2022 NBA Draft: The case for preserving it easy and drafting Keegan Murray

He is a participant with a pedigree of success. The analytics rave about him, and the coaches who see his demeanor and work ethic aren’t far behind. He may very well be the “most secure” decide in the complete draft class.

And by some means that very last thing is held towards him. The yr is 2020, and we’re, after all, speaking about Tyrese Haliburton, guard prospect out of Iowa State. Quick ahead to the yr 2022 and we’re having the very same dialog about Keegan Murray, ahead prospect out of Iowa.

There appears to be a three-man race for the fifth decide within the NBA Draft with two of the next assured to be accessible: Jaden Ivey, Bennedict Mathurin, Keegan Murray.

Loads of people salivate over Ivey due to his really next-level athleticism that might already be among the many greatest the NBA has to supply the second he steps on the courtroom. There are others who have a look at the two-way potential of Mathurin, his fairly high-arcing 3-point shot and his super skill in transition and say, “that’s the good complement to Cade Cunningham.”

I used to be certainly one of them. I took Mathurin with the fifth decide within the SB Nation mock draft with Murray nonetheless on the board.

After which there may be Murray. He lapped the competitors in productiveness on the courtroom in school. Of the highest 100 gamers in Bart Torvik’s NCAA database, Murray is No. 1 in his catch-all factors over substitute (PORPAGATU! — what a enjoyable title). In stats which might be rather less … toothsome, he is No. 1 in total Field Plus-Minus, Offensive Field Plus-Minus, third in offensive ranking, and 14th in total true taking pictures proportion.

Murray is the one participant in school basketball with at the least 50 dunks (67) and greater than 100 3-point makes an attempt (166). The dude is a strolling bucket.

Let’s return to Haliburton and a number of the considerations individuals identified about him main as much as the draft. From Mike Schmitz, then at ESPN and now a expertise evaluator with the Portland Path Blazers:

As we noticed when surrounded by Cade CunninghamJalen Inexperienced and Reggie Perry on the gold medal Group USA Below-19 squad on the 2019 FIBA World Cup, Haliburton comes alive as a facilitator subsequent to elite expertise. Nevertheless, critics level to questions on Haliburton’s skill to create off the dribble, his pull-up jumper and his on-ball protection when he is not flush with nice teammates.

Sure, Haliburton was environment friendly, an amazing teammate and a secure guess. However there have been questions of his final place his and the extent of his upside his.

Generally we get so obsessive about hitting the home-run swing that we will not see the plain greatness gazing us proper within the face.

In that very same Haliburton profile, it is famous that ESPN’s Kevin Pelton had Haliburton rated second total behind solely Lonzo Ball main into the draft.

Quick ahead once more to 2022 and we test in on Pelton once more. He has Murray rated third total behind simply Chet Holmgren and Jabari Smith Jr.

This is what John Hollinger writes about Murray, who he positioned seventh on his ultimate large board behind each Ivey (third) and Mathurin (fifth).

Murray is neither a high-wire athlete nor a knockdown shooter. He ‘s nice and all — 37.3 p.c from 3 and 74.9 p.c from the road in two years at Iowa — but it surely ‘s his all-around wiles his as a scorer that present his actual worth his.

It is honest to query how a lot daylight that a part of his sport will obtain on the NBA degree, as a result of he does not create straightforward separation and is not an amazing distributor.

Finally, although, Hollinger ends by noting individuals is likely to be undervaluing the potential manufacturing and effectiveness of Murray:

What I get again to is that we have seen this film earlier than with guys like TJ Warren and Cedric Ceballos — easy forwards who lacked top-drawer athleticism however had loopy really feel for scoring and discovering buckets within the stream of the sport. The league undervalues ​​guys like this generally as a result of they do not have a straightforward field to slip into, however I am fairly assured Murray could be a rotation ahead at worst, and the upside is a 20-point scorer.

A secure decide. “a rotation ahead at worst” with the upside of a “20-point scorer.” So my query is, what’s unsuitable with secure? Why does it must develop into a unclean phrase?

It’s completely cheap for NBA GMs to ask the next questions as a result of they’re necessary. Which man may very well be an All-NBA participant? Who may very well be on the ground in crunch time of a sport 7? Who may very well be a future All-Star?

However on the identical time, that GM have to be snug with the reply to any of these questions being “no one.” As a result of it’s while you discuss your self into the 5% probability of somebody reaching far past not simply an anticipated end result however to some legendary “ceiling” that does not really exist that you find yourself losing first-round picks on guys who cannot actually play and by no means determine it out.

Generally it’s best to not outthink your self. This yr which may imply one of the best decide at No. 5 total is Keegan Murray. Secure may not promote, however typically occasions it helps you win loads of basketball video games.

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