This year is going to be an entirely different challenge for the Atlanta Hawks. But new star Dejounte Murray sounds up to it. Gone are the expectations of making a run to the Eastern Conference Finals right now. Last season’s humbling slide to the eight-seed and the Play-In Tournament took care of that.
In their defense, the Hawks went into that postseason as a five-seed – their run to the ECF was always improbable.
Trading for Murray showed the Hawks’ front office realized it needed more. Their reported pursuit of Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant shows could hint that they still feel they need more.
What they don’t need, however, is to worry about Murray’s level of dedication.
Dejounte Murray sends strong message on the Atlanta Hawks coming season
The Hawks paid quite a hefty sum for Murray sending out just one player in Danilo Gallinari. But they are also unloading two unprotected picks, a pick swap, and another lottery-protected pick. It would be nice if the player acquired was under contract for the foreseeable future given what it took to land him.
But Murray is only under contract through the 2024 season and, due to the structure of the deal and how well he has played, an extension is essentially out of the question.
This season though?
“I love this s***,” Murray posted on Instagram along with a picture of himself in the gym getting a workout in. “Fully committed 110%.”
The 2022 All-Star and steal champ wasn’t done, either, posting another message shortly after.
“I ain’t come to Atlanta to party. Don’t invite me to Nathen. I WANNA WINNNNNNNNNN GAMES!!!!!!!!!”
Murray has previously spoken of there being no individual agendas for the Hawks this season. Their focus is on winning and doing it in the playoffs. Murray’s sentiments have been echoed by teammate Trae Young.
Together, Murray and Young figure to be one of, if not the most dynamic backcourt in the NBA.
Their games should complement each other well once they find the right blend of on-ball and off-ball work for both players who have little experience with the latter at this level.
Questions exist about their fit and ceiling. And because, even though Murray is 6-foot-4 with a 6-foot-10 wingspan, they are not the biggest backcourt. Because of these reasons, especially in an ever-improving Eastern Conference, there is doubt about this group.
Judging from Murray’s words since he arrived – and his fire during his pro-am tour this summer – the Hawks will be ready to prove the doubters wrong.