Never expected this one but Dejounte Murray will be an Atlanta Hawk going into next season which has lead to rumors of Gregg Poppovich possibly retiring as a coach. Can’t blame him, I had a outlook of a core 3 of Murray,Primo,and Keldon going forward but it seems like the San Antonio Spurs are gearing up to draft Victor Wembanyama who is supposed to be the best prospect since LeBron James. Right I know we heard the same about Andrew Wiggins coming out of Kansas and also for Zion Williamson who still has a lot of time to prove himself but Victor Wembanyama is a can’t miss prospect and will be a franchise player in the NBA.
As far as the Hawks go they made some noise by knocking out the number 1 defense in the league in the Knicks in the first round followed up by a defeat over Embiid’s Sixers in an intense 7-game series and if not for some health woes for Trae Young they likely defeat Giannis’s Bucks. Here we are after a failed season in which Trae Young was made a non-factor by Miami’s defense in the first round, I predicted the Hawks to at least make the second round this season but as always Trae Young needed help. The Cam Reddish experiment was a fail after so much optimism about his potential but President of Basketball Operations Travis Schlenk is making a difference by acquiring Dejounte Murray. I look back to the Sam Cassell-Gary Payton duo from the Milwaukee Bucks in the early 2000’s and Dejounte and Trae possess similarities to a duo which delivered results during their playing days.
We all know Trae Young is sort of like a Iverson/Nash hybrid but even for as good as Trae has been for the Hawks for the last couple years he hasn’t played with a player like Dejounte Murray who is a true difference maker. No disrespect to Kevin Huerter,John Collins,and Bogdan Bogdanovic but none of those 3 players will ever be capable of being the second or first best player on a true contender in the NBA. Dejounte Murray is the best rebounding point guard in the game and is a very disciplined defender along with being a reliable shooter from all over the floor. Anyone who saw the Hawks win Game 7 in Philadelphia a year ago would realize that Kevin Huerter’s ability to punish Philly’s double teaming of Trae Young was what made the difference. Just look at how deadly Luka Doncic was with guards like Jalen Brunson and Spencer Dinwiddie in the second half of the season leading up to playoffs.
The Mavericks lost in the Conference Finals in 5 games but the backcourt play was not the issue it was more the fact that they received no fronctcourt scoring which newcomer Christian Wood will be sure to patch up going into next season for the Mavericks. At this point Luka Doncic is ahead of Trae Young in terms of player ranking, they have both reached the Conference Finals but with the arrival of Dejounte I don’t see how the Hawks are not legitimate contenders going into next season. Dejounte Murray proved he can carry a team to the playoffs, he was the culprit behind the Spurs’s second half surge which saw the Lakers bumped out of the play-in tournament and the Spurs making a shocking appearance.
We will see how the Hawks fill out the rest of the roster and whether or not John Collins will remain a Hawk but the Murray/Young backcourt could be special. Dejounte and Trae will be a nightmare for opposing defenses being that they can both break their man off the dribble and are both very good playmakers. We saw Marcus Smart transition from a 3 and D guard into a legitimate go to option which opened up the Celtics’s offense going into the second half of this past season after struggles early on. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum had to learn to become more unselfish Trae Young and Dejounte Murray won’t have that problem. They’ve already got it figured out and they have a forward in De’Andre Hunter who also re-signed not too long-ago and will be the recipient of a majority of Trae and Dejounte’s assists next season.
Any deficiencies in Trae Young’s defense will now be covered by Dejounte Murray the same way Klay Thompson has shaded for Stephen Curry through their time together in Golden State. I really like this move by Travis Schlenk and I think it’s his way of saying we are serious about competing for a championship, these are the type of trades you make to make that goal possible. The game is played outside in now and I don’t think we could name a more lethal back-court going forward into next season than Murray and Young aside from obviously Steph and Klay in Golden State but Murray and Young will make their case. They’ll be a 2 headed snake who will take the league by storm together next season and make the Hawks relevant for years to come, till next time.