Dejounte Murray

Texas Notes: Rockets, Nowitzki, DeRozan, Murray

The Rockets have opened the 2018/19 season with a 1-5 record, struggling to get in a rhythm offensively and playing lackadaisical defense. They’ve dropped games to the Pelicans, Jazz, Blazers, and two separate contests against the Clippers, with their only win coming against the new-look Lakers.

“Right now, we’re playing like crap,” coach Mike D’Antoni said, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. “We’re just not playing well. You know, I don’t have a whole lot of answers for you now. We’ll look, and we’ll fight it.”

The Rockets took the Warriors to seven games in the Western Conference Finals last spring, finishing with a 65-17 record and cementing themselves as the second best team in the association. Some of their struggles this season could be blamed on Chris Paul‘s suspension or James Harden‘s hamstring injury, but the losses of Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute in free agency have also hurt.

“We’ve lost our swagger and we’re on our heels,” D’Antoni said.

The Rockets’ upcoming schedule has them playing five straight road games, including contests in Brooklyn this Friday, Chicago on Saturday, and Indiana on Monday.

Here are some other notes out of Texas tonight:

  • Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki is expected to be sidelined for weeks as he continues his rehab from left ankle surgery, according to Dwain Price of Mavs.com“We’re still looking at weeks at this point,” Nowitzki said.“I haven’t even started running on the court, I haven’t even started running quick on the treadmill. I’ve just been slowly jogging and seeing how the foot reacts. Unfortunately we’re still talking weeks over days.” Nowitzki underwent surgery in April and hasn’t gone through a full practice session this season.
  • Michael C. Wright of ESPN examines how DeMar DeRozan dealt with being traded and embraced the Spurs, who currently have a 5-2 record on the season. “It took a while for me to get back in that happy place,” DeRozan said, “where I didn’t care about much in the sense of like, ‘Just be happy, man. Just be yourself. Don’t worry about all that other stuff.’
  • Gregg Popovich plans to use Dejounte Murray in a coaching role on the bench this season, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News writes. The idea, according to Popovich, is to make Murray learn and feel part of the group instead of sitting alone in the locker room during games. Murray suffered a torn ACL in the Spurs’ preseason.

Injury Updates: Cousins, Howard, Knight, Murray

Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins is making good progress from his torn left Achilles tendon and will be “integrated into controlled aspects of team practices” in the near future, according to a team release. He is not ready to participate in scrimmages at this point but he will continue off-court strength and conditioning, the release adds. While the news is encouraging, it’s apparent that Cousins won’t see the court any time soon. Golden State will take it slow with its surprise free agent prize to make sure he’s healthy for the postseason. Golden State hasn’t set a timetable for his return. Cousins signed a one-year, $5.3MM pact with the aim of winning a ring before returning to the free agent market.

We have more injury-related news from around the league:

  • Dwight Howard didn’t travel with the Wizards for the start of their five-game road trip, Candace Buckner of the Washington Post tweets. Howard returned to practice last week after suffering a buttocks injury during training camp but has yet to make his Washington debut. It’s possible Howard could rejoin the team during the trip but the fact that he didn’t travel to Portland for the game on Monday night suggests his return is not imminent.
  • Rockets point guard Brandon Knight isn’t close to returning, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reports. Acquired from the Suns in late August, Knight sat out last season after surgery on his left ACL. He then developed an infection after another minor procedure during the offseason that dramatically set back his rehab, according to Feigen. There’s no timetable for Knight’s return. “I feel it’s going well,” Knight said. “Every day I’m working hard to feel like my normal self, to get back to playing, game mode. It’s tough to put a timetable on things. Just going day-by-day and attack each day as best I can and win the day. That’s kind of how I look at it.”
  • Spurs guard Dejounte Murray underwent knee surgery on Friday, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. Murray suffered a torn right ACL during a preseason game and is expected to miss the season.

Spurs Plan To Replace Murray From Within

There’s no sign the Spurs will acquire a point guard via trade or free agency in the aftermath of Dejounte Murray‘s season-ending knee injury, Jabari Young of The Athletic reports.

Murray was diagnosed with a torn right ACL after suffering the knee injury against the Rockets on Sunday. San Antonio is prepared to go into the season with Derrick White, its first-round pick out of Colorado last year, as the starter. White appeared in 17 games in his rookie campaign but the Spurs would prefer to leave veteran Patty Mills on the second unit, Young continues.

Discussions with veteran free agent guard Jamal Crawford did not gain traction, Young adds.

Coach Gregg Popovich wouldn’t commit to White as the starter but that appears to be the path he’ll choose.

“We know what his skills are,” Popovich told Young and other media members. “But we have to wait to see who works with who the best and what seems to fit spacing-wise and how many basketballs we might need at a specific time in a game. But wherever we put Derrick, he’s going to be in the mix someplace.”

White posted solid numbers in the G League last season after recovering from a wrist fracture and continued to fill the stat sheet in summer league play, Spencer Davies of Basketball Insiders notes.

Murray’s strength is defense while White is considered a better shooter. White possesses a better mid-range shot than Murray and has drawn comparisons to former Spurs guard George Hill.

Leaving Mills on the second unit with Marco Belinelli, Davis Bertans, Bryn Forbes, and either Pau Gasol or Jakob Poeltl would be a better fit since he can look to score more often with that group, according to Young.

 

Spurs’ Dejounte Murray Suffers Torn ACL

The Spurs received some very bad news on Monday, as an MRI on Dejounte Murray‘s injured right knee revealed a torn ACL, the team announced in a press release. According to the club, a timeline for Murray’s return will be determined at a later date. However, he seems likely to miss the 2018/19 season, as head coach Gregg Popovich acknowledged today (Twitter link via Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News).

The injury, which occurred during Sunday’s preseason game against the Rockets, is a massive blow for the Spurs. The 22-year-old took over point guard starting duties from Tony Parker last season, and was named to the NBA’s All-Defensive Second Team. With Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Kawhi Leonard no longer members of the Spurs, Murray was being counted on to play a key role at both ends of the court for San Antonio in 2018/19.

[RELATED: The Impact Of A Torn ACL On An NBA Player]

With Murray sidelined, the Spurs figure to lean more heavily on Patty Mills and Derrick White at the point. DeMar DeRozan also figures to assume some ball-handling duties on offense, but none of those players will provide the sort of elite perimeter defense that Murray did.

It has been a rough month so far for the Spurs, who announced over the weekend that first-round pick Lonnie Walker sustained a right medial meniscus tear. Walker, who was scheduled to undergo surgery to repair that injury today, is expected to miss approximately six to eight weeks.

With upwards of a dozen Western Conference teams set to compete for playoff spots in 2018/19, the Spurs have little margin for error as they look to extend their 21-year postseason streak. Murray’s absence will make it even more challenging to secure a top-eight spot in the West.

Spurs Pick Up Dejounte Murray’s Fourth-Year Option

The Spurs have picked up the fourth year option in Dejounte Murray‘s contract, tweets Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. The option is worth $2.3MM for the 2019/20 season.

Murray, 22, appeared in 81 games last season, averaging 8.1 points and 5.7 rebounds in 21.5 minutes per contest. He’s established himself as a premier defender with the Spurs, being named to the NBA’s All-Defensive Second Team last season.

Murray is expected to start at point guard and play alongside DeMar DeRozan in San Antonio’s new-look backcourt this season. The Spurs hold confidence that Murray can take the reins from Tony Parker, who left the team in free agency, and become a permanent starter in the league. San Antonio will need his production to have a chance at competing with elite Western Conference teams such as the Warriors, Rockets and Thunder.

Murray was drafted with the 29th overall pick in 2016 after spending one year in college with Washington. He’s entering his third season with the team this fall.

The Spurs will also need to make 2019/20 option decisions on Jakob Poeltl and Derrick White before the October 31 deadline.

Spurs Notes: DeRozan, Murray, Aldridge, Ginobili

Shooting guard DeMar DeRozan says he’s more motivated than he’s ever been in his career, as he told NBA.com in a TV interview. DeRozan was highly agitated when the Raptors traded him away to the Spurs and while he claims he’s over the disappointment, he feels he has something to prove while moving to the Western Conference. “I treated my whole summer workout with that motivation, that chip on my shoulder. It’s making me more anxious to get out there and play,” he said.

In other news around the Spurs:

  • Coach Gregg Popovich said during the team’s annual media day on Monday that Dejounte Murray is up for the challenge of becoming the team’s next standout point guard, Madalyn Mendoza of the San Antonio Express News writes. “He really wants to be good, he really wants to be to the team what Tony (Parker) was to the team,” Popovich said. “I’m confident he’ll do that as time goes on.” Murray’s ability to push the ball will force the tempo and challenge his teammates, Popovich adds. “Other players will have to run like they’ve never run before because he’s going to go,” Popovich said. “And if they want to ball they’ll have to run with him.”
  • LaMarcus Aldridge is glad the Kawhi Leonard saga is over and doesn’t want to rehash it, Michael Bolin of 247Sports relays. “It’s obviously gone now. If you are gonna ask questions about that whole thing, I’m not going to answer it,” the veteran power forward said. “We are happy to turn the page.”
  • Popovich took recently retired guard Manu Ginobili on his annual coaches’ retreat last week, ESPN’s Michael C. Wright tweets. Ginobili revealed earlier this month that Popovich tried to talk him into playing for another season.

NBA Announces 2017/18 All-Defensive Teams

The NBA has officially announced its 2017/18 All-Defensive First and Second Teams, with Defensive Player of the Year candidates Rudy Gobert and Anthony Davis headlining the First Team.

Gobert led the way in voting, receiving 94 of 100 potential First Team votes. He also received four Second Team votes, and was left off of just two ballots, earning him 192 total points (two points per First Team vote; one point per Second Team vote). It’s his second All-Defensive First Team nod.

[RELATED: NBA Announces 2017/18 All-Rookie Teams]

As Bobby Marks of ESPN notes (via Twitter), the All-Defensive recognition will pay off financially for Gobert, who earns a $500K bonus as a result of his spot on the First Team. Meanwhile, Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday will receive a more modest $100K bonus for being named to the All-Defensive First Team.

Here are the full voting results for the All-Defensive First and Second Teams, with each player’s point total noted in parentheses:

First Team

  • Rudy Gobert, C, Jazz (192)
  • Anthony Davis, F/C, Pelicans (163)
  • Victor Oladipo, G, Pacers (136)
  • Jrue Holiday, G, Pelicans (105)
  • Robert Covington, F, Sixers (90)

Second Team

Rockets point guard Chris Paul (74 points) and Thunder forward Paul George (69) narrowly missed earning spots on the All-Defensive Second Team. A total of 29 other players received at least one vote, led by Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson.

You can find the full voting results right here.

Southwest Notes: Pelicans, Hill, Evans, Murray

While the Pelicans have missed Solomon Hill on the court this season, there’s a silver lining to his lengthy injury absence, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks observes. Hill’s contract includes a bonus for playing more than 1,000 minutes this season, an incentive that had been considered “likely” because he achieved it last year.

However, he won’t reach that threshold this season, so his cap hit will be reduced by approximately $489K, and that money won’t count for luxury-tax purposes at season’s end. That will give New Orleans additional breathing room below the tax line in the event that the team wants to make more roster moves in the coming weeks. Hill’s cap hits in future seasons will also be reduced slightly, since that playing-time bonus will now be considered “unlikely” going forward.

Here’s more from around the Southwest division:

  • Pelicans star Anthony Davis almost certainly won’t win this season’s MVP award, but he deserves to be in the conversation, writes Rod Walker of The Advocate.
  • After undergoing an MRI for a rib injury on Sunday, Tyreke Evans has been ruled out of the Grizzlies‘ lineup for Monday’s game (Twitter links). According to Michael Wallace of Grizzlies.com (Twitter link), the MRI showed slight cartilage damage, and Evans is considered day-to-day. “We’re not expecting it to be a long absence,” head coach J.B Bickerstaff said. “He’s had this injury before. So we expect to see him back soon.”
  • With Tony Parker averaging a career-low 20.6 minutes per game and Kawhi Leonard appearing in just nine contests this season, the Spurs have had to lean on other players, including Dejounte Murray. The second-year point guard has been a starter since January 21, averaging 26.2 minutes per game since then. Michael C. Wright of ESPN takes an in-depth look at Murray, exploring whether he has the potential to become one of the next great Spurs.

Tony Parker Cedes Starting Role To Dejounte Murray

The time has come for Spurs guard Tony Parker, as the 17-year vet has officially lost his starting role in San Antonio. Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News writes that Parker has ceded his spot in the first-unit to second-year point guard Dejounte Murray.

Gregg Popovich told me he thought it was time,” Parker said. “Just like Manu Ginobili, just like Pau Gasol, you know that day is going to come. If Pop sees something that is good for the team, I will try to do my best… I will support Pop’s decision.

Parker has started 1,151 regular season games over the course of his career, with career averages of 16.1 points and 5.8 assists per game. This year, in 21.7 minutes per game, he has posted averages of 8.0 points and 4.0 assists.

In 14 starts for the Spurs already this season, the 21-year-old Murray has averaged 8.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists per contest.

Despite the lingering absence of star forward Kawhi Leonard, the Spurs have managed to stay competitive in the West. Even after having lost six of their last 10 games, San Antonio sits tied for third in the conference.

Spurs Notes: Parker, Murray, Simmons, Aldridge

Veteran point guard Tony Parker remains on assignment with the Austin Spurs in the G League for now, as he continues to rehab his quadriceps injury. However, he is inching closer to a return.

Addressing his recovery timeline today, Parker said he remains on track to get back in the Spurs’ lineup by late November, according to Jabari Young of The San Antonio Express-News (Twitter link). Parker added that he could play now, but he and the Spurs are being cautious and taking it slow.

Dejounte Murray‘s solid play at point guard to open the regular season gives the Spurs the flexibility to be even more cautious with Parker, since there’s no need to rush him back. Head coach Gregg Popovich indicated this week though that the play of Murray and the rest of San Antonio’s backcourt won’t have an impact on Parker’s return date, one way or the other.

“Tony will come back when he’s ready,” Popovich said, per Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. “It’s got nothing to do with anybody else.”

Here’s more on the Spurs:

  • With Murray playing well as the Spurs’ starting point guard, Parker was asked about the possibility of coming off the bench when he returns, as Young relays. Parker’s response? “Right now, I’m not even thinking about that. Right now, I just want to come back and play.”
  • He’s no longer a member of the Spurs, but Jonathon Simmons – who signed with the Magic in the summer – still raves about everything he learned during his two seasons in San Antonio. John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com has the details, with the quotes from Simmons.
  • After being the subject of trade rumors for much of the year, LaMarcus Aldridge unexpectedly reached an agreement on a contract extension with the Spurs earlier this month. Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post takes a closer look at how Aldridge and the Spurs mended their relationship, leading to the big man’s new deal.