San Antonio Spurs Traded Dejounte Murray
The San Antonio Spurs have traded Dejounte Murray, their young starting point guard, to the Atlanta Hawks. This move comes as a bit of a surprise, as Murray was seen as one of the team’s brightest young stars. Why did they make this move? Let’s take a closer look.
In this year’s free agency we are noticing a trend. Many teams are trading great players for draft capital. Now, this isn’t an unusual thing, but it’s happening so often that we need to ask ourselves: Why is this happening? Why trade players that can be so useful for your team this year for draft capital? Well, that answer is pretty obvious. With the NBA having so many talented teams this year, a team without at least a top-tier all-star rather get an earlier pick in next season’s NBA draft. But why this draft specifically? What is so special about it?
Many teams are trading away top-tier talent for draft capital also, like the Houston Rockets, who traded away Christian Wood in exchange for draft picks. The Oklahoma Thunder have a good amount of picks going into this year’s draft as well. The Pistons traded away jerami Grant, and the Indiana Pacers traded away Malcolm Brogdan after trading away Domantas Sabonis last season, entering a rebuild. So the Spurs are far from the only team competing for the coveted number one selection in next year’s draft.
The San Antonio Spurs made a trade this past week with the Atlanta Hawks where they traded Dejounte Murray in exchange for three first-round draft picks and Danilo Gallinari. At first glance, this trade made absolutely no sense. Why trade a young all-star who is potentially the future of your team? I’ll tell you why!
Next year’s NBA draft has a name that has been looked at for years. Victor Wembanyama. Wembanyama is a seven-foot-two center from France who plays for the Metropolitans 92 of the LNB Pro A. Standing at over seven-foot Wembanyama is an excellent interior defender, which is what he displayed in the U19 FIBA World Cup where his team went against team USA in the gold medal game. He shined as a help-defender and any guard on the floor had to look out for where he was, and if they didn’t Wembanyama contested it so well that it was almost impossible to score on him.
Okay fine, he is a great interior defender, but how hard is that to be at seven feet? Well, that’s not all, Wembanyama is also an excellent perimeter defender and can guard all positions on the court. He made sure to show opposing players that the step-back is useless against him as he uses his length to swat the ball out of the air.
Wembanyama has a seven-foot-nine wingspan. Seven-foot-nine! That is absolutely insane. When drafted, he will have the second-largest out of all NBA players behind Mo Bamba of the Orlando Magic. Wembanyama has elite defensive skills both interior and perimeter due to his mobility and athleticism as well as his size.
When Wembanyama goes up for a dunk, his eyes go above the rim. Imagine him in a pick-and-roll scenario and he gets that high up. Nobody will be able to get that high to even contest it! He is also a lob threat which is a problem for opposing defenders, especially on the pick-and-roll.
Alright, so he is a great defender, but what’s stopping teams from playing him as they do Rudy Gobert, by playing small-ball lineups? Well, that won’t work because Wembanyama is also a great volume shooter and floor spacer. So if an opposing team has a seven-foot center on him, he can play the perimeter also! So How do you stop him? Well, that is something opposing coaches will have to figure out when the time comes because in the Euroleague they haven’t figured it out yet.
He is also great at moving off the ball and can shoot the three pretty well. Besides, maybe Chet Holmgren who was recently drafted, and Kevin Durant, how many seven-footers can handle the ball, space the floor, shoot the lights out and play incredible defense in both the paint and on the perimeter? Wembanyama is a true unicorn prospect that has potentially one of the highest ceilings in NBA history!
Besides Zion Williamson and LeBron James, we have never seen a prospect so hyped up and maybe you don’t know his name now, but in a year from now he will be the consensus number one draft pick, barring any major injuries of course, and the world will know his name.
This is why the Spurs traded Dejounte Murray for draft capital. They see Wembanyama’s potential as a future superstar and they are trying to join the many teams fighting to be able to acquire the number one pick to draft this generational talent. If Victor Wembanyama isn’t drafted first overall, it could potentially end up being one of the biggest draft steals of all time.
What does this mean for Dejounte Murray though?
Dejounte Murray will now team up with Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks got themselves a great addition in Dejounte Murray. He excels where Trae Young lacks – the defensive side of the ball. Trae Young is an impeccable offensive player and he has a bright future in this league for sure, but he heavily lacks on defense. Murray is a solid defender who will compliment Trae very well.
Are the Hawks a championship team now? Probably not, but they are getting closer and they aren’t done yet in free agency. A big name going around in trade rumors is John Collins and if the Hawks can bring in some more star talent, they might be able to make a run at the title.
John Collins and Clint Capela is a very enticing package and someone I could see them getting for this package is DeAndre Ayton in a Sign-and-trade deal with the Phoenix Suns. Ayton has emerged as a top-tier big man in the NBA and for some unknown reason, the Suns don’t want to pay him what he deserves so it’s very likely he will leave Phoenix. pairing Trae and Dejounte with a guy like Ayton is huge and can have them competing for years to come as they are all under 25 years old. This could truly end up becoming a Hawks dynasty if a trade like this were to occur.