As the local media got our first chance to hear from Dejounte Murray, whom the Spurs had just drafted out of Washington with the 29th pick, we heard a familiar voice on the other end wrapping up a congratulatory call to the 19-year-old, a fellow who was a rather notable first-round pick himself as a teenager 13 years ago.
It turns out that Murray chose Rich Paul to be his agent, so Paul had his most famous client reach out to welcome the youngster into the NBA.
"You might not have felt like you landed where you wanted, but you're going to one of the best organizations in the NBA, man," James relayed to Murray, who fell further down the draft than most people expected.
Understandably, after taking a phone call from the best player on the planet, speaking to a bunch of faceless sportswriters probably felt underwhelming to Murray, especially after he already did a round of interviews in Brooklyn already. In proper Spurs fashion the rook wasn't overly expansive in his answers, sticking mostly to script and saying his best attribute was that he makes his teammates better and that he's looking forward to being coached hard by Pop.
More interesting was Spurs General Manager R.C. Buford, who was nice enough to give us some time as the second round (in which the Spurs had no pick, giving up to the Kings last year for Ray McCallum) was wrapping up.
Here's that Q&A:
So why Dejounte?
RC: We thought he was a pretty good player sitting on the board when we picked. He's young, obviously there isn't a lot of history to make the selection on, but he's a pretty supreme talent and a guy who our expectations were to go a lot higher and as we worked through the draft we were at a point in time where the group we liked was pretty small, and he had been the head of that group for the whole preparation process.
Why do you think he fell down?
RC: I have no idea. They didn't call me, asking who they should pick. But you know, he's young, their team had two really good players on it that were in this draft and we'll get our hands on him here soon. We didn't have him for a workout. They [his camp] had really limited the exposure they had for him so we didn't get him in to get to know him like we might have some other players, but with the age of our team, adding a young kid with some extensive athletic ability and the ability to grow, I don't think there's any expectations that he's going to come in and catch our world on fire, but we like the opportunity to grow.
Where did you interview him?
RC: We actually went into Cleveland and met with him at his agent's office. We flew in to meet with him.
When did you first see him play?
RC: Some of our scouts had seen him prior to when he first went to the University of Washington, but over the course of the year we saw him several times. In the Bahamas, during one of the early-season tournaments, one of our scouts went there, I saw him play a couple of times in the [Pac-12], we had people around that group all the time.
What skills of his stood out to you?
RC: He's an athletic guard. He's pretty good in transition. He needs help finishing and from a shooting standpoint he's gotta get a lot more consistent and disciplined, but this is a developmental piece so we'll get him into our building and we'll know a lot more about him after the summer.
Was point guard a need or was Murray a "best player available" pick?
RC: I don't know that we can go after a need. I think we were searching for talent that we felt fit us that we could help build and grow in our chemistry and our culture and then youth for our group is going to be important as we transition for the future.
Is he a combo guard?
RC: We'll find out. He's got good size for either position.
LeBron called him during our call and said he's going to join the best organization in the world...
RC: LeBron's joining the best organization in the world? We gotta clear some space!
No, LeBron told Dejounte that Dejounte will be joining the best organization in the world...
RC: Oh, thanks for clarifying.
Will he be available to play for Summer League?
RC: We'll have him here with our group soon. We'll have to work through the sequencing of contracts and I would imagine that will have an impact on when we get things done, so if the structure of the rest of our roster will impact our ability to sign a lot of players...
Did you make any calls about moving up?
RC: You make millions of calls and yes those calls were going on over the last 10 days. They get more serious today. This draft was one of the more difficult ones to figure out because there were so many teams ahead of us where we had no clarity who was in control of the pick and what was engaged with it in other places, so, when you had #19 as the third pick for Denver and #22 ended up being a multiple pick for Sacramento, #23 was a multiple pick for Boston, #24 and #26 with Philly, #27 was the second pick for Toronto and #28 ended up being another pick for Sacramento, so those were all changing hands and there were a lot of discussions but at the end of the day there was a very limited number of players that we would've tried to move up for and fortunately one of them came to us.