Atlanta Hawks star Dejounte Murray doesn’t care much for outside opinions. At least, that was the sentiment conveyed in his reaction to ESPN’s Top 100 Players list. Murray has been an outspoken leader since his arrival last season – and before – and this is the latest example.
“F**K RANKINGS On All Levels,” Murray said in a since-deleted post on X on October 11. “Just Go BALL!!!!”
Murray is No. 60 on the list. He is behind Trae Young (No. 29) and ahead of Clint Capela (No. 84).
“Despite a drop in his steals per game and steal percentage a year ago, Murray still proved to be one of the NBA’s leaders in thievery,” reads Murray’s blurb in the article from October 10. “Murray, who led the NBA in steals in 2021-22, is the only player in the NBA to have at least 100 steals in each of the past four seasons.”
Murray and Young also etched their names into the history books, becoming the second set of teammates to both average at least 20.0 points and 6.0 assists in a single season. And neither are satisfied with what they accomplished last season.
Murray ranked No. 42 overall in the 2022 edition of the rankings, adding context to what was an 18-spot drop for the one-time All-Star.
He was not the only one to speak out, either.
Dallas Mavericks star Kyrie Irving – who is outspoken in his own right – also derided the rankings which had him No. 34 overall. It is just a one-spot drop for Irving from last season but his explanation cut even deeper than Murray’s.
Mavericks’ Kyrie Irving Echoes Hawks’ Dejounte Murray
“Rankings don’t mean a damn thing in the league especially not from ESPN or any of these other media platforms,” Irving said in response to the list in a post on Instagram on October 11.” Majority of the analysts are not credible sources in my eyes and I don’t respect them or their opinions.”
Irving has not always appreciated the media’s coverage of him and this is in line with that. But the voices that have come out against the list are plentiful, and it even includes Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant.
Murray has admitted that his first season with the Hawks was not the easiest transition.
But he has also embraced that challenge and vowed that the 2023-24 campaign will be his best season to date and won’t accept less from his teammates.
“Be better than last year,” Murray said via the team on October 2. “Establish an identity from jump … Good in chemistry in the locker room, outside of the facility and carry on to translate to the court. So be better than last year, and win and be a top-four seed. Being a Play-In team is not optional.”
The Hawks got a win in their preseason opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers. And it will likely take more of the same during the regular season to avoid a similar ranking on next year’s list which is sure to be just as polarizing.