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Spurs 50 for 50, Number 35: Dejounte Murray

The countdown continues with another late-first-rounder that turned himself into an All-Star in San Antonio.

2022 NBA All-Star - All Star Practice Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images

This year the Spurs are celebrating their 50th season in San Antonio. There have been many highs and a few lows. One trademark of the San Antonio Spurs has been their culture and consistency. The keys to those qualities lie in their players. Always noted for development as well as being ahead of the curve on scouting international players, the Spurs way has made them one of the most successful organizations of all time. As we look back on the Silver and Black, we recognize the top 50 players in franchise history. Each day, we will move up the countdown.

35 - Dejounte Murray

The San Antonio Spurs have a practically unmatched player development track record over the last couple of decades, with a handful of overlooked prospects turning into certified steals. Dejounte Murray became the latest addition of that collection, going from the 29th pick of the 2016 NBA Draft to a first-time NBA All-Star within six seasons.

Like Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Kawhi Leonard, no one expected the Washington alumnus to become the face of the franchise. Though Murray had to prove he deserved rotational minutes the same as every youngster has under Gregg Popovich, he would also have to overcome a devastating preseason ACL tear that kept him sidelined for a year.

Despite briefly forfeiting his spot in the starting five upon returning to the court, Dejounte would watch his per-game numbers flourish each year as he gradually regained his burst and confidence. After taking a backseat to DeMar DeRozan, San Antonio finally handed him the keys to their offense, and he responded with a barrage of triple-doubles.

The Silver and Black found another diamond in the rough. But PATFO had to decide between trading Murray or possibly wallowing in mediocrity and losing him for nothing once his team-friendly extension ended. Though he never brought a title to the 2-1-0, Dejounte bridged the gap between two eras of Spurs basketball and triggered a much-needed rebuild.

Next up: A dynamite personality who never quite meshed with The Admiral in the 2-1-0.

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