SAN ANTONIO – As Derrick White continues to impress early in this year’s playoffs, fans have been left with a major “what if.”
What if Dejounte Murray had been healthy this season?
The Spurs third-year point guard tore his ACL in October during the preseason, and was forced to miss the regular season.
It was a devastating injury for Murray, who had said before the season he was ready to become the next great Spurs team leader.
After surgery on his knee, Murray went to rehab and has worked hard to recover.
Videos posted on his social media accounts show he is moving well nearly six months after the injury.
A video posted on Wednesday showed Murray throw down a windmill dunk.
Murray traveled with the team to Denver for Games 1 and 2, but head coach Gregg Popovich has dismissed any notion of Murray returning if the Spurs make a deep playoff run.
For Popovich, having Murray around the team right now will pay dividends later.
📹Dejounte Murray recently posted video of himself dunking w/contact. Popovich spoke about DJ being around team despite missing season⬇️. 'He’s going to be an important part of what we do next year'...A Murray-White backcourt has many excited. (📹@markmendez) #KSATsports #Spurs pic.twitter.com/AItWRPMice— RJ Marquez (@KSATRJ) April 17, 2019
“Dejounte needs as much experience as he can get. He’s missing the whole year,” said Popovich before Game 2 in Denver. “He can see what we emphasize as far as the culture, the O’s and X’s, learn about his teammates, learn more about DeMar (DeRozan) and understand how we want to play.”
Fans have salivated over what a Murray-White backcourt will look like in the future. White was thrust into the point guard role when Murray was injured.
White flourished and has shown he will be one of the Spurs corner stone players in the future.
If Murray returns to form and becomes the player the Spurs expected him to be prior to the injury, then he and White will form one of the best defensive and young backcourts in the league.
But that will have to wait. For now, all Murray can do is soak in some of the playoff experience from the sidelines.
“He’s going to be an important part of what we do next year, so the more knowledge we stuff into him, even though he’s not playing, the better,” Popovich said.