Thu. Aug 18th, 2022

How will Dejounte Murray fit alongside Trae Young with the Atlanta Hawks?

The Hawks made the biggest addition of the NBA offseason to date on Wednesday, sending three first-round picks – two of them unprotected, by ESPN’s Zach Lowe – and a pick swap to the San Antonio Spurs in exchange for Murray, chosen as an NBA All-Star for the first time last season at age 25.

Having played point guard in San Antonio, Murray will be an interesting fit next to Young in the Atlanta backcourt. An All-Defensive second-team pick in 2017-18, Murray will undoubtedly be an upgrade at that end of the court for a Hawks team that ranked 26th in defensive rating last season – worst of anyone to make the playoffs.

On the other hand, the Spurs are dealing Murray at the peak of his value with two years remaining on his inexpensive contract. San Antonio’s roster is now built around six first-round picks from the past three drafts, including three this year, with more on the way.

Let’s break down what this trade means for both teams.


Hawks get:
Dejounte Murray

Spurs get:
Danilo Gallinari
2023 first-round pick (via Charlotte Hornets)
2025 first-round pick
2027 first-round pick
Future pick swap with Atlanta


Atlanta Hawks: C

Adding Murray will surely revive the age-old question of how the Hawks can utilize Young’s shooting without constantly having the ball in his hands. Young’s 8.7 minutes per game time of possession ranked third highest in the NBA, per Second Spectrum tracking on NBA Advanced Stats; and the 3,730 pick-and-rolls he ran, according to Second Spectrum, were 11% more than the next-highest player (Luka Doncic).

Building a heliocentric offense around Young has produced great regular-season results for Atlanta, which ranked second behind the Utah Jazz in offensive rating in 2021-22. Come playoff time, however, Young struggled as the primary option against the aggressive defense of the Miami Heat, averaging just 15.4 points per game on 32% shooting with more turnovers (31) than assists (30).

Given Young powered the Hawks’ surprising run to the Eastern Conference finals in 2020-21, the question isn’t whether he can succeed in the playoffs. It’s whether putting so much offensive responsibility in his hands maximizes his value to Atlanta against the best defenses. Enter Murray, another high-volume ball handler who ranked sixth overall in pick-and-rolls (2,608) and seventh in time of possession (7.4 MPG).

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