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2022 NBA Draft Profile: Keegan Murray

Iowa star Keegan Murray's production at Iowa was undeniable. Is he a top 4 prospect in the 2022 NBA Draft Class?
By | 121 Comments | Jun 8, 2022

Iowa forward Keegan Murray (15) dunks the ball as Nebraska forward Lat Mayen (11) defends during a NCAA Big Ten Conference men's basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa. 220213 Neb Iowa Mbb 018 Jpg

NBA Position: Forward

General Info: 21-year-old sophomore, played at Iowa. From Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Measurables: 6’8, 225 lbs, 6’11 wingspan.

2021-22 Season Statistics: 23.5 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.3 SPG, 1.9 BPG, 1.1 TPG (35 games played, 31.9 minutes a contest), 55.4% FG, 39.8% 3P, 74.7% FT

All hyperlinks in this profile are video clips showcasing the skills discussed.

Keegan Murray has been a draft favorite in Sacramento since early 2022, and it’s no secret why; the 6’8 forward from Iowa was one of the best college basketball players this season and ended the year with two-way statistics you rarely see in prospects. He also plays a huge position of need for Sacramento and fits well with both De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis. But once the Kings jumped to the 4th pick, the conversation changed; from wondering if there was a chance Murray could fall to Sacramento at pick 7 to an evaluation of Murray’s skills and NBA role compared to the other top prospects in the class. Murray is a lock to be a positive player on both ends of the court, and with his versatility, basketball awareness, and composure, we shouldn’t bet against Keegan figuring out how to improve as much as he can at the NBA level. But is Murray one of the top 4 prospects in this class?

Keegan’s sophomore season is one of the most statistically impressive campaigns I’ve seen; 23.5 points per game with a 63.8% true shooting percentage and a 29.7% usage rate is exceptional for any scorer, but he backed it up with 8.7 rebounds, a combined 3.2 steals and blocks per game, and only 1.1 turnovers (a 5.7% rate). While stats aren’t the end-all of player evaluations, and I have concerns about Murray’s scoring scalability at the next level, his production at Iowa was undeniably impressive. To have that role on offense, that much success on defense, and that low a mistake rate is bonkers. He’s an analytical star, and he does it all with a composed approach that reminds me of Harrison Barnes. And while Keegan isn’t the most quick-twitch or naturally fluid athlete, there’s no denying that when he can rev the engine to full throttle, he can be explosive and use his length to full advantage.

Keegan is older than most sophomores and will be 22 before the NBA season starts. He and his twin brother (Kris Murray, a reserve for Iowa last year) didn’t get the collegiate attention they wanted coming out of high school, so they spent a postgraduate season at DME Academy before getting offers at Iowa. After playing sparingly in his freshman season, Keegan took full advantage of the opportunities left after Luka Garza and Joe Wieskamp headed to the NBA. While the Hawkeye’s squad was full of solid role players, there’s no doubt that Keegan was the heart, head, and soul of Iowa’s team this year, and led them to a Big 10 title and an NCAA Tournament appearance.

Given that he was often the only consistent Hawkeye and his draft stock rose quickly come January, you would think he’d have demanded the rock constantly, but that isn’t who Keegan is. If he didn’t have the ball or wasn’t one clear pass away, he’d act like just another part (the smartest part) of Iowa’s offense. There’s no ego to Murray’s game. Simon Rath (@HawksDraftNerd) said it perfectly:

While Murray’s offensive versatility is his calling card, I think his deep shot is his greatest upside. Iowa worked to get him good looks from deep, and he took advantage, averaging 4.7 attempts per contest. His form off the catch is smooth, quick, and consistent, and his efficiency jumped from 29.6% as a freshman to 39.8% in his sophomore year. Murray shot 37.9% on catch-and-shoot shots, 75th percentile in the country, and he showed all the off-ball movement you’d want from a player who will need to be a dangerous and willing off-ball shooter at the NBA level.

To me, Murray’s obvious swing skill is his off-the-dribble jumper; he didn’t take enough of these shots to prove the skill, but if Murray can efficiently become a dangerous pull-up shooter in the NBA, that’s a gamechanger.

Given that these shots always lead off his highlight reels, it’s surprising how low the volume was; he only took 41 off-the-dribble jumpers over his 35 games this season (and hit 34% of them, 65th percentile). For comparison, AJ Griffin had half as many offensive possessions as Murray, but took 64 shots off the dribble. If Keegan can make this a focal point of his game, that would alleviate the creation concerns I have for him; becoming a true catch-and-shoot bomber who can shoot off the bounce at a high level will open up the rest of his offensive game even more. But it’s a tough bet to make on low volume.

Murray was an absolute monster in transition this season, where he shot a whopping 73.1% from the field (97th percentile) and turned the ball over just 6.3% of the time. While it’s a tad risky to overhype the transition success of players who don’t have elite NBA toolsets (and thus might not fare as well at NBA speed), there’s no denying that Murray is a powerful athlete when he gets into top gear in the open court.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEG6q4gPT7Y

Murray’s ability to fight for rebounds, get the ball, and then go coast-to-coast opened up so much for Iowa’s transition game. He could power through most collegiate defenders once he got a full head of steam, although his handling ability will need to be cleaned up before NBA guards smell blood in the water. Overall, Murray’s ability to play at high tempo, grab rebounds, and be a play finisher in transition would make him an excellent fit in Sacramento. His offball ability will also be key at the next level. Iowa ran a lot of plays to get Keegan lanes to the basket, and he thrived on cuts. Even if his touches drop in the NBA, he will find ways to impact the game without the ball in his hands.

I expect to see Murray’s assist numbers (just 1.5 per game last year) jump early in his NBA career. He’s no blackhole, and he absolutely works to keep the offense moving. Iowa lacked other consistent offensive threats, and he showed flashes that make me think he’s a better playmaker than his numbers indicate.

The rest of Murray’s statistical production at Iowa is a bit of a double-edged sword when evaluating his NBA projections. I think the offensive version of Keegan Murray we saw at Iowa isn’t reflective of the Keegan Murray we’ll see at the next level, both in play types and in shot volume. Given his approach to the game, I am NOT worried about Murray accepting new responsibilities, or that he’ll demand to play the way he did in his glory year in college (AKA, ‘pullin a Jimmer’). Like most NBA rookies, he will have to adjust his game—just, perhaps more than most lottery talents who scored 23 PPG in college.

Murray was one of the most efficient scorers in the post this year, and shot 63.5% on post-up plays (99th percentile). While he can be right-hand dominant in the paint, he has excellent footwork, patience, and touch around the basket, and uses his length well to seal guys off or shoot over and around his defenders.

When he’s got his back to the basket, he loves a quick spin move and can leave his opponent in the dust. He pulls the spin move out enough that he must watch Paskal Siakam tape, but it became predictable enough that it often trapped him in bad situations. I doubt his back-to-the-basket game will be as important in the NBA as it was at Iowa, but as the impeccable Omer Khan pointed out to me, having a forward who can thrive at attacking mismatches and punishing switches down low is always a good thing in the modern game.

Keegan’s dribble drive game won’t likely be as effective in the NBA as it was in Iowa. His production in college was (unsurprisingly) spectacular; he shot 60.7% on all half-court attempts at the rim in non-post-up plays (76th percentile), and shot 44.7% on all isolation attempts (80th percentile). He won matchups in college due to his patience, length, willingness and ability to muscle straight through defenders, and by being exceedingly crafty around the basket. He shows moments of sharp ball control and coordination that help him get buckets, even if he isn’t creating huge advantages. That said, he was less successful against NBA-level defenders, and he doesn’t have an explosive first step, flexibility on drives, or ball control in tight spaces to make me confident he’ll consistently beat NBA forwards.

When Murray gets to his top speed in the open court, few collegiate defenders at his size could keep up with him, but he couldn’t always create the same advantages in the half-court. He won plenty of plays by sheer force of will, and he’ll do that in the NBA as well, but I believe he lacks the advantage creation skills and athletic tools that his draft stock might indicate. If you’re expecting Murray to be a role-playing scorer, then I’m almost certainly nitpicking. But if you’re banking on Murray becoming a big-time creator, or expecting him to equal Jaden Ivey’s scoring output throughout their careers, you’re betting on outlier improvements in his fluidity, quickness, and ball control.

On defense, Keegan’s production was outstanding, and most of his tape backs up the stats. 1.9 blocks and 1.3 steals per game are insane numbers for a player carrying a near 30% offensive usage rate. You rarely see that level of two-way success, and I’m sure Monte McNair has circled those stock rates at the top of his evaluation for Murray.

Keegan’s length and awareness will give him some switchability at the next level, and he can help any team be better on the defensive end. Despite some stiffness (which led to a number of blowbys), and a propensity to overhelp, I trust Murray to make the most of his tools on defense. He won’t be a game changer for an awful defensive team, but he’s too smart, too big, too physical, and too long to be anything less than a strong piece of a good defensive squad. He loves using his long arms to try and play passing lanes, dig at drivers, or poke away incoming passes to his opponent.

While Murray may lack the flexibility to defend down against NBA guards, he had some impressive moments against Wisconsin and future lotto-selection Johnny Davis.

While his1.9 blocks per game makes Murray seem a strong rim-protecting fit next to Domantas Sabonis, I think his numbers may overstate his abilities. While he absolutely had some truly impressive help-defense blocks, many of his swats came when he was defending drivers. These blocks are no less valuable, but I struggle to expect his tools will lead him to be as successful against NBA drivers. Murray shouldn’t be expected to patrol the low-post at all times, and he’s not going to solve all the Kings rim-protection issues. He’s a promising help and weak-side shot blocker, which is absolutely something the Kings need more of.

Keegan is also a damn strong rebounder, snagging 8.7 rebounds (2.9 on the offensive glass) per contest. While he may be a tad undersized against some NBA bigs, his 6’11 wingspan, awareness around the basket, and willingness to fight for every rebound will be a boon to any NBA squad.

Some analysts have noted that Murray’s best statistical games came against lower-level Big 10 teams; it’s worth noting, but I’m a firm believer in not criticizing players for dominating when you expect them to dominate. In his 35 games, Murray only had one game with below 10 points, and only 8 games where he shot below 40% from the field. He never seems to let the game rattle him in the slightest, highlighted best by this game-securing dunk against Purdue. He’d just thrown down the dagger in the Big 10 title game… and then just runs back on defense.

Murray would undoubtedly help the Kings, or any lottery team, on both ends of the court. He’d become the second best shooter in Sacramento (behind Harrison Barnes), provide further spacing for De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis, and add another transition threat. On defense, he’d give them a semi-switchable combo forward who can play with physicality, offer some rim protection, and attack the passing lanes. The Kings haven’t prioritized forward talent for a decade and a half, and adding one with Keegan’s combination of versatility and composure would help this team tremendously in a lot of eras they struggle in.

That all I said, I don’t project Keegan Murray as a franchise altering talent. Until he shows his pull-up shot can be a full-time weapon or improves his first-step and predictability on drives, I struggle to see how he’ll consistently get his own shot, which is not a concern I have for others in the conversation for #4. I see him as a lock to be a star role player, but one with clear limitations on both ends of the ball. This isn’t a real critique of Murray’s game (lord knows that I’ve favored and draftees with star-role-player upside before), and it doesn’t mean Murray shouldn’t be considered. Betting against smart players is often a fool’s errand, and there’s an argument to be made that Keegan is so strong a fit that he’s the right selection over Ivey, Sharpe, or any of the more project or wonky-fit players. He has way fewer swing skills than most and can start for nearly every lottery team from Day 1. And while it certainly is easy to argue for talent over fit, fit limitations—especially when you’re playing in basketball hell—may not be so simple to overcome as they would for most other non-Kangz rebuilding squads. That said, I would rather see the Kings gamble on the side of star upside; one of Jabari Smith Jr., Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero, or Jaden Ivey will be left at 4, and in my mind, all would be a better selection for a Sacramento team desperate for top-tier talent. The Kings should swing for stars when they have the opportunity to do so.

Most of all, I don’t think projecting Murray as a star role player should be considered an insult. I think some fans have forgotten the value of strong role players, because the ones we’ve had have either failed completely (Dewayne Dedmon), wanted to do way more than they should (Jimmer Fredette), or flashed just enough potential for us to overhype them (Willie Cauley-Stein). But Doug Christie was a role player, the glory Kings’ 5th best starter, and was still one of the most impactful and beloved Kings of the golden era. Murray very well could be the same thing here in Sacramento. And while I may not project Murray as a franchise altering prospect, especially for a franchise as un-alterable as the Sacramento Kangz are, our friend Rory had an excellent point on Twitter:

In my evaluation, Keegan Murray is Kangz-proof, but upside expectations may be too high when considering the talent around him at #4. He’d add much needed shooting upside, a strong play finisher next to Sabonis and Fox, and some much needed defensive switchability. He’s a lock to be a positive two-way contributor, a strong, versatile role player who has consistency and composure to his game that any team would love to have in their locker room. Whether he is worth a top 4 selection is up to Monte McNair to decide.

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andy_sims
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June 8, 2022 10:16 am

Ideally, Detroit will want Ivey enough to trade up and include, at worst JGrant. I’d rather not send Barnes out in a deal like that, because I’ve no doubts that he’d be a great help to Murray’s transition to the NBA. If that can be worked out, I’d give it a long think.

On the other hand, whoever is left available at four will have at least the possibility of being a special player in the league. I wouldn’t dismiss out of hand that possibility for Murray, but I agree with your analysis, on paper, he would appear to have a lesser chance.

These are good problems to have, which doesn’t make them any easier to solve.

SlamsonsRollerskates
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June 8, 2022 10:54 am
Reply to  andy_sims

I agree, I like the potential of Barnes and Murray at our forward spots!

Kings-Rebuild
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June 8, 2022 12:26 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

I think that’s the correct strategy but do you really want to pay Grant what he’s asking for. This again gets down to draft strategy. If you have strong knowledge Detroit wants Ivey then float the rumor the Kings are interested in Ivey. Ask for Stewart and a second rounder to swap picks. We just stole them for nothing. After that, if say Sharpe and Murray are still on the board and you’re indifferent between those two players then start making a deal with Indiana to swap picks and maybe pick up Brogdan.

I wouldn’t get too enamored with Barnes. The Kings were playing 500:basketball when we got him for nothing and haven’t seen that record since. Maybe Barnes and Holmes and a couple of seconds for Portlands 7th pick and a salary filler. To me it all comes down to draft strategy and maximizing our return. The Kings need a lot and just drafting someone at 4 is unlikely to make a dramatic difference at least in the short run.

richie88
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June 8, 2022 1:00 pm
Reply to  Kings-Rebuild

I’d prefer Bey to Grant & Stewart. Idk if the Kings or Portland would do your proposed deal.

Last edited 1 year ago by richie88
andy_sims
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June 8, 2022 1:50 pm
Reply to  Kings-Rebuild

Grant isn’t my first choice, but he’d be a good fit, and if not, he’s an expiring contract, either at the deadline, or next summer. Grant is a good player, so it’s hardly unthinkable that he could make a difference next season.

The worst possible outcome is additional $20 mil freed up a year from now. It’s not everything that you’d want for trading down, but you still have all of your draft assets, and Keegan Murray.

The only hitch is if you’re confident that one of the players at four is going to eventually be so good that you can’t risk passing him up. And with that, we’re right back where we started.

Unless we can somehow get Bey, but I could absolutely live with Diallo, or even Livers, who can spread the floor. He shot 41% from three in college, and even in the small sample size of his pro career, he made 42% from distance.

Kings-Rebuild
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June 8, 2022 2:48 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

all true he’s just not a feasible long term solution. We need to find players who over perform their contracts.

andy_sims
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June 8, 2022 3:57 pm
Reply to  Kings-Rebuild

Agreed, that’s what pushes my interest with Livers, he can easily be thrown in by Detroit if they want to move up. We get Murray and an interesting prospect, and Grant gets a tryout.

Now, how do you feel about trading out of the lottery entirely in order to get a player who has been an all-star in the past two or three seasons? A wing, ideally, but the pick could draw some interesting offers.

Greg
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June 8, 2022 10:34 am

My stance right now is that I would not pick Murray at four, but if the Kings decide they want Murray I hope they can trade down a slot or two and pick up another asset. I don’t dislike Murray, I just have all of Chet/Jabari/Paolo/Ivey higher.

SlamsonsRollerskates
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June 8, 2022 11:00 am
Reply to  Greg

If Murray’s agent is giving us player info, and one of your top 4 is not, does that change your mind?

Greg
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June 8, 2022 11:55 am

No. The info provided by an agent is just one piece of the puzzle. Good organizations can get info from game tape, college coaches, college teammates, high school coaches, high school teammates, friends, teachers, opponents…there’s a million data points you can get. Sometimes you might not have all the data points, but that’s not going to stop a smart organization. For example, Davion Mitchell didn’t work out for the Kings before the draft, but that didn’t stop them from picking him.

SPTSJUNKIE
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June 8, 2022 12:34 pm
Reply to  Greg

But what if he says “he wants to be in Sacramento” or passed McNair a note at his pro day that said “Murray hearts Kings” which I am pretty sure was one of the top factors on Vlade’s draft board?

MaybeNextYear
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June 8, 2022 12:56 pm
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

Then Monte will draft him and trade him a year later.

andy_sims
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June 8, 2022 1:52 pm
Reply to  MaybeNextYear

As long as he brings back another young all-star, I could not care less.

SlamsonsRollerskates
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June 8, 2022 2:17 pm
Reply to  Greg

I agree. I was thinking of the Davion comp too, although I don’t remember if his agent was actively not giving us information. If I do remember though, he was visibly disappointed and surprised when we drafted him. And what a difference a year makes. A year later he’s going to the NBA finals with Fox and his coaches…fun sentence to type. Even if Keegan or another player doesn’t want to be drafted here, take him if he’s the guy. Just an interesting data point to consider in a league where unhappy players have never had more leverage and can possibly force trades.

nonstripedzebra
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June 8, 2022 1:10 pm
Reply to  Greg

Personally although I am rarely not for BPA (have argued against many an older draft pick in the past) I just think in this class its arguable who that is and to what grounds that is being defined by. Ivey is an upside play but I have qualms with the fact that the upside being suggested is isolated in individual production. The limits or leeway a heliocentric initiator warrants should come with a considerable amount of scrutiny. There is more I could say good and bad in his favor but the question is at least grounds for discussing trade downs along with the rushed timeline the franchise has placed themselves under. Each of these offers a chance at one of the wings in Murray, Griffin, Sharpe or Mathurin and Daniels. Not all the deals are necessarily plausible from the other teams end but I think are worth discussing in defining what the teams incentives are in moving the pick and for what costs.

Kings pick 4 for Detroit pick 5 and Saddiq Bey. 
This is predicated on a massive Ivey smokescreen and Detroit thinking they have to do this, but the Kings would fetch a starter grade wing and also likely pick Murray they have debated picking anyway. I don’t think Detroit does this but still. 

Kings pick 4 for Pacers pick 6 and Chris Duarte. 
I think this is possibly a little more plausible in relation to the Ivey Purdue Indiana connection. Some might scoff at that return and I guess thats in part predicted on what DET does at 5 and personal rankings. Murray might still be there but if not the Kings get first pick of the remaining wings. The trade off is for Duarte a good fit on the perimeter and already a plus player. Spacing, playmaking and defense all come. Maybe Brisset could be included?

Kings pick 4 for Blazers pick 7 and Josh Hart
This range the Kings would have to accept that Murray likely is gone. That means looking at possibly Sharpe Griffin, Mathurin and Daniels. But if the Kings rank them marginally off Murray I think this makes some sense. Hart I think has grown into one of the most intriguing players in the league. He addresses many holes that have been targeted as needing improvement. I doubt the Blazers would have interest as they would theoretically be doing this for Ivey. With Dame and Simons I fail to see how that improves them in the quick turnaround they too are shooting for.

Kings pick 4 for Pelicans pick 8 and Herbert Jones
The is a bit spicier. The Kings enter a new lower tier of prospects but likely would still have a pick of one the wings previously mentioned. The trade off is a definition Mike Brown player and phenom rookie Herb Jones (possibly with more in the return?). If the Kings hope to improve their defense Jones adds that in spades along with a cutting game and hints of shooting that warrant interest. Again do the Pelicans have interest in such a deal is likely no but such a discussion is I think likely to a possible return.

Last edited 1 year ago by nonstripedzebra
Want2win
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June 8, 2022 1:21 pm

Bey and Murray, then trade Barnes and Holmes for a good shooter.. would like Duarte and Murray at 6 if possible!

those would both work,

CheekMagnet
June 8, 2022 3:10 pm
Reply to  Want2win

If Pacers are trading up to 4 then it’s to draft Murray. They’re not trading up to 4 for Ivey or Sharpe.

Want2win
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June 8, 2022 4:06 pm
Reply to  CheekMagnet

That why I said if possible I feel they would want Murray…

richie88
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June 8, 2022 4:20 pm
Reply to  Want2win

Depending on what the Kings get for Holmes, I don’t think they’d necessarily need to trade Barnes before the season starts.

nonstripedzebra
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June 8, 2022 1:42 pm

Forgot to include matching salary in the Portland deal Harkless and Len post Draft for Hart I think would work.

jwalker1395
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June 8, 2022 8:47 pm

If the Kings were to trade past Murray’s range, then I’d need a forward in a potential return. I’d be interested in Herb Jones + 8, because Herb could get plugged in immediately at PF and 8 could be one of the guards in Daniels, Sharpe, or Mathurin, who I have all rated about equally. After Murray, I think the forward pool takes a steep drop (I got Sochan and Liddell next, with Griffin being the last good prospect because I don’t like Eason) but there will be good guards for the remainder of the draft.

SlamsonsRollerskates
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June 8, 2022 10:48 am

I really like him at 4, I love him at 5-7 with an additional asset. 6 and 7 seem riskier than 5 though because of a team trading up to poach him. One in the hand or two in the bush? I trust you Monte.

Fox
Off Night/Malik Monk
Barnes
Keegan Murray
Domas

Exciting offense with a…passable defense? Pun intended. Good luck Coach Brown.

BasketballHella
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June 8, 2022 10:53 am

If they are trying to win now this season there is only Murray as an option.

If they have 3-4 years to see what happens then Ivey or any of the others that may fall would be the way to go.

Bryant you said on Twitter Murray is Kangz proof which just means that this situation is inherently not. I can totally see them swinging for Sharpe or Ivey. Not improving much this year with a rookie trying to settle in, letting Monte go, Mike Brown on the Vivek hot seat.

Murray in my mind gives them the shortest path to ending the drought, non Murray hello year 20. Which they still have an amazing shot to make even with him.

He reminds me a lot of Desmond Bane in so much as his mentality and the way he views work as integral on his game as well as how he loves the game and it shows in his IQ.

SPTSJUNKIE
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June 8, 2022 12:36 pm

If they are trying to win now this season there is only Murray as an option.

I’d be a bit warry of leaning too heavily into this. Most rookies simply do not contribute to winning their entire rookie seasons and a few more have adapted and are contributing to winning by April / May (and some of those like Herb Jones and Alvarado last season, are late picks or undrafted).

I think Murray is a bit older and has some translatable skills. But we have also seen a lot of SF/PF types like him actually struggle a bit early in their careers, as they are sort of between positions (need more muscle to play PF consistently, but also can’t really play SF more than situationally either). It took a couple of seasons before guys like Tobias Harris, Barnes, Draymond (though a bit of a different archetype), Aaron Gordon (partially at SF due to team logjam), etc. build the mussel to play PF consistently.

I like Murray. I think his defense is underrated. Was consistently shocked by the tape and think he works as a very modern type of defender that teams like Toronto stockpile.

But it could 100% take him a year or so to put on mussel/match the physicality needed to bang with even guys like Marcus Morris, Jaxon Hayes, Dray/Looney, JJJ, etc. who play PF in the West. Murray isn’t a super-finesse player but he’s not exactly a banger on defense either, so it should be an adjustment for him.

All of this might just be a long way of saying, I hope we don’t think too much about year one, but make the pick (Ivey, Murray, or otherwise) who can have a longer-term impact and that we are not relying on a rookie to add wins next year. Absolute bonus if they do.

richie88
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June 8, 2022 4:37 pm
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

If Murray can’t bang w/big PF’s as a rookie, have Barnes defend them.

All of this might just be a long way of saying, I hope we don’t think too much about year one, but make the pick (Ivey, Murray, or otherwise) who can have a longer-term impact and that we are not relying on a rookie to add wins next year. Absolute bonus if they do.

I agree w/this.

BasketballHella
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June 8, 2022 5:04 pm
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

I totally agree I don’t care who they pick or don’t I’m for the first time ever totally on the outside looking in.

But Monte doesn’t have several years left I believe which is why we are doing things not based on long term view lately.

Super curious to see what if anything they can do with this offseason. I honestly think they are trading totally out to get a big piece just don’t know who.

Also can see Oladipo and his people jockeying to get that MLE here.

Kingsguru21
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June 8, 2022 8:02 pm
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

I’m hoping that if the Kings stay at 4, they really like that player.

richie88
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June 9, 2022 12:45 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

If they stay at #4, either they think there’s a clear BPA &/or they aren’t getting trade offers that they like.

SPTSJUNKIE
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June 9, 2022 6:24 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Fully agree. I really struggle to imagine a good trade down scenario unless we decide to go after an absolute star player. Getting Hart or Kuzma maybe a “safe” move given the risk with draft picks, but doesn’t seem like good value of strategy to me – we need to raise our ceiling a bit more.

Want2win
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June 8, 2022 10:55 am

I love him at 2 or 3 or 4 only player I would take over Keegan is Jabari Smith. Keegan has start potential.. the only reason people seem to knock him is that they think he has a lower ceiling… well why because he isn’t fast twitch explosive ? Or he is a year and 1/2 older than Some of the project guys?

he shoots well from outside, has low post, good defense, excellent BBIQ, team player, works hard, has gotten better… yes sign me up! I say he has just a good of a chance to be a stud player as any of the projected top 6 and less of a chance to be a failure the others.

great fit, fundamentally strong player with talent signs me the F up!

CheekMagnet
June 8, 2022 3:13 pm
Reply to  Want2win

Yep players like him rarely fail. I see poor-man-Duncan or mini-Aldridge.

jwalker1395
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June 8, 2022 8:56 pm
Reply to  CheekMagnet

That game-sealing dunk straight back to defending was some pure Tim Duncan shit

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June 8, 2022 10:59 am

I don’t know whether it’s the memories of Jimmer, Robinson, Bagley and Stauskas altering my judgement, but I wouldn’t be against drafting Murray at four. Why not draft a sure thing that seems to fit perfectly? I know the counter-argument starts and ends with words like ‘upside’, ‘ceiling, and ‘potential’, but especially if the other option is Ivey, I don’t mind the Kings picking Murray.

Kings-Rebuild
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June 8, 2022 12:29 pm

There are no sure things and I don’t know what makes Murray anymore of a sure thing than the others.

richie88
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June 8, 2022 4:45 pm
Reply to  Kings-Rebuild

There are no sure things, but I think Murray has a higher floor than Ivey & Sharpe, who I think are the other prospects in Murray’s tier.

Kosta
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June 8, 2022 11:05 am

How about this strategy:

Draft Keegan, and pick up his brother, too.

That’s 12 fouls Keegan can use in every game before fouling out! (just need to work out the switcheroo in the locker room after the ejection from the first 6 fouls)

comment image

Last edited 1 year ago by Kosta
andy_sims
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June 8, 2022 11:50 am
Reply to  Kosta

This is such a good idea that I can’t believe that no one has thought of it until now. Don’t draft Kris, just give him a highly-paid internship, and let him sit in the locker room in his uniform in case he’s needed.

There is no downside to this.

Greg
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June 8, 2022 11:56 am
Reply to  Kosta

Vivek’s ears just perked up

Adamsite
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June 8, 2022 12:06 pm
Reply to  Greg

“Why play 4 on 5 basketball when you can play 6 on 5 basketball!”

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richie88
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June 8, 2022 4:50 pm
Reply to  Kosta

LOL. Unfortunately, they have some obvious differences. Kris isn’t nearly as good as Keegan & they use different hands when dribbling.

Kingsguru21
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June 8, 2022 8:03 pm
Reply to  richie88

Kris also returned to Iowa.

andy_sims
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June 9, 2022 9:04 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Good, good, keep pushing that cover story.

RobHessing
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June 8, 2022 11:09 am

Murray is firmly my #5 guy. Also, I know nothing.

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June 8, 2022 11:10 am

I wouldn’t pick Murray at 4 because I simply view all of Jabari/Chet/Paolo/Ivey as having much higher chances of being stars, but he’s also the one guy they could take at 4 over those guys where I wouldn’t really be that upset.

SPTSJUNKIE
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June 8, 2022 12:20 pm
Reply to  Aykis16

Well said, this is currently where I am. I have Murray in my third tier, but really on the cusp of being in the second tier.

I would take any of the big 4 over him right now based on upside for all of the reasons very well outlined by Bryant in this article.

But this also isn’t likely to be a Bagley-Doncic situation. If McNair goes with Murray, I’ll be pretty emotionless about it. Feels justifiable and I think there’s a real argument for Murray’s two-way talent giving him upside people are underestimating.

richie88
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June 8, 2022 6:45 pm
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

I see the tiers as:
Tier 1: Jabari, Paolo
Tier 2: Chet
Tier 3: Murray, Ivey, Sharpe

SPTSJUNKIE
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June 8, 2022 7:13 pm
Reply to  richie88

I can see that. Not too far off where I am. I have less idea with Sharpe and have him down one level, but Daniels and Sochan around 3ish as well. Trying to draw a cleaner line with tiers 3 and 4.

Kingsguru21
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June 8, 2022 8:05 pm
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

Trying to draw a cleaner line with tiers 3 and 4.

Good luck!!

richie88
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June 9, 2022 1:05 am
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

OT1H, I value Sharpe’s high ceiling. OTOH, the lack of high level competition is a problem. I originally had Sharpe ahead of Murray & Ivey due to his ceiling & b/c he seemed like a better fit than Ivey, but my worry about the lack of high level competition has dropped him below Murray & Ivey.

I like Daniels a lot & I nearly have him in tier 3, but he’s not quite there, so I have him by himself in tier 4. I also like Sochan & some other prospects that I have in level 5.

nonstripedzebra
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June 9, 2022 7:31 am
Reply to  richie88

I think this gets to what is the Kings rationale and priorities. They have stumbled into a higher trade asset they expected to have a month ago. Earlier this year they forced a more rapid timeline for competing. They need likely at least two plus starters, a good MLE add with limited exits to really even enter the play in conversation.

Ivey is justified based on not passing on upside. In a vacuum I agree with that sentiment but when it comes to opportunity costs and the Kings actions I start to be wary of the logic. Also when comparing Ivey against his peers.

Sharpe has red flags but is similarly a massive upside play with a lower opportunity costs. Albeit with less assurance but with a hypothetical better fit. If the Kings need star upside, is the difference of say a Chris Duarte the separation of assurance in picking an Ivey or Sharpe? Two prospects a month ago they wouldn’t be considering.

I don’t usually advocate this kind of logic in team management but the Kings have kind of forced their hand in a way where they might have to leverage the pick as an asset. Especially when the consensus prospect at 4 is a clunky fit and a need for plus starter or rotation players quickly. If they can trade down based on their other decisions I think it would make sense.

Last edited 1 year ago by nonstripedzebra
jay14bay
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June 8, 2022 11:19 am

fantastically well-written and informative piece. well done, Bryant

aplumley
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June 8, 2022 11:35 am

I have him at 3. I’d take him over Paulo and not look back

richie88
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June 8, 2022 12:47 pm
Reply to  aplumley

I’d easily take Paolo over Murray (& Chet).

Want2win
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June 8, 2022 12:56 pm
Reply to  aplumley

Hell is take him over Chet too but I’m crazy and have a feeling. Of course I felt Franz Wagner was a top 5-6 player last year before draft and many people thought I was way overvaluing him.

I would also say that Paulo will be a good player and will be impactful but don’t think he will be that much better than Murray and we have Sabonis so I think greater impact for kings with slightest player.

chet scares me

Want2win
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June 8, 2022 12:58 pm
Reply to  Want2win

Ugh freaking auto correct/predictive text on iPhone.

greater impact for kings gives Murray the slightest advantage for me.

SexyNapear
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June 8, 2022 11:36 am

Good point: Plays like Harrison Barnes.
Bad point Plays like Harrison Barnes.

Want2win
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June 8, 2022 12:45 pm
Reply to  SexyNapear

accept he doesn’t play like Harrison, Harrison was not as good of a rebounder, in college not as good of a 3pt shooter. He also did not have the low post game that Murray has. But they both make the game look easy and have good outside shots with similar size.

Want2win
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June 8, 2022 2:28 pm
Reply to  Want2win

^except

SexyNapear
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June 8, 2022 4:20 pm
Reply to  Want2win

Sheesh. I guest nobody remembers the hype around Barnes as an NBA prospect.

richie88
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June 8, 2022 4:23 pm
Reply to  SexyNapear

I remember him having a lot of hype before college, but he had less hype going into the draft.

Kings-Rebuild
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June 8, 2022 6:45 pm
Reply to  Want2win

Totally different team dynamics and I’m not sure the value of these comparisons. If McNair is using his scouting department properly I think they will make the best choice. One never knows until the players actually hit the court and I’m sure when all is said and done there will be mistakes.

jveezy
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June 8, 2022 11:46 am

I think it’s worth noting that competence and consistency are franchise-altering traits for our particular franchise at this point. While I might not necessarily agree with it if they picked him at 4, I’ll be happy to get any useful player who’s a consistent contributor. Our last couple draft picks have been nice in that regard.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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June 8, 2022 12:02 pm

He’s still #3 on my Kings centric board. I totally get that Ivey might be the better player, but I think Murray is the guy who makes the Kings better overall. He just fits so nicely with Sabonis and Fox. I just dream of him cutting off ball with Sabonis’ passing skills or roaming the perimeter for spot up 3’s off of Fox’s drives and kick outs.

I keep seeing the Harrison Barnes comps, and I get it, but I actually see more of a Rashard Lewis and Shawn Marion blend of player. The long arms on Murray cannot be underestimated. He has the ability to be a very good defender AND shooter. Not a star, but a damn good role player who averages 18 and 7, hits from 3, and averages a block per game without anyone really noticing. Those types of players are rarer and more valuable than you realize.

SPTSJUNKIE
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June 8, 2022 12:32 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Yeah, agree with you. Setting aside BPA for a moment, Murray’s fit with the roster is fantastic.

And I also struggle with the Barnes comps. I see it a bit on offense. But defensively, I think Keegan is quicker and springier than Barnes ever was. Block rate alone isn’t everything, but Murray’s block rate was 7.2% and 6.4% in his two season. And Barnes’ was 1.4% and 1.1%.

I think Bryant is spot on here and in the excelling Kings Pulse pod that Murray is not a pure rim protector and his block rate is likely to be lower in the NBA. But I think his wing defender and his ability to provide resistance / congestion around the hoop will be more in-line with other types of SF/PFs that are impact defenders in the NBA and that Barnes as never been able to give us.

Almost picture a hybrid of Tobias Harris on offense and a higher awareness Aaron Gordon on defense. Appreciate wanting to gamble on Ivey over that combination. But that’s a high level starter / low level all star.

Adamsite
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June 8, 2022 1:02 pm
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

I think it’s just going to come down to who Monte feels is BPA, because at #4 BPA definitely trumps fit. That being said, if Monte and the rest of his staff have Murry Sharpe and Ivey in the same tier and BPA is debatable or just marginally favors one prospect, then fit has to come into consideration. That’s where the pick is Murray.

Basically, if Monte has Ivey a full and solid tier above Murray, then pick Ivey. No arguments there. If not, pick Murray.

MichaelMack
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June 9, 2022 8:21 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

I think the Marion comp is pretty apt Adam.

For one, I use comps to signify a level of contributor, not a direct player comparison, but it seems like Murray has an opportunity and likelihood to be in the Marion range.

Would the fanbase be excited if Murray became a Mikal Bridges level contributor? Khris Middleton? John Collins? I get the idea that you have to swing for the fences for a superstar, but look at how many superstars were found later in the draft.

To me, as a rabid NBA fan since 1979, I think the accumulation of assets is important. Rather than finding the unicorn to build around, finding players easy to build with, like a player so well rounded they are Kangz proof. (That was my biggest issue with Boogie. You had to build around his selfishness and low efficiency. He couldn’t just play with anyone. I wonder if Doncic is going to have that issue).

That ties into my thoughts on positional scarcity. Every year, each team is looking for a stretch 4. The hot names the last two years at the trade deadline were Harrison Barnes and Jerami Grant. Players like Covington, PJ Tucker, and Jae Crowder are still coveted even as their effectiveness wanes. Finding effective guards is easy in comparison. Most teams are stacked in the back court.

I know a trade that is bandied about is trading back to Detroit and getting Grant and the #5. I would love that as Monte will be able to flip Grant at the deadline and hopefully still get Murray. I don’t think Detroit does that, but this is might be a crazy off season if LaVine and Ayton are involved in sign and trades, if Miami dangles Herro/Robinson/draft picks for a star, if the Nets move on from Irving, if Dallas decides to go all in. The more good players we have, the easier we could package them up for a great player. Great players are never free agents anymore, they are always extended then traded. We need to have as many assets as possible, and try and be good then once there figure out how to be great. Murray could be a key component in that process.

richie88
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June 8, 2022 12:39 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

I have the top 3 bigs above Murray, but I now think Murray’s the #4 prospect. However, I think Murray’s still in the same tier as Ivey & Sharpe. Idk if he’ll improve as much as Ivey & Sharpe, but Murray’s starting from a higher floor.

I don’t think Marion’s a good comparison for Murray. Marion was much more athletic than Murray.

Adamsite
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June 8, 2022 1:08 pm
Reply to  richie88

I agree Marion was more athletic. I bought up Marion because of his length and ability to fill a stat sheet while in the shadow of two bigger stars. I think Murray can be that kind of role player who does a bunch of under the radar things that helps the team win.

richie88
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June 8, 2022 2:21 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

I’d argue that Marion was better than Amare. Murray could fill a stat sheet like Marion, but I still don’t like the comparison he isn’t as athletic as Marion & it seems like Murray will score more from the perimeter.

Hobby916
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June 8, 2022 6:18 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Like a pre-injury Otto Porter?

andy_sims
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June 8, 2022 1:58 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

The Shawn Marion comparison is an interesting one, and as a ceiling, not remotely bad. Murray will almost certainly be a better three-point shooter.

THIS IS NOT HELPING ME MAKE A DECISION.

Kingsguru21
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June 8, 2022 8:08 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Nobody cares, Sims.

andy_sims
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June 8, 2022 9:08 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

uh doy

Kingsguru21
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June 9, 2022 5:23 am
Reply to  andy_sims

LOL Yeah.

I’m intrigued to see how Monte handles this. And because there isn’t a clear cut answer to these questions, IMO, the only guarantee I see is that a large segment of the fanbase will be unhappy with the decision. Which is usually the case anyway.

I’m excited for draft day just to see what Monte does.

andy_sims
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June 9, 2022 9:21 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

There seems to be, more or less, a consensus, around here at least:

  • If one of the top three drops, take him.
  • If Ivey is at four, even if Murray makes the most sense, Ivey may be too good to pass up
  • If Murray is taken at four, he’s going to be a good player, and could be great
  • If we swap players with Detroit and still get Murray, and a good asset(s) from the Pistons, that’s a win
  • If we trade with Indy and get Duarte and six, and don’t get Murray, there are still some interesting players available, including Sharpe (who is certainly controversial, and rightly so)
  • If we trade the pick for a young all-star level player, we could certainly do worse

We don’t agree on a lot of things here, and I wouldn’t be shocked if the larger fan base has very different opinions, but for TKH, this is practically a kumbaya moment. People seem to have their minds open to a lot of different possibilities.

Kingsguru21
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June 9, 2022 9:55 am
Reply to  andy_sims

Excellent synopsis regarding your bullet points.

People seem to have their minds open to a lot of different possibilities.

I think alot of that is there’s something here for every approach. Unlike trades where most of the time there’s either ‘like or dislike.’

What I think McNair will try to do is split the difference and both draft upside and improve the ability to make a win now move.

Can he do that? We shall see. My spidey sense is the Kings take Ivey or Sharpe and trade back, though.

RobHessing
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June 8, 2022 12:16 pm

Bryant, these deep dive player profiles…

D0D2AC8F-010C-4B67-A9D4-E5F25E9A28F4.gif
richie88
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June 8, 2022 12:30 pm

While I think Murray’s still in the same tier as Ivey & Sharpe, I now think Murray’s the #4 prospect. Idk if he’ll improve his driving ability, but I wouldn’t bet against him improving his pull-up jumper. His game’s improved in plenty of ways, so it seems like he’s a hard worker who will still have some improvement in the NBA. Idk if he’ll improve as much as Ivey & Sharpe, but he’s starting from a higher floor.

Want2win
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June 8, 2022 12:47 pm
Reply to  richie88

I bet he will be a very good cutter especially with his catch and shoot ability. Camp at the three Sabonis in then high post hitting a cutting Murray, then the next time he takes the cut and gets the wide open 3!

richie88
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June 8, 2022 12:52 pm
Reply to  Want2win

I don’t think his cutting ability is in question. It’s his driving ability that needs to improve.

Want2win
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June 8, 2022 1:00 pm
Reply to  richie88

we have plenty of players that can drive.. yes it would be great to have someone that can c&S, play in low post, cut and drive to hoop but I will gladly take 3 of those qualities.

richie88
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June 8, 2022 1:49 pm
Reply to  Want2win

I’d like to have him diversify his ways to score. Whether that happens by improving his driving ability or his pull-up shooting doesn’t matter to me (though the latter seems more likely to me).

eddie41
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June 8, 2022 12:37 pm

Do some of these excepts apply equally to Ivey?

“Murray is a lock to be a positive player on both ends of the court …” “To have that role on offense, that much success on defense, and that low a mistake rate is bonkers.” “Even if his touches drop in the NBA, he will find ways to impact the game without the ball in his hands.” “You rarely see that level of two-way success …” “Keegan’s length and awareness will give him some switchability at the next level, and he can help any team be better on the defensive end”. “Keegan Murray is Kangz-proof,”

If not, are you sure Ivey would be a franchise altering talent?

A couple more positives I’ve been reading about Murray which were not mentioned directly in this article: motor and work ethic.

SPTSJUNKIE
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June 8, 2022 1:20 pm
Reply to  eddie41

If not, are you sure Ivey would be a franchise altering talent?

I think that’s the potential trade off. I hate how the word safe gets thrown around for lower ceiling upperclassmen, as they often are not safer than underclassmen.

With that said, I think the debate here is:

Murray has the physical attributes, skills, and awareness to be as close as you can get to a lock to be a quality NBA starter (even one whose ceiling we may be underestimating). But he would need a crazy growth spurt or outlier development to have a chance to be a top 20 talent in the league.

Ivey has the physical attributes and enough skill and awareness that if he can improve his shot/runner (both set and off the dribble) and passing, he has the potential to be a top 20 player. However, if is shot never comes around and he’s more of a pure scorer, he could wind up a career bench player, as sort of a rich man’s Ish Smith. That still has value, but is a lesser outcome and one that is trickier to fit into some team builds.

So the question is how much do we want to pursue ceiling versus penciling in a 10 year starter with low level all star upside (let’s say 1-2 years as an All Star bench player, injury replacement).

eddie41
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June 8, 2022 1:45 pm
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

I don’t know. James Jett was really fast but for some reason didn’t pan out to be Jerry Rice. Maybe Ish Smith could have been Jerry Rice. I don’t know, but that’s just about as much analysis as anyone has done for Jaden Ivey.

I mean, the article sounds like a desperate plea to somehow get Keegan Murray on this team, but the author needs a knight in shining armor to rescue him from the castle tower to save him from an arranged marriage with Jaden Ivey.

SPTSJUNKIE
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June 8, 2022 1:54 pm
Reply to  eddie41

I don’t know. James Jett was really fast but for some reason didn’t pan out to be Jerry Rice. Maybe Ish Smith could have been Jerry Rice. I don’t know, but that’s just about as much analysis as anyone has done for Jaden Ivey.

The thing with Ivey is that he’s not just fast. He has fantastic body control and is able to almost slither through traffic and then have enough hang time and touch to finish inside at a very high rate.

It’s insane watching his film, every coach knew that Purdue was going to try to get Ivey going towards the hoop and game planned around stopping him. They would throw 2-3 bodies at him and yet he still shot 66% at the rim, while taking 37% of his shots there.

Now it’s possible his other skills do not develop and he’s a more limited player, as described. But he’s not just fast or athletic. He’s an extremely talented player with some very real skills…. and a couple of holes in his game that are addressable, but will limit him if he cannot or does not address them.

Want2win
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June 8, 2022 4:12 pm
Reply to  eddie41

Keegan Murray will be to the kings as Cooper Kupp is to the Rams!. Not flashy but darned Todd and productive because of fundamentals, bbiq etc!

kupps 40 time was like 4.6

Kings-Rebuild
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June 8, 2022 12:38 pm

From the author:
He’s a lock to be a positive two-way contributor, a strong, versatile role player who has consistency and composure to his game that any team would love to have in their locker room. 

I guess it’s how you define positive two-way contributor but to suggest he’s a lock is simply not true.

JackassCentral916
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June 8, 2022 3:13 pm
Reply to  Kings-Rebuild

Very, very few players are. The talking heads all said that T Rob at 5 was the safest pick in the draft. He was a sure thing.

richie88
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June 8, 2022 3:53 pm

T-Rob was considered a safer bet than other prospects, but I don’t think he was considered a sure thing. I certainly wasn’t sure if his game would translate to the NBA.

NorCalKingsFan
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June 8, 2022 9:51 pm

T-Rob had plenty of negatives in his scouting report, but that was a time when scouts really over-valued athleticism, or at least the Kings scouting department.

andy_sims
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June 10, 2022 4:13 pm
Reply to  NorCalKingsFan

Didn’t he come into the draft listed at 6’9″ and hit training camp at about 6’6″?

murraytant
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June 8, 2022 1:09 pm

Murray is a fine player. He is solid and safe. I would not be upset if Monte picked him at 4.
On the other hand, I do believe that the current top 4 are either a better pick or have more potential (Ivey) If a teams gets lucky to get #4, go for the franchise guy.
There are other options: if Ivey falls to 4 as expected, Detroit may want to trade 5 for 4 and throw in an asset. Detroit loves Ivey and if the asset makes sense and Monte feels the Ivey risk is too high, then trade down one spot and get Murray +.
if somebody, like Detroit, jumps to #2 for Ivey, one of the big 3 big guys falls to #4. First option, take the falling big. Second option- if this is Chet and Monte is not sold on him, trade to #5 and get assets + Murray. Ironically, this could be OKC. They do own #12. Is it worth a 12 for them to get Chet?
I think Chet is fine but Murray might be a better fit especially if Monte can get a sweetener.
If the asset from Detroit is a player, Kings have to match salary. Grant ? maybe. Stewart- no.
Most likely scenario- Ivey at 4. another un-balanced roster.

andy_sims
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June 10, 2022 4:14 pm
Reply to  murraytant

I think that you’re supposed to recuse yourself about Keegan.

OG_Aggie
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June 8, 2022 1:13 pm

I think we draft the highest rated player* at 4, then see if we are blown away by an offer for him. If not, then we have a shot at developing a star. If so, more pieces we need.

*I’m not convinced Ivey will be there at #4. It could be any of the top guys, even Smith.

outrider
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June 8, 2022 1:26 pm

I would be fine taking him at 4 if that’s how Monte wants to roll. To me, the only thing he can’t really improve upon is his athleticism. Is there any reason to believe he couldn’t clean up his handle or become more proficient shooting off the dribble? Rare is the player who is a complete product when they enter the league.

As for athleticism, he looks athletic enough to me. IIRC, there were the same types of questions around Luka, but nobody is concerned about that now even though he isn’t more athletic than before. Not to say that he’ll be a Luka caliber player, but there were some questions about Luka’s athleticism at the time and it’s not really anything people talk about anymore. Bagley had the athleticism and not much else and we saw how that went.

If Monte ultimately goes another direction, so be it, but I’d have no problem with Keegan being the guy in the Kings uni next season.

Last edited 1 year ago by outrider
BestHyperboleEver
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June 8, 2022 1:37 pm

He’s one of 5 guys I’d be happy to pick at #4 if, in fact the Kings draft at 4. And he’s the one I fully expect the Kings to select.

Sacto_J
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June 8, 2022 1:41 pm

BWest, you sir are the standard bearer for draft profiles. Can you just make this your full time job between March and June?
I think Murray is our second best option behind one of the top 3. I’d take him over Ivey because I just don’t see Ivey in the same talent level as the top 3 at all but haven’t really done a deep dive on him yet. Mostly because A) Monte seems to have a penchant for small ball going back to his time in HOU, and B) I’d like to see Fox succeed here to validate…something. Maybe the ownerships steadfast belief that he’s that guy. And only because if that comes to fruition we’re better off moving forward.
Anyway, I absolutely appreciate your efforts on these, B. Thank you!

superless_superteam
June 8, 2022 2:25 pm

I’m no expert, but I have a few opinions when it comes to considering star potential:

Murray might not have star-like qualities yet, but I do see potential. He’s long enough to get his shot off pretty well, it seems. I think reaching star potential depends on his ability to shoot more consistently and improve his handle, but he’s at least someone you trust will be a good shooter. Even Buddy improved his handle (by quite a lot). Perhaps he will never become an elite playmaker, but his physical tools are impressive.

This brings me to my next point: There are so many good guards in this league. However, it feels so much more difficult to find really good SF/PF. Ones that can shoot and defend multiple positions are at a premium. In that regard, Murray does feel like a rare find, and perhaps a more impactful player than people are really giving him credit for (at least potentially).

Of course, Ivey seems like he will be special. It’s hard to pass up, but there are so many good guards in this league, and many on losing teams. Not to say he isn’t worth a hard look, but I’d be much happier if we traded a guard for a good wing when selecting him. I just think the guard-heavy team strategy is not… effective…

Thoughts?

richie88
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June 8, 2022 2:28 pm

It definitely seems like it’s harder to find good forwards than good guards.

andy_sims
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June 8, 2022 4:01 pm
Reply to  richie88

That’s true. There have always been plenty of little buggers who can shoot and distribute.

Kingsguru21
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June 8, 2022 8:19 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Your children, amirite or amirite?

Last edited 1 year ago by Kingsguru21
andy_sims
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June 8, 2022 9:09 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Shiiiit, my son is 6’5″.

Kingsguru21
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June 9, 2022 5:30 am
Reply to  andy_sims

Buying furniture that fits him must be fun.

andy_sims
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June 9, 2022 9:23 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

He isn’t allowed on the furniture.

Kingsguru21
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June 9, 2022 9:39 am
Reply to  andy_sims

What about standing upright indoors?

Sacto_J
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June 13, 2022 2:55 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

a week late, but…
Can he play small forward?

Raiderfusion
June 10, 2022 4:24 am

Great points, this young man has a well rounded game. Murray is an outstanding defender already, Coach Brown is a very good DC it’s a perfect fit. HB will be his mentor on the court. This young man is a perfect fit for our team. Sharpe may be a star some day, but for now he’s an unproven talent that may be great. I want the more proven talent who the last half of the year put up great numbers against some very good teams leading up to, and into the tournament. He was outstanding down the stretch. Everything I’d want my pick to be. The pick has to be Murray, or we could end up pulling another MB111 out of our butt, just keep Ranidive out of the mix.

Falconsfury
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June 8, 2022 3:17 pm

Who has the highest Bball IQ? If it’s Keegan, take him. No more 2nd jumpers please

highland_doug
June 8, 2022 3:31 pm

The dialogue around Keegan Murray is eerily reminiscent of the dialogue around Paul Pierce. There’s this weird assumption that a polished collegiate player must translate to nothing more than a decent, but not great, NBA player. It’s why Paul Pierce slipped to 10th.

Paul Pierce is never going to have a place on the NBA’s Mount Rushmore. But he was near the top of the league for a really long time and he won a title. It wouldn’t shock me at all if Keegan Murray’s career tracked similarly.

The Kings should take him and not eff this up trying to overthink it. He fits great, his floor is low, and his ceiling is not nearly as low as people would lead you to believe. The guy’s got an excellent chance at being a 22 ppg/7 rpg player for the next dozen years. That’s nothing you casually discard.

Last edited 1 year ago by highland_doug
andy_sims
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June 8, 2022 4:02 pm
Reply to  highland_doug

This is sensible, and as such, flagged.

Raiderfusion
June 10, 2022 4:35 am
Reply to  highland_doug

Great comparison! All his games leading up to and including the tournament were fantastic to watch. He willed his team to win in almost every game. He’s a natural born leader by example. I’ve got a feeling we’ll miss big if we fail to draft him.

KingsFanKrish
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June 8, 2022 3:50 pm

Fair analysis here. I too would take Smith, Holmgren, Banchero & Ivery over Murray. However, it is very close between Ivey and Murray. I would Tier Smith Holmgren & Banchero together. I have Ivey and Murray a tier just behind those four, but well ahead of the next tier of players. Ivey gets the nod over Murray for me because his upside appears to be slightly higher. I don’t see Ivey as having a slam dunk clear higher ceiling. Thus, I would not be mad at all if Monte took Murry at 4. The preferred option if he really sees Murray as equal to better than Ivey would be to trade back a spot or two. The dream scenario would be to walk away with J. Grant on an extended deal and Murray.

sethwg
June 8, 2022 4:07 pm

Just my 2 cents, but there’s a lot of value in knowing that with a guy like Keegan you’re high-performing NBA player. The Kings aren’t the Kings because they missed out on any one specific player (The Suns didn’t draft Luka, they’ve managed to make it work), it’s because the vast majority of our draft picks aren’t even NBA players. If you walk away from every draft with some kind of impact player, your franchise will be in good shape. Heck, every once in a while one of them will exceed your expectations and become a franchise player. We’ve seen the impact of solid drafting just in the last two years, where Monte nabbed Haliberton and Davion. Davion projects to be a very good 6th man at the very least and we swapped Haliberton for Sabonis, currently the best player on our team.

On top of that, Keegan is exactly the kind of guy (bankable NBA skills on day 1, good athlete, impeccable intangibles, high-IQ) who could outperform his projected ceiling. Ivey shows good flashes, but I can think of several guys in the last few years alone who had very similar set of tools and skills who are complete busts. IQ >>>> Tools, especially in the modern NBA. I don’t mean to disparage Ivey too much, I’ll be excited if we draft him, but for me I’d pick Murray. High floors are hugely underrated.

UpgradedToQuestionable
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June 8, 2022 5:02 pm

I enjoyed the write up! Thank you for addressing the talents and skills, both plus and minus for the player – Keegan Murray plus the fit vs. talent debate and how it relates to the Upside scale. You checked all the boxes with this analysis. Thanks!

You mentioned Harrison Barnes – He was a #7 pick in the 2012 draft (AD, MKG (remember him!), Bradley Beal, Dion Waiters, Thomas Robinson, Damian Lillard where the 1-6 before him). I mention this as both a reminder that we speculate and postulate on the cards, but the hands are played very differently. (redraft those 7… AD/Dame, Beal… and Barnes is 4th and that is pretty solid Top 3 – just like this year – is Ivey Russel Westbrook or Dion Waiters? Another 2012 draft tidbit – #35 was Draymond Green).

Are there any other player comparisons that you like for Keegan Murray? I appreciate your mentioning that his development is “Kangz proof”.

I am looking forward to your next post.

Last edited 1 year ago by UpgradedToQuestionable
NorCalKingsFan
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June 8, 2022 9:31 pm

I think its absolutely insane to believe its too soon to pick him at 4 but just fine at 5. If DET doesn’t make an offer when Ivey is still on the board, then I’d take Murray and feel comfortable in my belief that he will be like a bigger Hali with different skills…that glue guy who does all the little things.

We’d have him on a rookie scale contract while trying to figure out if the Fox & Ox works. If not, they’ll likely be traded or would have moved on and Murray will likely have proved that he can still fit with any roster, not too mention he would still be a trade asset as every team needs players like him so that their star-players can concentrate and spend energy just doing what they do best.

Milkman
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June 8, 2022 9:37 pm

I like the Paul Pierce comparison better than the one I came up with: “Baby Duncan” lol.
A cross between Pierce and good Antoine Walker would be worth it.

Sir_tajj
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June 8, 2022 10:49 pm

What do you guys think about these couple of trade ideas?

trading 4 + salary fillers for Pel’s 7 + Herb Jones and Larry nance.

or

trading 4 + salary fillers for Wizard’s 10 + Kuzma and Kispert

or

trading 4 + salary filler for Hornets 13, 15 + PJ Washington.(Bridges would be dream come true but I doubt there’s any hope for that)

they balance out the roster. I like the top 4 in the draft but non of them seem like franchise altering players. So if we can add multiple proven above average role players, instead of adding one potentially above average starter, wouldn’t it be better for building a competitive team?

richie88
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June 9, 2022 1:22 am
Reply to  Sir_tajj

I generally don’t like the idea of trading back past #6 since I think that there’s a definite top 6 in this draft. I’d want a legit All-Star if the Kings trade back past #6.

Kingsguru21
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June 10, 2022 8:53 am

Thanks for the great piece Bryant.

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