Keegan Murray is a 6’8” forward who is projected to land in the 5-9 range of the 2022 NBA Draft. Although he is not in the same tier as Paolo Banchero or Jabari Smith Jr, Murray is a weapon at the forward position who will improve any franchise the moment he steps on the court.
Keegan Murray Scouting Report
Murray was a consensus All-American and Big Ten Tourney MVP. He averaged 23.5 PPG and 8.7 RPG on a superb 55/39/74 shooting split. The Iowa forward dominated the collegiate level and recorded the highest Box Plus-Minus since Zion Williamson. He is an older prospect at 21, which could cause Murray to fall more than he should in the draft.
Weight: 225 lbs
College: Iowa Hawkeyes
Strengths: Murray is a lethal transition scorer who thrives going coast to coast. His length and body control shined when he attacked the basket. Murray’s post up game was effective all season, and he positioned himself well by sealing opponents. His spin move consistently rewarded him with a clean look. Because of his aggression and talent, Murray can punish smaller guards who switch onto him. He can also play on the perimeter, as he shot 39.8% from three. His catch and shoot ability is not elite, but he will be a viable outside threat. Another favorable aspect of his game is the high motor. He constantly fought for offensive rebounds, and his off-ball movement made him a good cutter.
Defensively, he can guard 3-4 while competing against guards. Murray showed solid balance and footwork in regards to his on-ball defense. When beaten, his length allowed him to recover well. He averaged 1.9 BPG and 1.3 SPG because he understood where to position himself to disrupt the opponent.
Weaknesses: His speed isn’t great, which translated into a mediocre first step off the dribble. It also allowed quick guards to shake him with a crossover. Murray’s handle is too loose, and his playmaking won’t be a huge threat at the NBA level. He threw too many errant passes that were picked off by defenders. I don’t think Murray has the capacity to run the pick and roll effectively for stretches.
Murray’s inefficient midrange game needs serious improvement, as it allowed defenders to play his drive more than his pull up jump shot. Improving this would balance his game and force defenders to respect both avenues.
Keegan Murray Stats
Keegan Murray NBA Draft Ranking, Team Fit, Landing Spot
Draft Ranking: He is 6th on my Big Board because of his all-around game and high floor. He doesn’t have the potential of Banchero and Smith Jr; however, I like his polished game and high motor. His age (22 in August) is definitely a factor in his ranking too.
Team Fit: His best fit is with the Portland Trailblazers at 7. They are striving to compete next season, and their guard rotation is cemented. He would pair nicely with Nassir Little at forward. Murray can slide into the starting lineup and strengthen the Blazers defense and rebounding.
Landing Spot: Murray likely lands in the 5-9 range, Outside of Portland, Murray would fit with the Pistons at 5 and the Pacers at 6. Jerami Grant figures to be traded this off-season, so Murray can step into his role and allow Detroit to spend money elsewhere. The Pacers roster is full of guards, and Myles Turner is an excellent two-way center. However, their forward rotation is lacking. Murray would aid this area, and Indiana could instantly move on from the perpetually injured TJ Warren.
Keegan Murray NBA Comparison
Murray’s game reminds me of a slightly worse Tobias Harris. Both players are excellent when posting up, and their spin move to the left shoulder is almost identical. They can punish opponents in transition, and they have a similar build. Harris is a better dribbler and playmaker, but Murray has the defensive edge. Murray’s ceiling almost matches Harris’ 76ers years: a great 3rd or 4th option who can do a little bit of everything.