Star ASAP. Let’s take a look at where the team stands now, and what it needs to do to compete.
The Spurs Could Soon Have an All-Star in Dejounte Murray
First of all, let’s talk about Dejounte Murray. This past season, Murray has blown away fans and sports commentators with his remarkable athleticism and his top-notch leadership. And let’s not forget his statistics. With 41 points per game, 8.9 assists per game, and 2.0 steals per game, he is one of the most impressive players in the NBA right now.
Indeed, his fellow players and his coach already believe he is at the All-Star level. Gregg Popovich said, “Like I say after every game, he’s playing All-Star basketball. He would be in consideration if we had a better record. He’s growing by leaps and bounds in every way.”
What Else the Spurs Have: A Developing, Strong Core and a Reliable Process
Right now, Murray is the critical linchpin of the Spurs’ core, but he does not stand on his own. We have also been seeing solid performances from Keldon Johnson, Devin Vassell, Derrick White, and Jakob Poeltl. Lonnie Walker IV and Josh Primo have held their own as well.
Like other NBA teams, the Spurs were hit hard by COVID-19. We can say confidently that had that not been the case, the team would have struggled significantly less. It is all too easy to forget that plain old bad luck has played a major role in the team’s struggles since 2020.
It is true that the Spurs have had a pretty rough go these past few years. But we need to keep in mind that along with this developing core, the team also has the powerful, proven process that has gone into creating it.
Isaac Levy-Rubinett at The Ringer points out, “In San Antonio, trusting the process means nurturing the growth of the players on the roster, rather than bottoming out in pursuit of the no. 1 pick. There are still plenty of questions about the Spurs’ future, but two decades of historic stability buys you more than three bad seasons’ worth of time to come up with the answers.”
There is a tendency to put more weight on recent data when we analyze a team’s performance and prospects. And to a large degree, that does make sense. But Pop’s leadership has been consistent over the lengthier time frame that is up for discussion. So, it stands to reason that it is a consistent factor we need to account for. The Spurs process, by its very nature, is long-term. It takes time to build up a core and find or create an All-Star. So, for that reason, it is important as Levy-Rubinett said to consider the decades of evidence we have in support of the Spurs way.
In Dejounte Murray, the Spurs certainly have the potential for an All-Star. But it is just as much the process that is the star of Spurs basketball. And going by the development we have seen this season, that process is working. It seems entirely realistic that the Spurs can make the playoffs and get back to the previous consistent performance fans have come to expect.