Dejounte Murray has quietly done something that only one San Antonio Spurs point guard has EVER done.
On Monday in the Spurs' 101-97 win over the Toronto Raptors, Murray pulled down an astounding 14 rebounds. In the Spurs' previous game against the Chicago Bulls, Murray hauled in 10 rebounds.
That's two double-digit rebounding performances by a Spurs point guard in the first three games.
Only one other time in FRANCHISE HISTORY has a Spurs point guard had multiple double-digit rebounding performances in the same season. Rod Strickland had two double-digital rebounding games in the 1989-1990 season.
Murray already has two such performances in the first three games of the season.
He certainly impressed Gregg Popovich in the season-opener against the Minnesota Timberwolves when it came to rebounding. Pop was wired for sound and ESPN caught this exchange:
If you didn't see the video, here's what Pop had to say:
One thing I can tell you is that all of us are rebounding under the net. They're a little longer down there than we are and we've gotta block them out away from that bucket. But we're just going to the net. That's tough.
And then Murray chimes in:
Guards gotta help too.
Pop then praises the youngster for his insight:
That's a great idea, DJ! That's coaching right there!
It's a little early to declare that Murray has made "the leap" to become a great player but his development has advanced significantly in the offseason. And Tony Parker's injury is giving him a chance to shine.
"I'm just getting better. Coming to the NBA, you've gotta learn and you gotta take your time. I'm a guy that wants to learn and get better every day," Murray said in a postgame interview on Fox Sports Southwest. "Off the floor, I'm just learning, watching film, asking questions, and just getting better every single day."
The Spurs have certainly needed these Murray performances, especially on the boards, with Kawhi Leonard out with an injury. He's not just there to eat up minutes, he's become a solid contributor and even a leader.
Watch Murray be the one to pull LaMarcus Aldridge away from an altercation with Serge Ibaka late in the 4th quarter and then give Pop a stiff-arm so that he can talk LA down:
Dejounte Murray hit Pop with the "I got this." following LaMarcus Aldridge and Serge Ibaka's altercation. 😳😂pic.twitter.com/7aFzb8gfCM— Leading NBA (@LeadingNBA) October 24, 2017
And the way Murray has played to start the season makes the Spurs look like geniuses. Given how Murray played in the playoffs last season when pressed into action after Parker's injury, some felt that the Spurs needed to sign a veteran point guard this past offseason.
Everyone (including us) got excited about Kyle Lowry showing interesting in coming to San Antonio. Here are the competing stat lines for tonight's game:
Murray: 16 points (6-12 shooting), 14 rebounds, 6 assists
Lowry: 8 points (3-11 shooting), 2 rebounds, 3 assists
And Lowry doesn't have the excuse of having Kawhi guard him through parts of this game.
Murray looks great, and the Spurs look smart. We'll see if he can keep it up as the competition gets wise to his game and he has to face the elite teams in the Western Conference as the starter before Parker returns from injury.