When the Atlanta Hawks traded for Dejounte Murray this offseason, pairing of among the best defensive guards within the league with Trae Young, among the best of offensive guards within the league, it made a variety of sense on paper for the Hawks to succeed.
ESPN’s Basketball Power Index (BPI) recognized the Hawks as a crew to observe (and a possible futures goldmine) within the preseason, with the third-highest BPI rating within the Eastern Conference and the best within the Southeast Division.
Young, for his half, has had the most important offensive influence amongst level guards within the NBA in two of the final three seasons, per ESPN’s Real Plus Minus (RPM).
And the one level guards to complete greater in Defensive RPM than Murray throughout every of the previous two seasons had been Chris Paul and Mike Conley. Murray, a former All-Defensive Team choice, additionally led the NBA in steals final season with 2.0 per recreation.
But, when you think about that Young is a particularly excessive utilization participant, with a 37.4 USG% that trailed solely Luka Doncic, Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo in your complete NBA final season, it was exhausting to see how this partnership might enable Murray to thrive in fantasy basketball.
Murray scored the fifth-most fantasy factors within the NBA final season as the first offensive engine on the Spurs. He was a excessive utilization participant himself, with a 27.3 USG% that ranked simply forward of Russell Westbrook and James Harden. How might there be sufficient factors and assists for him to copy that fantasy success this season, when he’d should share the ball with Young?
Well, by way of the primary month of the season, Murray is prospering within the ATL. Young has a 35.0 USG% that also ranks fifth within the NBA, trailing the identical three gamers as final season plus Ja Morant. Young is taking two extra photographs this season, and his 9.3 APG are just like his 9.7 APG from the final marketing campaign. Everything in Atlanta nonetheless runs by way of Young. But, from the identical backcourt, Murray presently has the seventh-most fantasy factors within the NBA.
How is that this attainable?
It begins with the roster development of the Hawks, the place Young and Murray are the one two team-offense creators on your complete roster. No different participant on the crew averages greater than 1.8 APG, and the opposite three starters mix to common 2.7 APG. While solely 23.2% of Murray’s area targets are assisted (and solely 13.8% of Young’s), each different Hawks rotation participant sans Aaron Holiday will get at the least 60% of their area targets assisted. Outside of Young and Murray, virtually each different participant on the Hawks is only a finisher.
But, even surrounded by finishers, Murray continues to be the perfect scorer on the crew with the attainable exception of Young. Thus, the beginning backcourt completely dominates the shot makes an attempt on the crew. Murray can be taking extra photographs (19.1 FGA) this season than final (18.3 FGA), and he and Young mix for nearly as many photographs per recreation (41.5 mixed FGA) as the opposite three starters plus the highest two bench producers mixed (42.7 FGA).
In addition, the Hawks stagger Young’s and Murray’s minutes such that one is nearly all the time on the court docket. Young performs 35.1 MPG, which implies that Murray nonetheless will get a couple of quarter of the sport to fill the Ice-Trae-center-of-everything position for the offense. And combining roughly 12 minutes of top-5 utilization with 24 minutes of possibility 1B creator-finisher has allowed Murray to not miss a beat by way of manufacturing in comparison with his time with the Spurs. His 7.8 APG this season characterize a small step again from his 9.2 APG final season, however each his scoring common (21.5 PPG) and his made threes (1.9 3PG) are literally up a bit.
At the opposite finish of the court docket, the presence of rebound vacuums Clint Capela and John Collins (19.9 mixed RPG) within the beginning lineup have eaten into Murray’s rebounds. Murray is averaging “only” 6.4 RPG this season after 8.3 RPG final, however that also ranks him among the many top-5 pure guard rebounders within the league.
And, the added rim assist behind him appears to have allowed Murray to be much more aggressive as a ball hawk. Murray is presently averaging 2.1 SPG, up from his NBA main 2.0 SPG final season, and his 0.4 BPG additionally characterize a career-best tempo.
Put all of it collectively, and Murray resides the fantasy basketball dream in Atlanta (shout-out to the WNBA Atlanta Dream). Averaging 48.6 FP/G by way of the primary month, Murray is properly forward of the tempo I projected for him (41.7 FP/G). He’s moved as much as eleventh in my rest-of-season FBA factors rankings, and if LeBron James’ damage lingers, Murray ought to quickly be within the top-10.
Murray missed the 2018-19 season with a torn proper ACL however has been dependable within the three seasons since with a median of solely eight absences per season. Moving ahead with the Hawks, the system is ready up for him to play to his most capabilities even subsequent to one of many highest utilization gamers within the NBA.
I’d be completely blissful buying and selling for Murray in fantasy leagues, notably if you will get him extra for his (comparatively low) identify recognition worth and/or from a supervisor that also questions whether or not he’ll be capable to attain his degree subsequent to Young. This would imply that you just bought him for worth, and the secret: Elite manufacturing + good worth can typically result in the championship!