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How Keegan Murray can help the Kings offense

He could make things a lot easier on Domantas Sabonis and De'Aaron Fox.
By | 42 Comments | Jul 1, 2022

Iowa Hawkeyes Versus Purdue Boilermakers In Big Ten Men S Championship Title Game On Sunday March 13 2022 At Gainbridge Fieldhouse In Indianapolis

Keegan Murray, theoretically, is going to help the Sacramento Kings in a lot of areas – in transition, from three, and on the defensive side of the ball. The rookie’s cutting ability is going to be a big asset also.

Murray is expected to fit well next to ball-dominant players because he’s a multi-level scorer who doesn’t need the ball in his hands to be effective. Surrounding him with playmakers like Domantas Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox at a position the Kings need to fill is classified as what you would call a “great fit.” His cutting ability is an intriguing addition to the Kings offense and is something Murray himself brought up in his introductory press conference.

“I think my versatility plays a factor, playing alongside both of them [Fox and Sabonis], being able to cut to the basket, read what Sabonis is doing in the post and things like that,” he said.

This is going to open things up a lot for both Sabonis and Fox.

Let’s take a look at what that could look like.

Cuts

With Domantas Sabonis, you have a guy who is going to bring double teams in the post. With that, comes an opportunity for cutters to attack.

In this play, a double team opens up the lane and Murray immediately flashes to the basket. He doesn’t need an open lane to finish.

Again, a double team comes and Sabonis delivers a beautiful shovel pass to a cutting Harrison Barnes (the Kings will potentially have both Barnes, if he still here, and Murray cutting in a motion offense around Sabonis and Fox).

Here, Murray doesn’t even need an open lane caused from a double team to slash and finish. Again he uses his strength to finish at the rim.

The Kings now have a point guard, big and power forward (depending on how you classify Murray) who can run the floor efficiently. Here, Sabonis leads the break, slows up and hits the cutter in stride.

Now imagine Murray, who is known for his transition play, sprinting at full force and cutting with purpose as Sabonis eyes him.

Sabonis isn’t the only guy, of course, who can draw double teams.

“I’m just excited to be able to play off of Fox, a dynamic point guard and he’s a guy who can create his own shot, create for other guys. So, for my ability to catch and shoot threes, play on the perimeter, I feel like it will just expand both of their games even more,” Murray said.

When Fox is attacking the paint opponents often have to throw two guys at him, which opens the lane.

And when Fox does get stopped on his drive, he can either go up for his midrange game, which has improved greatly, or scan for cutters. What is great on this particular play is that Murray seems to know exactly when to cut. He sees the ball handler stop and pivot, turn around and he cuts immediately.

Both Murray and Barnes will benefit from what could be this new dynamic, and it will make life easier on both Sabonis and Fox.

Beautiful pass here by Fox.

Beautiful cut by Murray. Can’t wait to see this in action.

Threes

The Kings were 25th in three-point percentage last season. And with two guys who can cause havoc in the paint and draw double teams, it should be much higher than that with the amount of kick-out opportunities to be had. The Kings need guys who can stand out beyond the arc and knock down threes. Newly signed Malik Monk and Kevin Huerter will certainly help with that, as will Murray, who shot 39% from three at Iowa last season.

The attention Sabonis draws just leaves shooters wide open. Watch this beautiful dime against the Kings from a few years back.

Picture Murray as a trailer here.

Fox draws the attention and kicks out.

This is one of the most impressive passes I have ever seen. Murray, Barnes, Monk and Huerter are going to get shots galore out there in the half court and in transition.

And they will get them off Sabonis rebounds.

And Murray will get them off screens for Fox.

The consensus seems to be that Murray is ready and able to make an impact in the NBA now. And if that is indeed true, he could quickly become an integral part of the rotation, likely even the starting four on opening day. We’ll get our first look this weekend during the California Classic.

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42 Comments
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andy_sims
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July 1, 2022 3:15 pm

What time is it?

It’s feeding time, baby.

Hobby916
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July 1, 2022 3:16 pm

He fits what could be a dynamic motion style offense. Good stuff.

PretendGhost
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July 1, 2022 11:12 pm
Reply to  Hobby916

Can’t remember the last time we saw a motion offense from the Kings. Even in 2019 under Joerger the half court offense was such a huge problem for them, I don’t think it will be for this squad.

Hobby916
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July 2, 2022 5:17 am
Reply to  PretendGhost

Sabonis basically pushes them in to that style. It needs to happen or something is completely wrong

Want2win
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July 1, 2022 3:16 pm

I’m really excited to see what Murray brings, along with Malik and Red Velvet…

Jack
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July 1, 2022 3:18 pm

As I watch and consider why do we have to trade Barnes. At small forward, which I believe is his position, along with Murray at power forward would make two really good forwards. We just got two really good shooters one who could also play 2 positions. Barnes can shoot the 3 and is a great person in the locker room and a great mentor for Murray. All these players will open it up for Fox and highlight Sabomias”s passing ability. PS We also keep Holmes as our backup to Sabonias if he wants it. Only older player in all this is Barnes. Could also trade him. But Why?

KingBob
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July 1, 2022 3:26 pm
Reply to  Jack

I agree. It’s unlikely that we trade Barnes away and get better. I imagine most people are wanting to trade him because his contract is nearly up and we could possibly get someone back who is locked up for longer.

keith_kar
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July 1, 2022 5:36 pm
Reply to  KingBob

I believe it’s extremely doubtful we re-sign Barnes after this season, so why not consider trading him? He’s been a good King, but I think the Barnes era in Sacramento is coming to a close.

Based on Monte’s latest moves, the direction of the Kings is to form a young dynamic core. If I were to make a prediction, the next shoe to drop will involve Barnes being moved in some way.

Marty
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July 2, 2022 6:56 am
Reply to  KingBob

people are wanting to trade him because his contract is nearly up 

I love Harrison Barnes, but you just can’t let assets expire and walk for nothing, that’s just poor management and should never, ever happen IMHO.

Hippity_Hop_Barbershop
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July 1, 2022 3:31 pm
Reply to  Jack

Keep the Falcon! We need his quiet leadership and more of that ice-water in his veins.

Rojoking
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July 1, 2022 3:45 pm

I think he may need to show more leadership. I don’t know who has been team captain recently, but I think only Harrison has the credibility.

rockbottom
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July 1, 2022 4:43 pm
Reply to  Rojoking

It seems to me that Sabonis is the leader, and others defer already. Barnes and Fox have never been team leaders . Just talented players .

RAP87
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July 1, 2022 5:12 pm
Reply to  rockbottom

Yup Sabonis to me is the current leader but don’t sleep on Mitchell. He could be the vocal leader that this team needs. Saw an interview him saying he is more comfortable now going this year and be more vocal around the guys which I think is his comfort zone just like he was in Baylor

andy_sims
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July 1, 2022 3:34 pm
Reply to  Jack

I agree with all of this. The only particularly good reason to move Barnes (presuming we don’t get ridiculously favorable trade offer) is that his contract ends this season.

He’s just turned thirty, but with his type of athleticism, I don’t expect a hard drop-off in his play. He’s a highly-skilled, smart player, and I think he’s probably got several productive years left.

The question is, what would it cost to bring him back? And, despite him being an absolute solid citizen who would never make waves, he just might not want to stay in Sacramento. Barnes could be useful on almost any team, and I’d think he’ll have choices if he heads out of town.

I’d expect the McNair has spoken to Barnes about what he wants or doesn’t want, and gauged his interest in staying beyond this season. If he is traded, I do believe that McNair would try to do right by Barnes, and put him into a good situation. If Barnes expires here. it frees up some money, same if he’s traded for expiring contract players.

Barnes is legitimately an asset, so I expect there to be interest. As ever, it remains to be seen whether teams will make it worth the Kings’ while to deal, or if there are plans in place where Barnes’ salary would be more useful in the summer of ’23, either in free agency, or in a sign & trade.

Jack
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July 1, 2022 4:09 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

As I was trying to take a nap I thought that the kings might possibly make one more trade. We still have Davis, Lyles, Metu and Len. What do you think would be possible with maybe one or two plus a second or two to pick up Matisse Thybulle. With Mitchell guarding guards and Matisse forwards we would have a great one two punch of really great defenders. I don’t want to include our 2023 first.

andy_sims
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July 1, 2022 4:59 pm
Reply to  Jack

At that cost, I’d probably do it. Thybulle has a season left at a shade under $4.4 million, and if he walks, it’s not a big deal.

I do think that both Lyles and Davis can give good minutes in Sacramento. I love the Monk signing, but I’m not convinced that Davis isn’t the better player.

Ellis5
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July 1, 2022 8:32 pm
Reply to  Jack

Others here think that Barnes is more of a 4 that can play 3 but they’re wrong.

andy_sims
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July 2, 2022 11:22 am
Reply to  Ellis5

Stupid others.

MichaelMack
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July 1, 2022 3:38 pm

This is absolutely terrific content Blake. Really top-notch stuff.

andy_sims
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July 1, 2022 4:01 pm
Reply to  MichaelMack

Yes, definitely. I was remiss in not saying so.

Hippity_Hop_Barbershop
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July 1, 2022 3:38 pm

I feel really good. Too good. I’ve been here before but my cynicism was at epic proportions in March/April.

I like to think Project M.C.N.A.I.R. inspired our GM a bit.

comment image

Hippity_Hop_Barbershop
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July 1, 2022 3:41 pm

Also this analysis is really really helpful for a busy fan. Having all these highlights in one place makes it so easy for me to get a feel for players before they land at SMF. Yet another reason to love TKH. Cheers and thank you!

RikSmits
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July 1, 2022 9:57 pm

All Kings fans are busy in the off-season. This is OUR season!

HoustonJP
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July 2, 2022 12:46 pm

Hippity Hop,

The Kings Pulse podcast has an excellent, excellent podcast of Brenden Nunes and Glen Willis who covers the Hawks discussing Heurter. Willis is from the Sacto area and has followed the Kings and takes in several games a year when he is there, which gives the podcast a unique angle on his evaluation of Heurter’s strengths, areas to improve, and how he will help the Kings. Well worth a listen. I have twice.

Last edited 2 years ago by HoustonJP
TheGrantNapear
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July 1, 2022 4:31 pm

DDV to the Warriors at 2/$9.3

Guess he isn’t as good as he thinks he is or a lot of King’s fans think he is.
At least he’ll have a shot at a ring.

rockbottom
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July 1, 2022 4:47 pm
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

A definite come down but very likely he will look 50% better as a Dub and hurt the Kings . 😱

Gregoryl
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July 1, 2022 4:50 pm
Reply to  rockbottom

He will be marking his calendar for every game against Monte/Sac.

UpgradedToQuestionable
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July 1, 2022 4:51 pm
Reply to  rockbottom

so…
is he starting over Klay or Steph? Is he displacing Poole? Moody?

If he played more in Sacramento it would be Klay. I’m pretty sure. Damn those Kings.

murraytant
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July 1, 2022 5:03 pm
Reply to  rockbottom

duds want to keep the minutes for stephie and klank to a minimum, play poodle. Moody and Kuminga.
DDV is 3rd SG, 3rd SF.
Lost GP2, and Belly and Porter but those minutes will be taken by the current guys.
Don’t see a lot of playing time for DDV unless it is to rest starters.
The QO here was 6.8 Kings declined, still had Bird Rights.
Not sure what was up. I think he wanted more than the full MLE. Kings could have done all their current moves and still gone over the cap to sign him without using the MLE that they used for Monk.
Don’t really get this.

Hobby916
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July 1, 2022 5:38 pm
Reply to  murraytant

He didn’t want to be in Sac.

rc50cal
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July 1, 2022 6:27 pm
Reply to  Hobby916

Can’t blame him! Chance at a ring. Out from the KANGZ shit show.

MidtownMike
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July 2, 2022 12:22 am
Reply to  murraytant

Yeah kings should of forced him to be here with the QO and just traded him for some 2nds if they didn’t want him

satdawg
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July 2, 2022 4:20 am
Reply to  murraytant

Stephie, Klank, and Poodle? 😂
How about Draymond?

Last edited 2 years ago by satdawg
andy_sims
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July 1, 2022 5:00 pm
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

Didi be ring hunting.

TerzoM
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July 1, 2022 4:34 pm

I’m sold. Let’s go Play-Ins baby
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rc50cal
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July 1, 2022 4:41 pm

I’m getting excited about the upcoming season despite myself. Or maybe it’s to spite myself.

RikSmits
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July 1, 2022 9:59 pm
Reply to  rc50cal

LOL, well put.

Kingsguru21
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July 1, 2022 6:37 pm

Loved the clips, and the piece. Thanks Blake.

Marty
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July 2, 2022 7:00 am

Fantastic article, which I must admit got me *a little* hyped for the upcoming Kings season, which at this point is no small task indeed.

Kingme18
July 2, 2022 7:50 am

He can help the Kings offense by being included in a package for Kevin Durant!! Lol

kgdobter
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July 2, 2022 1:44 pm
Reply to  Kingme18

Pass

HoustonJP
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July 2, 2022 12:51 pm

Blake,

One of the best posts this off-season. I got to the end and found myself hoping for more, but very fun seeing all of the numerous videos three times. Thanks, not easy to put an article/videos together…much appreciated.

I came back to edit because one of my favorite vids is Murray slashing to the basket and seeing how far away from the rim this non-athletic three toad sloth took off for the basket. My eyes see something different than the pundits I suppose.

Last edited 2 years ago by HoustonJP

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