NBA Draft Player Profile: Kris Murray
Jun 20, 2023, 11:29 AM | Updated: Jun 21, 2023, 12:29 pm
(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
We are just two days away from June 22nd’s NBA Draft at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, meaning that it’s time to look at some potential picks for the Sacramento Kings’ 24th selection.
After drafting All-Rookie First Team forward Keegan Murray (fourth pick) last summer, the Kings will look to build off of its recent draft success by adding another young talent to its up-and-coming roster.
What type of player does Sacramento need to add to a team that just enjoyed its first NBA Playoff experience in nearly 20 years?
Let’s dive in.
Kris Murray | PF | Iowa
2022-23 stats: 20.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, 1.2 blocks, 1.0 steals, 47% FG, 33% 3PT, 72% FT
ESPN Mock Draft: 24th
If you’re a Sacramento Kings fan who rarely watches college basketball, you might have had to double-take if you turned on March Madness and watched an Iowa Hawkeyes game.
No, that wasn’t Keegan Murray you saw playing for his alma mater during an off-day. Keegan’s twin brother Kris just finished an impressive junior season at Iowa that resulted in the forward receiving All-Big Ten First Team honors.
Murray was the leader of a Hawkeyes team that finished the season with a 19-14 record and secured a spot in the NCAA Tournament, although Iowa suffered an 83-75 defeat to Auburn in the round of 64.
The 6’8 forward made a leap in his third college season, jumping from 9.7 points per game to 20.2 and 4.3 rebounds to 7.9 while seeing his minutes double, jumping to 34.9 per game after logging just 17.9 minutes as a sophomore.
Murray played in the shadow of Keegan during the first two seasons of his Iowa career, but once his brother made the jump to the NBA, Kris stepped up and drastically increased his NBA Draft stock in 2022-23.
How would Kris Murray fit with the Kings?
Kris isn’t Keegan, and that’s a good thing for Sacramento’s sake.
Where Keegan was an elite-level three-point shooter at the NBA level (41 percent on 501 attempts), Kris does most of his damage in and around the paint. During the 2022-23 season, Murray shot 58 percent from two-point range and converted 66 percent of his attempts at the rim.
The left-handed Murray would be another southpaw threat for a Kings team with two All-NBA lefties in De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis.
Murray was a great finisher near the rim and a post threat in college, there is plenty of three-point potential in his game, something that was highlighted by his ability to be a catch-and-shoot threat when left open.
Kris Murray is a good shooter off the catch. An impressive spot-up shooter that can really space the floor. High and smooth release. Three-point percentage was a down this year but I think he really shoots it in the NBA. On all unguarded catch and shoot jumpers he shot 41%. pic.twitter.com/pAdhLhbMhY
— Global Scouting (@GlobalScouting_) June 11, 2023
Offense aside, what Sacramento needs to add to its roster this summer is players with defensive upside, and Murray–a 6’8 wing with a 6’11 wingspan–fits the bill in that regard.
Murray finished the season averaging 1.2 blocks per game (10th in Big 10) and 1.0 steals per game, using his long frame to disrupt opposing defenses.
Like Kris, Keegan was also an impressive defender at the college level (1.9 blocks and 1.3 steals per game in 2021-22), but that defensive impact didn’t translate to the NBA as a rookie–at least not at the beginning of the season.
As Murray found his footing at the professional level, he continued to take steps forward to become a defender that can hold his own, especially during the NBA Playoffs while matched up against Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins. Murray didn’t lock down the Golden State duo by any means, but you could see the wheels begin to turn as the rookie improved on a gamely basis from Game 4 through 7.
Kris and Keegan aren’t the same players, but both share similar size and athleticism, which could be valuable for a team like the Kings that lacks length at the forward spots.
Kris Murray should make an impact as a secondary rim protector in the NBA. His team defense and rotations are typically on point and time. His length can really alter shots inside the paint. Has some defensive playmaking potential in the NBA. pic.twitter.com/SBONrIysWf
— Global Scouting (@GlobalScouting_) June 11, 2023
Drafting Murray at 24th might be a reach for Sacramento, especially with teams like the Los Angeles Lakers (17th pick), Miami Heat (18th pick), and Golden State (19th pick) threats to select the forward before the draft moves in the 20’s.
The Kings have been linked to Pepperdine’s Max Lewis and Indiana’s Trayce Jackson-Davis thus far in the draft workout process, meaning that they’re in the market for help at the forward spots.
Another thing that Murray has in common with Lewis (21 years old on opening night) and Jackson-Davis (23 years old) is his age, as the incoming rookie will be 23 years old when Sacramento takes the floor in October.
Kings general manager Monte McNair has recently drafted players that fit the current core’s age range, with Tyrese Haliburton (20), Davion Mitchell (23), and Keegan Murray (22) all entering their rookie seasons above the age of 20.
Kris Murray fits this Sacramento roster in many ways, whether it be his ability to score in and around the paint, defend at a high level thanks to his impressive length, his potential as a spot-up shooter, and in the Kings’ case, his maturity age-wise.
Murray is familiar with the Kings organization, and the incoming rookie has been working out with his brother in preparation of his first NBA season.
Will that first season take place alongside Keegan in Northern California? We’ll have an answer on Thursday night.
Sacramento Kings Offseason Schedule
- Thursday, June 22– 2023 NBA Draft
- Friday, June 30– Free Agent negotiating period begins
- Thursday, July 6– Free Agents can begin signing deals
- Friday, July 7–Monday, July 17– NBA Summer League in Las Vegas
- August TBD– 2023-24 NBA regular season schedule release
- September TBD– Sacramento Kings training camp begins