Well, it’s finally over. No more late nights stressing about if the Sacramento Kings trade their pick, or who they will select if they keep it. They kept it, and used it to select forward Keegan Murray from Iowa. Winner of the Karl Malone Award (2022), consensus first-team All-American (2022), and Big Ten Tournament MVP (2022).
So how will Murray actually fit with the Kings? Honestly very well.
Keegan Murray is a super versatile on-ball defender who can handle wings and bigs, and possibly serve as a small-ball center. Great fit as a finisher on offense next to creators like De'Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis in the Kings frontcourt.
— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) June 24, 2022
Although he may not have been the player a lot of people wanted to land in Sacramento, he brings almost everything they need. The Kings lack three major things: defense, shooting, and wing depth. Murray fills all of those needs.
Murray is 6-foot-8, 225 lbs, and has a 6-foot-11 wingspan. Eerily similar to Harrison Barnes. He finished his sophomore year at Iowa averaging 23.5 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.9 blocks, and 1.3 steals. He did this while shooting almost 40% from deep and 55% from the field.
Murray will fit nicely alongside Domantas Sabonis in the frontcourt. On the offensive end, Murray can help create space on the floor with efficient shooting from deep, but also has a knack for attacking the basket. Look for Sabonis to find him cutting to the basket when he has a lane.
On the defensive end, he is a terrific on-ball defender and can guard multiple positions. Murray also has a knack for rebounding, averaging almost three offensive boards per game last year.
He also fits nicely alongside De’Aaron Fox. Fox attracts lots of attention when he drives in the paint and will be looking towards Murray often as an option to kick it out to. Murray will be the Kings third scoring option and can garner a lot of points in this manner.
“I mean, I don’t really care who I play, I’m gonna give 100 percent,” Murray said in an interview with the New York Post. “I don’t really care what anybody says about me, I think criticism is better than praise because that means you have to work on stuff, so yeah, I have a chip on my shoulder for sure.”
Statistics aside, Murray also has the basketball IQ and mindset that will help him thrive in Sacramento. The Kings face doubt and criticism more than most teams due to their lack of success over the years.
This season, with a new head coach and a talented roster, the pressure will be on for them to end their playoff drought. A lot of this weight will be on Murray’s shoulders to help the Fox and the Ox lead the cowbell kingdom out of its misery.