What Are the Chances Flip Murray's Just Turned Into a Good Player?

Inspired by Bronn's question in the comments following  yesterday's game recap...

If you think it's ridiculous to look at someone's numbers after 5 games and 117 minutes played (a reasonable opinion), skip the rest of this. Everyone else, here's the numbers, draw your own conclusions.

Murray is on pace to set career highs in FGA, 3PTA, and FTA per minute played. That's not a function of the Hawks' pace. Basketball-reference.com (from whence all these numbers are taken) ranks the Hawks 20th in the league in pace of play.

Murray's shooting numbers, year-to-date versus his career:

Time Period 2PT% 3PT% FT%
02-08 44.6 27.9 71.4
year-to-date 41.7 41.2 57.9

Murray's great improvement can be traced directly to him taking many more threes per 36 minutes so far this season (5.2) than is typical for his career (2.98) while also making those shots at almost 150% his career rate. His career-best 3PT% is 31.7. The silver lining is that Murray's getting to the line fairly often despite shooting so many threes and should soon start converting more of his free throw attempts. He might make a slightly higher percentage of his two-point attempts as the season progresses. He might not. Single-season two-point percentage is notoriously inconsistent*. Bear in mind, though, that even with him making less than 60% of his free throws his year-to-date TS% is above his career average.

*You may recall that Joe Johnson's uncharacteristically low two-point percentage last year flummoxed both John Hollinger and Kevin Pelton's projection systems.

Murray's also done an uncharacteristically good job of not turning the ball over so far this year. He's turned the ball over on just 7.5% of the possessions he's used versus a career TO% of 13.8 and a career-best of 12.5%. As his turnovers increase, we shouldn't expect his assist rate to pick. He's slightly below his career average in that category but right in line with his rates when he was installed in a similar role in Seattle.

Rounding out the statistical profile, Murray is also above his career norms in OR% (+26%), DR% (+13%), and steal percentage (+35%).

Bronn tentatively put the odds of Murray actually being as good as he's played so far this season at 20-1. I'm not going to make a guess. I think I've made my feelings on Flip Murray clear. I also think all Hawks fans are hoping I'm as mistaken about Murray's value going forward as I may have been about Mike Woodson's late-bloomer potential as a head coach.

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