Off to best start of his career, Dejounte Murray has come as advertised for Atlanta Hawks

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When the Heat ended the Hawks season last year, it was clear there would be sweeping personnel changes. Despite being an offensive maestro, Trae Young is a liability on the defensive end, and Atlanta didn’t have enough playmakers around him. Miami suffocated the All-Star, and Nate McMillan had no answers. Travis Schlenk went out and addressed both of those issues in one move, sending a slew of draft picks to San Antonio for Dejounte Murray, giving Young the first All-Star teammate of his career.

We’re only eight games into the season, but the former Spur has come as advertised and looks to be the perfect counterpart to Trae Young. The early returns look promising. Look no further than Murray’s performance in Madison Square Garden, in which he posted a career-high 36 points on 14-of-27 shooting, including 5-of-12 from three-point range while adding nine assists and five steals, good for a +26 plus/minus.

On the season, Murray is having the best year of his career. He’s averaging a career-best 22.0 points per game on the most efficient shooting splits — .467/.404/.895 — of his career. He’s also averaging a career-high 2.4 steals per game. Murray is thriving in Atlanta with Trae Young. The pair complement each other very nicely, though they’re still building chemistry. And we’ve begun to see a different version of Young, one who doesn’t have to focus on scoring and playmaking.

Table courtesy of FiveThirtyEight. Trae Young usage statistics (per 36 minutes) with Dejounte Murray on- and off-court

Touches 71.6 90.1
Direct isolations 4.4 11.9
Direct drives 13.2 19.4
Effective field-goal percentage* 49.1 36.2

While Dejounte Murray enjoys the best start of his career, Young is actually off to a less than ideal start. Despite averaging an impressive 27.5 points and 9.4 assists per game, it’s coming on the worst efficiency numbers of his career with a 44.1 effective field goal percentage. But it’s early; positive regression is in line. Young is just too good to shoot like this over an extended period. With major personnel changes this past offseason, Atlanta was always expected to experience some growing pains. Perhaps that’s what’s happening with Young, but Murray seems to be reaping the benefits of his new team.

John McCoy/Icon Sportswire

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