He is a successful pedigree player. Analysts praise him, and coaches who see his behavior and work ethic are not far behind. It may be the “safest” choice in the entire druff class.
And somehow the latter is held against him. The year is 2020, and of course we’re talking about the outlook for Tire’s Haliburton, Iowa’s state guard. Fast forward to 2022 and we have exactly the same conversation with Keegan Murray, who is a prospect from Iowa.
It seems that after the fifth selection of the NBA draft, a three-man competition is underway, where two of the following are guaranteed: Jaden Ivey, Bennedict Mathurin, Keegan Murray.
Many people’s saliva flows into Ivey after his truly next level of athleticism, which would already be among the best in the NBA he’s stepping into. There are others who look at Mathurin’s two-sided potential, his pretty high-arc three-point, and tremendous transition ability, and say, “This is Cade Cunningham’s perfect complement.”
I was one of them. I took Mathurin’s fifth choice in SB Nation’s pattern design, with Murray still at the table.
And then there’s Murray. In college, he surpassed the productivity competition. Among the top 100 players in Bart Torvik’s NCAA database, Murray ranks first in terms of exchange points (PORPAGATU! – what a fun name). In statistics that are a little less … biting, he ranks 1st in the Box Plus-Minus overall, 1st in the box plus-minus, 14th in the attack rating, and 14th in the overall true shooting percentage.
Murray is the only player in college basketball with at least 50 points (67) and more than 100 three-point attempts (166). The guy is a walking bucket.
Let us go back to Haliburton and some of the concerns that people had about him before drafting it. From Mike Schmitz, then on ESPN and now a Portland Trail Blazers Talent Assessor:
As we saw the 2019 FIBA World Championship Gold Medal on the U.S. Under-19s team surrounded by Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green and Reggie Perry, Haliburton comes to life as an intermediary alongside elite talent. Critics, however, point to questions about Haliburton’s ability to make a drip, his draw jumper, and the ball’s defense when he’s not with great teammates.
Yes, Haliburton was an effective, great teammate and a firm contributor. But there were questions about his final position and the level of rise.
Sometimes we are so obsessed with hitting at home that we don’t see obvious greatness staring straight in the face.
However, Haliburton’s profile states that ESPN spokesman Kevin Pelton came second in Haliburton’s overall standings after Lonzo Ball.
Scroll back to 2022 and we’ll check Pelton again. Murray is third after Chet Holmgren and Jabari Smith Jr.
Here’s what John Hollinger writes about Murray, who finished 7th on his last big table after both Ivey (3rd) and Mathurin (5th).
Murray is not a high-profile athlete or a knockdown shooter. He’s fine – 37.3 percent of 3 and 74.9 percent in two years in Iowa – but his all sorts of tricks as a scorer give him real value.
It’s fair to ask how much daylight this part of his game at the NBA level gets, because he doesn’t create a simple separation and isn’t a great distributor.
Ultimately, however, Hollinger notes that people may underestimate Murray’s potential production and efficiency:
Going back to the fact that we’ve seen this movie before with men like TJ Warren and Cedric Ceballos – smooth strikers who lacked top-notch athleticism but felt insane about scores and found buckets in the game stream. League underestimates such men sometimes because they don’t have a light box to slip into, but I’m pretty sure Murray could continue to rotate at worst, and the plus is a 20-point thrower.
A safe choice. “worst case rotation forward” with a “20 point thrower” plus. So my question is, what’s wrong with the safe? Why does it have to become a dirty word?
It makes perfect sense for NBA GMs to ask the following questions because they are important. What kind of man could be an NBA player? Who could be on the floor during the crunch of Game 7? Who could be the future All Star?
But at the same time, the GM must be satisfied that the answer to any of these questions is “no one.” Because if you tell yourself about the 5% probability that someone will go far beyond not only the expected result, but also some mythical ceiling that doesn’t really exist, you’re wasting first-round choices on men who can’t. really play and never understand.
Sometimes it’s better not to invent yourself. This year, it could mean that Keegan Murray is the 5th best overall player. The safe may not sell, but it will often help you win a lot of basketball games.
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