If you didn’t catch the August 2nd question responses, you can read them here. For this August 12th edition, the first three responses will be free and the last three will be for Project Spurs premium members. Let’s get to the questions!
No 1. @Kreese2121 – Derrick White controls the offense so well in the halfcourt, but not incredibly fast, while Dejounte Murray is a blur in transition and less polished in the halfcourt. Do you think they could share duties based off the halfcourt or transition game?
Yes, I do think they could both share the duties, but, the tougher challenge will be on both players to knock down shots or make plays when they’re off the ball. As you can see in this graphic from Bball-Index.com, White already knows how to make plays off the ball, but for Murray, that was an area of concern in the 2017-18 season.
You’re right in that Murray’s impact on offense is his ability to collect defensive rebounds and push the ball in the open floor. This table below shows how effective the team was in transition with Murray in 2017-18 compared to with White in the 2018-19 season (via CleaningTheGlass.com).
|Player||Frequency Transition (Percentile)||Pts added per 100 possessions||Frequency off live rebounds||Pts added per 100 possessions|
|Dejounte Murray 2017-18||+2.6% (93rd)||+1.7 (88th)||+3.2% (82nd)||+1.0 (81st)|
|Derrick White 2018-19||-0.3% (44th)||+0.9 (75th)||-1.2% (36th)||+0.3 (63rd)|
In terms of the transition game, the good thing White has going for him based on the data is that the team was still adding points on the times they did try to make plays in the open court. When it comes to the halfcourt though, that’s going to be an area where there will be more pressure on Murray. Not only will he have to show he can knock down wide open threes, but he’ll also have to improve on his off-the-ball play too.
As I mentioned in the last edition, there will be many gains for the team on defense starting Murray and White together, but the question will be how well can the offense hold up?
No 2. @AvalosJose94 – Will any big men be consistent in the 13 players allowed to dress out? Besides the obvious 2?
For this question, I’m assuming the obvious two are LaMarcus Aldridge and Jakob Poeltl. When you actually list the full 15-man roster, you start seeing that along with Aldridge and Poeltl, Rudy Gay and Trey Lyles should also be active each night, where they’ll both play at the 4. For now, one would assume Chimezie Metu will be getting the 13th spot each night. But, if he’s sent to work in Austin, it could end up being either Quinndary Weatherspoon or Drew Eubanks.
If the Spurs know they’re playing a team with traditional bigs like Denver (Nikola Jokic and Paul Millsap), they may make sure either Metu or Eubanks are in uniform at the 13th spot for that select game.
No 3. @PHIrociousApe – Will the team offer DeMar DeRozan an extension?
Right now, I’d say they won’t, just because I thought that if they were, it would have happened as soon as both sides were able to start negotiating July 6th. This is just my opinion based on how things have played out.
However, as Mike Finger recently wrote, the extension for DeRozan is still being considered by the Spurs. The answer to this question could end up taking the full season for an answer, since the Spurs have until June 30 to sign DeRozan to an extension.
No 4. @TheHaleStone – assuming the Spurs want to extend Murray – White – Walker, how much space would need for those extensions, when, and how would they have to get that space for them to sign?
Extensions are different from free agent signings in that a team doesn’t have to have cap space ready at that moment to get the player to sign the extension. For example with Murray, if he and the Spurs agreed to an extension, he’d still be making his $2.3 million this coming season, but then the new number for the extension wouldn’t start kicking in until the following season (2020-21), and it would carry on forward from there. The same could be said for White and Lonnie Walker IV if the team signed each player to an extension. The team would get those deals done in the season before each player becomes a restricted free agent.
No 5. @EybdyaN – How would Mills and Belinelli be used now that Murray and Walker will be suiting up for the big team?
Patty Mills could start seeing a slight decrease in minutes depending on where Bryn Forbes and White are playing in the rotation. On paper though, Mills is still expected to be the backup point guard to begin the season. As for Marco Belinelli, he could also see a decrease in minutes, but that may not be due to Lonnie Walker IV. Instead, that could be because White, Forbes, and DeMarre Carroll need minutes too. As well as Walker IV played in Summer League, he still has to earn a role in preseason by competing with Forbes or Belinelli for their roles. Until that happens, he’s likely still behind both Forbes and Belinelli in the depth chart.
No 6. @Kreese2121 – is it realistic for Spurs fans to expect tangible increases in 3p efficiency from Lyles, White, Murray and DeRozan? Chip is a miracle worker but LMA hasn’t stretched his range. If DDR and White can stretch defenses our ceiling is what?
Out of the four players you asked about, I think White is the one player who has the best shot of getting his three-point accuracy to at or above league average. Lyles has had two seasons where he’s been league average, but so far in his early career, his accuracy has been similar to a roller coaster. Until I see it, I just can’t see Murray and DeRozan making impressive leaps in their three-point accuracy. The bar is very low for both players with their prior accuracy, so I do expect them to get better there. A fair goal for each player might be to try to finish in the 30-34% three-point accuracy range this coming season.
If White and DeRozan could both become reliable three-point shooters, then yes, this team can be even better than projected because two of the go-to players are now able to stretch the defense and provide spacing for Aldridge and Murray. As for raising the ceiling though, Aldridge and Murray still wouldn’t be outside threats in that scenario and defenses would still be able to scheme for them.