It's NBA Free Agency Eve, and there's a palpable buzz around the league as 30 teams prepare to dump all that sweet new-TV-deal cash onto a hungry market of players. And although the Spurs' chances at nabbing a Kevin Durant or Al Horford appear less than likely, it's easy to still get caught up in the excitement of all the moving and shaking.
There are plenty of questions surrounding the 2016-17 Spurs roster, and one of them is around the newest member of the team, 19-year-old Dejounte Murray, whose potential came up in a Google chat between myself and PtR Managing Editor J.R. Wilco.
We were prompted by a exceptionally in-depth article written by Kyle Templeton, a Spurs and Washington Huskies fan, who probably followed Murray's game more closely than anyone else on the planet. (Feel free to check out his magnum opus here.) Templeton considers Murray a flawed prospect at best, and his points about the guard's shot selection and turnovers were the starting point for some the conversation.
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Bruno Passos: Well, hopefully Kyle's not entirely right about Murray.
J.R. Wilco: What we have to remember is that there is a reason he fell to 29. End of the first round equals damaged or overlooked goods. And we know he wasn't overlooked, so that means that he's damaged.
But honestly, comparisons to Cory Joseph or Austin Rivers are fine. When you don't trade up, you get what you get. If he's no more than a replacement for Joseph, it'll be a successful draft. At least, for a 29th pick it will.
But what the article doesn't note is that if Murray won't play defense, he won't play. And if he doesn't cut out the bad shots, then he'll get benched. He'll learn the Spurs way, or he'll become an afterthought. A non-entity. An Austin Daye.
BP: And hopefully LeBron being in his ear will help.
JRW: I wonder how much time he will actually get from LeBron.
BP: I think I'm most worried about how high his dribble is since its not a trait I'm used to seeing upgraded that drastically. His handle is pretty wild, even for a raw prospect. Many of his highlight plays from college I just don't see working in the NBA because of defenders stripping him
JRW: A high dribble is death in the NBA.
JRW: So you're saying that's a problem that's difficult to correct. I agree. But PATFO took him. So they must have some idea of being able to address it.
BP: Totally. I just see that as being his biggest obstacle maybe. His shot release actually looks OK.
JRW: And the floater is already well in place.
BP: Plus, his turnovers don't bother me. He's usually trying to make a creative play -- which is fine since you're a college kid getting paid nothing.
JRW: And getting next to no coaching. Sure, they're TO's of the good variety. "You" turnovers. Not "me" turnovers. Not all. But enough of them.
BP: Totally. Manu-esque, kinda. He was a great value pick, either way, although Deyonta Davis would've been interesting, too.
JRW: And we don't know how much of the forced shots were Coach Romar telling him to be aggressive. To score.
BP: I mean, there is a scenario here where he learns efficiency from Tony Parker and shooting from Chip Engelland and becomes really good.
JRW: Decision-making, too.
BP: Also, I've sold myself on Ioannis Bourousis (San Antonio being one of the teams rumored to be interested in the Greek center) and will be sad if he doesn't join the Spurs.
JRW: The man is 32 years of age, Bruno.
BP: He's got raaaange.
JRW: He's also got NBA phobia. He likes playing in Greece. I doubt he will ever come to the States.
BP: Doesn't he also regret not joining the Spurs in 2009, though? His passing is also very Spurs-y.
JRW: I refuse to be hijacked into getting excited about his skills again. He didn't come to San Antonio the last time. And he's not going to now.
BP: Haha. I didn't know anything about it last time. I'm the naive younger sibling that doesn't remember all the times dad forgot his brothers' birthdays.
JRW: Ha! That's perfect.
BP: I'm just looking forward to some free agency madness at this point anyway.
JRW: If only it could be as big as last summer's was.