“He wanted me as bad as I wanted to go over there to help” - Dejounte Murray opens up on his potential partnership with 2x All-Star

Trae Young, left, and Dejounte Murray, right
Trae Young, left, and Dejounte Murray, right

All-Star Dejounte Murray was traded to the Atlanta Hawks earlier in the offseason and will form a much-anticipated backcourt with star guard Trae Young.

Murray, who played with the San Antonio Spurs last season, made it to his first All-Star game in 2022, coming in as an injury replacement for Draymond Green. Murray avergaed 21.1 points per game, 8.3 rebounds per game and 9.2 assists per game. He led the league in steals, with 138 in 68 games.

In an interview with HoopsHype's Michael Scotto, Murray detailed what led up to the trade and how he will fit into the backcourt with Young:

"We’re both hoopers. We’ve been texting each day, whether it’s about life, basketball or taking care of our family and building that chemistry. He’s a hooper, and he’s really smart.
👀 @DejounteMurray rocks a New Balance TWO WXY 2 PE with his new @ATLHawks threads! #NBAKicks
"He’s willing to do what it takes to win. He’s another All-Star and a guy who works hard. He wanted me as bad as I wanted to go over there to help. They already have a culture over there that they built."

On his fit with the Hawks, Murray said:

"For me, it won’t be too hard to fit in. I work hard, and I can adapt to any environment I’m put in with my style of play and willingness to learn and work. It’s going to be a smooth transition. I think we’ll figure it out. We’re both smart, and we love the game.
"When you add those things together, you figure out ways to win. The main goal is to win, and that’s what we both want." (via) HoopsHype

Does Dejounte Murray raise Atlanta Hawks' ceiling?

Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young
Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young

The Atlanta Hawks are a team that stumbled last season despite high expectations. In 2021, they were an up-and-coming team that went six games in the Eastern Conference finals against the Milwaukee Bucks. But last season, they were knocked out in the first-round by the Miami Heat after advancing through the play-in tournament.

The Hawks had the league's fifth-worst defense, with a defensive rating of 114.9. On the flipside, they had the second-best offense, with a rating of 116.5.

Murray brings size length in the backcourt, as well as a proficient half-court defense. Adding an All-Defensive guard in the backcourt should substantially improve the Hawks defense.

Young is a two-time All-Star in his four seasons. He averaged 28.4 ppg last season.

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Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein
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