Dejounte Murray gets honest about first season with Atlanta Hawks

Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

In his first season with the Atlanta Hawks, star guard Dejounte Murray’s impact was clear. But so were the growing pains of a new dynamic in the backcourt.

Murray spoke to that reality during his end-of-season media availability on April 28.

“Obviously coming to Atlanta it was another challenge,” Murray said via the Hawks’ YouTube channel on April 28. “But that’s the kind of person I am. I want all challenges. I don’t want nothing easy. I feel like adversities will really build you, whether it’s on or off the floor. And that’s pretty much what I can say about that.”

Murray averaged 20.5 points on 54% true shooting with 6.1 assists, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.5 steals during the regular season. He also knocked down 34.4% of his triples on a career-high 5.3 attempts per game and, while that is already the third-best efficiency of his career.

He was even better on pull-up triples knocking down 43.8% of his looks.

A first-time All-Star in 2022 after leading the NBA in steals per game, Murray took a clear step back from being the lead guard with the San Antonio Spurs after the blockbuster trade that brought him to the Hawks last offseason. But it might not have necessarily been the transition to playing more off the ball.

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As Murray noted leading up to that sentiment, he was not always the point guard in San Antonio, either.

“It was a big challenge having a ball in my hands in San Antonio,” Murray said. “And, quiet as kept really, that was my first year being able to be a point guard, last year in San Antonio. Before that, it was similar to here. And you know last year was a year that Coach [Gregg Popovich] was like, ‘We’re gonna put the ball in your hands, and see what you can do’. And I feel like I took that challenge and I did well.”

To that end, Murray’s usage rate this past season was his highest in any season outside of that 2022 campaign. He also saw his percentage of field goals made off an assist rise by just 3.6% compared to last season.

Murray also pointed out the overall amount of changes the organization has undergone in the last year.

“There was a lot of stuff going on here,” he said. “I mean from just me getting traded here all the way to now, there was a lot. From front office to coaching changes. That’s rare to happen in-season. After All-Star to you know [head coach Quinn Snyder] come and slowly but surely putting in his system during the year. It was kind of like we was in training camp for our practices. So that’s not easy – practicing having training camp then playing Miami or Charlotte, whoever the next day is not easy. And just how we dealt with everything. It’s a credit to everybody’s character, everybody’s willingness to want to get better, and the buy-in to with Quinn. A new coach a new guy coming in, telling you what to do it’s not easy but everybody bought into that. So, for me personally, I just look forward to continue to get to know him. But also I know that everybody here will be able to benefit from getting a bunch of practices and everything under him for a full year.”

Murray noted that he enjoyed his first season in Atlanta and is looking forward to growing with this group, going into detail about several of his young teammates.

He also opened up about his relationship with Trae Young on and off the floor.

Atlanta Hawks undergoing more major changes to the coaching staff

There is already even more upheaval and more changes coming for the Hawks after it was reported by Zach Klein of WSB Atlanta that former interim head coach Joe Prunty and the rest of the staff – which included former head coach Nate McMillan’s son, Jamelle McMillan – has bee let go.

“The move now allows these coaches to hook-up with other staffs around the league,” Klein tweeted citing sources with knowledge of the situation. “(Houston, Detroit, Toronto and more potentially coming).”

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This is not surprising. McMillan also turned over the staff in the offseason after taking over for Lloyd Pierce and guiding the Hawks to the Eastern Conference Finals. But it is another set of new faces which will require an adjustment period. Fortunately for the Hawks, to Murray’s point, they will have an entire offseason to get acclimated.