SAN ANTONIO - For the second straight game, Spurs fans will more than likely see a different yet familiar face in Tuesday’s starting lineup, given that Tony Parker shared with reporters on Sunday that point guard Dejounte Murray will be the new starter moving forward.
The shakeup comes just in time for “big brother” LeBron James to witness Murray’s rising potential at the starting level, calling the 21-year-old point guard his “little brother.”
“First of all, the kid (Murray) is a gym rat and loves the game of basketball and I’m happy where he’s come so far in his short career. He has an opportunity to showcase what he’s all about,” James said during Tuesday morning’s shootaround.
Parker, who came off the bench for the first time since the 2010 playoffs, said Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich told him before Sunday’s game that “he thought it was time” to start someone else at point guard, according to ESPN’s report.
"I was like, ‘Oh, no problem,'" Parker told ESPN. "Just like Manu, just like Pau, that day's going to come. And if Pop sees something that is good for the team, I'll try to do my best."
James, who has worked out with Murray in previous summers and has known him since his high school days, believes Dejounte needs to “seize the opportunity” but “do it the right way” and stick to his one-piece advice.
“Obviously, listen to Pop. He knows what the hell he’s doing,” James said. “Every game, every opportunity you get just think it could be your last and that’s how you don’t take things for granted.”
With Parker sidelined to begin this year’s season, Murray started for the first seven games.
#✌🏾☝🏾👌🏾 NEWS: #Cavs @KingJames had nothing but compliments for #Spurs, @tonyparker HOF career & rising star @DejounteMurray. LeBron said Dejounte needs to 'seize the opportunity' & 'listen to Pop...he knows what the hell he's doing.' (h/t @markmendez) #KSATsports #GoSpursGo pic.twitter.com/oB6NnLRGzB — Adrian Garcia (@KSATadrian) January 23, 2018
Murray ended Sunday’s game against the Indiana Pacers with eight points, seven rebounds and four assists.
In 48 games this season, Murray is averaging 6.3 points per game, 4.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists.
Despite the switch, James said the Cavaliers’ game plan for Tuesday night will remain the same.
“They are both quick guards (and) obviously with Tony’s hall of fame career, he’s still very productive and Dejounte, being a part of this family here, being part of the Pop system … our game plan shouldn’t change no matter who’s out on the floor,” James said.
The Spurs (30-18) take on the Cavaliers (27-18) at 7 p.m. CT Tuesday at the AT&T Center.
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