DeMar DeRozan’s potential contract extension: The good, the bad and the ugly

(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /

DeRozan’s fit in San Antonio

The Spurs’ offense next season will be largely contingent on what many anticipate to be a more offensively-polished Dejounte Murray. Brief glimpses of Murray’s work ethic were there for those interested; his shooting percentages jumped from the beginning of his sophomore season.

From the start of the 2017-18 season to the end of the 2018 calendar year, the 6’6″ guard shot just 29.7 percent when he stepped beyond 10 feet. This being the case, Murray wisely stuck to his strengths, taking 58.5 percent of his shots from 1-9 feet, and avoiding deeper shots altogether.

By season’s end, Murray was able to ramp up his efficiency and comfort — turning that 29.7 percent to 35.7 percent on nearly double the attempts — while also becoming a confident corner shooter (36.4 percent from the left corner, and 40.0 percent from the right, postseason included). It’s also worth noting that Murray represented a league-best Spurs defense as a member of the All-Defensive Second Team. 

In essence, moving on already could rob the Spurs of mixing a potentially potent offensive-minded DeRozan with the defensive-minded Murray.

Depending on what the Spurs plan to do in terms of adding Bryn Forbes or Derrick White to that starting lineup, it could be the match that gives the Spurs the best of both worlds. San Antonio went from the No. 1 defense in 2017-18 to 12th in 2018-19. Offensively, the team went from being ranked 27th in 2017-18 to 18th in DeRozan’s first year in San Antonio.

Looking through the eyes of a pessimist, there’s always a chance Murray’s offseason shooting doesn’t translate fully into the bright lights. This sort of story has been long-narrated before with the likes of similar players like Ben Simmons and Lonzo Ball — two players that combined to shoot 75-of-234 from deep after “working” hard at improving their shooting. Given what Spurs fans know about Murray, he’ll likely be much better, but the thought is worth considering.