POP 2022 NBA Draft Scouting Report: Keegan Murray

Keegan Murray

With the NBA Draft a little over a week away, the Detroit Pistons are set to begin one of the biggest offseasons in franchise history. After securing the number one pick in the 2021 NBA Draft and selecting a generational talent in Cade Cunningham, Detroit’s luck did not veer the same way in 2022, falling to the fifth pick in the draft. With “the big three” of Jabari Smith Jr, Chet Holmgren, and Paolo Banchero all but guaranteed to be gone in the first three picks, it leaves Detroit with the options of Jaden Ivey, Keegan Murray, Shaedon Sharpe, and Benedict Mathurin.

With the potential of Ivey being gone at pick five, the Sacramento Kings control the fourth pick, and rumors of Jerami Grant being traded this summer, Detroit should look at drafting forward Keegan Murray out of Iowa, who has worked out for the Pistons.

Overview

Murray, 21, spent 2 years at Iowa. After coming off the bench as a freshman, Murray started all 35 games of the 2021-22 season for the Hawkeyes and had a breakout year. In 31.9 minutes per game, Murray touted averages of 23.5 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game. Murray was named to the All-Big Ten First Team, along with Ivey, and helped propel the Hawkeyes to a Big-Ten Championship and a number five seed in the NCAA tournament, eventually losing to Richmond in the first round.

Murray was the number one option for the Hawkeyes in 2021-22, as the next leading scorer was senior guard Jordan Bohannon at 11 points per game.

Strengths

Look up the name Keegan Murray on Youtube, and you will see that many call him the most complete scorer in the draft. Murray is not the flashiest player, but he does so much well on the offensive side of the ball that it does not matter if he makes highlight plays.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Murray can score from inside and out, and the above clip show just how easy and smooth he can get his shot up. He gets to the baseline after handing the ball off to Bohannon, catches the ball as he’s still jockeying for position in his post up, and immediately is able to turn and shoot over the defender knocking down the fallaway jump shot. 

At 6-8 and 225 pounds with a 6-11 wingspan, Murray moves smoothly. But he is not just an offensive player as he is effective on the defensive end as well. He is not going to wow you with big-time defensive stops, but he is fundamentally sound.  

Here Murray reads the telegraphed pass, jumps into the passing lane, intercepts the ball, and takes it the other way for an easy two points. It’s not the flashiest play, nor does he finish it with some sort of jaw-dropping finish such as someone like Ivey may, but the points count the same and Murray makes the right play. 

Overall, Murray checks all the boxes you want in a first-round pick; size, scoring ability, and IQ.

Weaknesses

Even though his length allows him to play bigger than his 6-8 frame, many wonder what his “true position” in the NBA will be. He’s not quick enough to play the three and he’s too lanky to play to four or a small-ball center. Along with his skinny, lanky frame, as good of a scorer as Murray is, he did not create for himself a lot in his sophomore campaign. Now if Detroit drafts him, he shouldn’t need to create for himself when he would be playing with Cade Cunningham.

Murray is also not your typical sophomore entering the draft, as he is already 21 years old and will be 22 years old come the start of the 2022-23 season, as he spent an extra season at a prep school before going to Iowa. Coming in as an “older” prospect is always a concern for rebuilding teams, like the Pistons, due to the fact that they are much closer to hitting their peak sooner than a prospect who enters the draft at 19 years of age.

Fit

Murray would immediately come in and be the third option behind Cade Cunningham and Saddiq Bey, barring Jerami Grant gets moved this summer. If Grant stays pat in Detroit, Murray would come in and immediately be a focal point of the second unit. With his size and ability to move without the basketball and play in the pick and roll/pick and pop, and cut to the hoop, Cunningham and/or Killian Hayes would have a field day finding Murray for open looks. By coming to Detroit, Murray would also be reunited with his former Iowa teammate Luka Garza.

There is some speculation of whether or not Murray will be on the board when the Pistons are on the clock to pick, as the Sacramento Kings are rumored to be tied to Murray.

However, Murray would be a viable option if available at the fifth pick. The NBA Draft will take place Thursday, June 23.

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