NBA Draft 2012: Examination of Jazz draft pick Kevin Murphy in Excessive detail

June 28, 2012; Newark, NJ, USA; A general view of the first round draft board at the conclusion of the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft at the Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

Really, what else would you expect from me?

Here at SLC Dunk we’re the number one Utah Jazz fan blog. This isn’t an aggressive statement, or a threat, or arrogance. It is an opinion based upon a number of facts. It is then an educated opinion. I’m not going to lie here and say that I knew that Kevin Murphy even existed before we picked him. I did not. I don’t follow the NCAA in any serious regard because it is a conflict of interest. But as soon as Kevin Murphy was drafted by the Utah Jazz he became the most important new topic for me to research as a member of a Utah Jazz fan blog. He’s OUR Kevin Murphy now. And as Jazz fans, we are loyal, protective, and life-long unconditional supporters of the players who join our family. Because he is family I had to learn about him. And in the hours since the draft I have learned quite a bit.

Kevin Murphy is the right player for our team. And from the hours of high yield cramming I’ve done on him, I can confidently say that this is also an opinion based upon a number of facts. And therefore, also an educated opinion.

Background:

Kevin Murphy is a non-lottery pick selected by Kevin O’Connor for the Utah Jazz. He is 6’6 tall; plays shooting guard; is from Atlanta, Georgia; was a big time scorer in the NCAAs; and played for a mid-major school. Upon first blush he seems to share a lot of similarities to Morris Almond, a non-lotto pick by KOC, who is a 6’6 SG from Dalton, Georgia; who was also a pure scoring machine from a mid-major. Thankfully we’re going to go beyond the first blush here. Almond is a guy who I just can’t be objective about. And I can admit that. He only played for the Jazz for two seasons, and was a guy we interviewed and many mock drafts had us taking. Kevin was not brought in for a work out, and no one had us picking him. So, on the most superficial levels they are different. Hopefully their careers in the NBA will be night and day as well.

Kevin played at Creekside High School in Fairburn, Georgia. Rivals.com gave him a 3 out of 5 star rating coming out of high school. He was regarded as a signing steal for Tennessee Tech. His Rivals.com page does not have a lot of info on it for non-members; but it will display that (like all teens), Kevin had a poor choice in hair style. Sadly for him, there are a lot of pictures of him from that era uploaded to the internet.

At Tennessee Tech. he effectively became "The Man" of his team as a Sophomore, and never looked back. He has put up a lot of numbers (over 2000 total points), and has had some ridiculous scoring games: going over 30 points 6 times in his last two seasons, including a half century against SIU-Edwardsville. I don’t know. I’m just going to assume that’s the Duke Basketball of Tenn Tech’s normal schedule. His NCAA career is more than just one 50 points game. That said, here are highlights of that 50 points game.

Beyond basketball his parents Aurelious and Deborah Murphy seem to have raised a fine man who is capable of speaking in an interview without having to say "umm" a lot. My own parents were not capable of doing that. He loves practice and working hard, and is loyal to those institutions that stick with him. He had made a number of teams, and received a number of awards. Most recently, he was on the All-Portsmouth Invitational team. The PI is a situation where he was able to go up against other players from different colleges, and was able to show off his capabilities against guys who had more visibility. It was significant enough that it needed its own section, later on in this post.

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NCAA Career:

Here are the quick and dirty numbers from BasketballReference.com ‘s NCAA sister site.

Kevmurphy_ncaastats_pergame

I have no clue how that java widget is going to look, so I’ll just repeat the important stuff here again. [Ed. Note: The Widget didn't work, so I'm just using an image of the table] Kevin has played in 128 games and finished his college career with over 2000 points, which he amassed over his four year career. His points per game went up each year, while his MPG did not. It is also very well worth noting that his FG% went up each year as well. This tells me that he’s not afraid to work hard. His PPG rise was 9.6 ppg, 15.3 ppg, 17.0 ppg, and finally 20.6 ppg as a Senior. His FG% rise was 38.3 fg%, 44.2 fg%, 47.8 fg%, and 44.4 fg% as a Senior. If you are a scorer at the shooting guard position it is gratifying to see your scoring and shooting BOTH increase as you gain more experience. Overall, for his 128 career games, he averaged 15.8 ppg off of 44.3 fg%. For a guy who barely played over 30 mpg that’s not bad.

Because I am insane I will also point out that he scored 2019 total points off of 1594 total FGA. That is a super impressive and above average Points per Shot (PPS) value of 1.27 PPS. Because we are sticking with the narrative that he’s not Morris Almond (or Quincy Lewis), let’s look at the PPG and PPS values for all three players, for their NCAA careers and their senior seasons.

Career Senior Yr.
PPS PPG PPS PPG
Kevin Murphy 1.27 15.8 . 1.27 20.6
Morris Almond 1.43 15.1 . 1.55 26.4
Quincy Lewis 1.22 12.7 . 1.26 23.1

Lewis and Almond were both 1st round picks. Murphy was not. Almond was just on another level. He was also a solid rebounder and could block a shot here or there, if I remember correctly. (Just not at the NBA level) Similarly Kevin is more than just a scorer. He’s also a shooter. He takes and makes threes. He takes 4 a game, and makes 1.5 in return. That’s an overall career success rate of 37.2 3pt%. In his Senior year he took about 6 threes a game, and made 2.4, upping his distance proficiency to 41.6 3pt%. He’s not Jimmer Fredette. But Jimmer wasn’t a #47 pick. If we’re looking at a specialist type who can hone and improve upon a craft we could have that guy. He’s not a sharp shooting though at this level, as he has a career 73.4 ft%. I’d want my shooter to make the freebies. This is something that will improve over time, hopefully with proximity towards Jeff Hornacek. But it’s not like that helped our team this past season. I guess by drafting a guy who should be better at FTs than he has been is the ultimate sign that we drafted a "Jazz player."

Despite not having great hops, quickness, or much of a wingspan – Kevin was still a capable rebounder (5.2 rpg as a senior, 4.2 for his career). He also passed the ball more than Mobe ever did. And in his senior season his AST% was greater than his TOV%. For single minded scorers this is not always the case. So this is an encouraging sign for sure.

There were many more encouraging signs at the Portsmouth Invitational.

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Portsmouth:

DX has the straight dope on all of this right here. I suggest reading it all. Here’s a snippit.

Perhaps the most impressive individual performer over the course of the PIT, particularly from a long-term perspective, Kevin Murphy's size (he measured 6-6 barefoot) and ability to score in a variety of ways from all over the court stood out all week long. Shooting the ball with range both off the catch and off the dribble, the Tennessee Tech product was consistently able to create separation with his dribble in one-on-one situations, knock down his spot-up jump shots, and utilize his smooth shooting mechanics to convert a number of contested shots in impressive fashion.

After emerging as one of the top scorers in college basketball this season, many were interested in seeing how Murphy would fare against BCS-level competition once outside the Ohio Valley Conference. Murphy made it clear at Portsmouth that he has elite scoring potential regardless of who he's matching up, even if he still has a ways to go to fully harness his talent.

The prolific scorer certainly isn't known for his passing ability, but he did show the ability to find the open man when the defenders here began to make an effort to keep him out of the lane and did not force any more shots than any of the other wings in attendance. He's a little bit raw in terms of his knowledge of the game and will have a little bit steeper of a transition to make than most seniors after playing on a team that did not win that many games the past four years. With that said, not many in his class boast the same upside, which could enable him to make a Marshon Brooks-esqe ascension up draft boards if he continues to perform well in private workouts over the next two months.

-- via Matt Kamalsky, the Dir of Operations., April 16, 2012

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Pre-Draft Combine

For a biometrics nut, to a fault, this can really make or break a player in my eyes. After all, sometimes freaks have crazy advantages that they use to excel against their peers with. Not all levels of freakiness are recorded, or beneficial. John Stockton’s hands were way bigger than his size would deem they should have been, as a result, he had way more control over those one handed bounce passes while on the move. This was a significant advantage over his peers. Ronnie Brewer is a guard with a 6’11 wingspan, he’s super long. He also was very quick. As a result, we all saw him get a crazy number of deflections and steals for us. These were defensive plays that a guy like JJ Redick (who was not as quick or long) could not make. I’m not saying Redick is a bad player, or a bad defender (he has worked very hard to be quite good at both things); he just was physically at a disadvantage against those "freaks". The Combine gives me data to look at, and from this data we can identify normative ranges for player types, and find peers for them. We can also identify the freaks that I seem to love so much, like Marshon Brooks and his flat out illegal 7’1 wingspan for a 6’5 dude.

Kevin Murphy is not a freak. Or at least, he’s not a freak by any of the metrics recorded and shared at DraftExpress.com. The first thing you do notice is that he was tested twice. Perhaps one year apart (as he seemed to grow an inch between the two measurements). Sadly, this means the most recent measurement is the one that is less complete. Also, this more recent measurement has some good news and bad news. The good news is that he is +0.08 seconds faster in the 3/4 quarter sprint. That pretty much means nothing because for as long as Big Al Jefferson is on the team we’re not going to run. The bad news is that in his more recent measurement he became -1.13 seconds slower in the lane agility test, and his vertical jump got 3.2" shorter. (From 31.0" down to 27.8") Murphy has a very average wingspan (within or below one standard deviation for all the other shooting guards listed and recorded, ever). Being slower in lane agility is usually mitigated by being longer. He is not longer. And as a result, defense is going never going to be his calling card, at least not as a rookie. And that’s fine. Our "best" player sucks at defense too. As a team it is really an afterthought.

Murphy is the prototypical height (6’6) and a little light (195 lb.) – but two of the best midrange assassins were Reggie Miller (6’7) and Rip Hamilton (6’7), and they both were less than 200 lbs. at their best. I think Murphy can develop more strength. In his draft year he rated #8th (tied) best in bench press. Of course, some guys who got zero on this metric still managed to be great players. And other guys who dominated did not. Against his peers in Lane Agility his most recent result was 4th worst. And his sprint was 9th worst. There are 46 SG results I am measuring him against, so you do the math. Against his most immediate peers he’s not quick, or fast, have hops, or is a measurement freak.

Historically, against all the other SG measurements, he quickly falls into obscurity. His bench (11) is nothing compared to Mo Evans (24 in 2001). Guys like Kyle Korver were was slower than him (3.47 s is much worse than 3.42 or 3.34 s). The one major problem is that even against all the other SGs ever tested, he is remarkabl3.34 s). The one major problem is that even against all the other SGs ever tested, he is remarkably unquick. It is #9th worst out of all the scores, and there are so many of them. Again, it’s ALL the SG data from all the Pre-Draft combines. For the other guys who were SGs with 6’7 wingspans – the ones who succeeded in the NBA seemed to be the ones who had faster lane agility tests. That said, there is a disparity between his two scores (from the two test). One is average. The other is one of the worst results ever. Let’s split the difference and say he’s below average to average at lane agility. That’s fine, he’s not the best drill taker. Other guys did poorly in the same things as he did and still made it in the NBA.

His athleticism similarity scores puts him in the Michael Redd, Caron Butler, Luol Deng range. Except Deng is way longer and faster, and Butler way taller, and Redd is wiley. Maybe Murphy is wiley too. I don’t know. This is bordering on the grass is always greener syndrome though. When we drafted DeShawn Stevenson (an athlete who had a broken shot and got into a fight on draft night, and later raped a 14 year old the next summer) we were upset that he wasn’t a pure shooter with a higher BBALL IQ. When we drafted Ronnie Brewer (an athlete who had a broken arm and could never ever be a shooter), we were not happy about his inability to shoot. When we drafted C.J. Miles out of high school the coaches never played him because he had no experience. (Duh!) When we drafted Morris Almond (a pure scorer) we got upset that he didn’t pass much or had outstanding athleticism.

We now kind of know the comparative peer group of Murphy, but being upset at him for not being longer, faster, taller, or quicker is dumb. And it would be falling into the critical patterns from previous years. We drafted a scorer, not a track star. Get him the ball in scoring position and appreciate him for the talents he have that got him here. (I honestly don’t think we appreciated Morris Almond enough for being able to go for 50 twice in a proleague (though minor) where the defense was tasked with stopping him, 50 he did twice against other grown men mind you …) By the tale of the tape and stopwatch, Murphy wasn’t a freak. And that’s fine. That’s not what got him drafted. As I explained I have a bias for these freaks. Perhaps NBA GMs do as well.

For some reason the shooting data for the Chicago predraft combine is not online this year. I would have loved to delve into that. Also more research is suggesting that the disparity between the two data sets is not due to a 1 year measurement difference, but one set of measurements was from the Chicago camp (June), the other from the Portsmouth Invitational (April). Does this mean that Murphy was "dogging it"? Or coming off an injury? I don’t know. But I would have loved to have seen a bit more consistency in his scores. Other guys with more than one set of measurements were equally inconsistent though. So I’m not mad at him.

He’s not a freak, but he’s good enough athletically to play in this league. With a strong work ethic and help from coaches and outside agencies like P3 – I have no doubt he’ll continue to be good enough athletically to get his shot off and do damage as a scorer. After all, he was drafted as a scorer, not a race horse.

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Mock Drafts:

Mock drafts are nuts. Some change every day, while some never change. Some go into great details, while the overwhelming majority don’t even go into the second round. Sometimes, though, if you look at enough data you can see patterns emerge. If you are lucky, your brain interprets this pattern in a meaningful way and you psychologically construct some sort of confirmation bias loop that affirms your previous held belief. Think: Bible Code. If you are not lucky, you go crazy and take a power tool to your own cranium.

This time around I was lucky. In that, well, take a look for yourself.

Website: Last updated: Draft Spot: Drafted by:
1 NBA.com June 28 2 40 Portland Trail Blazers
2 NBADraft.net June 28 2 42 Milwaukee Bucks
3 CBSSports.com June 28 2 44 Detroit Pistons
4 MyNBADraft.com June 28 2 44 Detroit Pistons
5 WalterFootball.com June 28 2 45 Philadelphia 76ers
6 ESPN.com June 28 2 46 New Orleans Hornets
7 BleacherReport.com June 28 2 47 Utah Jazz
8 SheridanHoops.com June 28 2 51 Boston Celtics
9 DraftExpress.com June 28 2 52 Golden State Warriors
10 AOL.SportingNews.com June 27 2 54 Philadelphia 76ers
Average Spot: 46.5

Hmmm. Well, well then. The highest he was predicted to go was #40, and the lowest was #54. There were 10 complete mock drafts, and the average of the draft spots ended up being 46.5, which when you round up gets you #47. And we had the #47th spot. And we drafted him. That’s kinda spooky. It’s even MORE spooky when you see that the B|R was the only place to get it right. Yeesh! Let’s move on.

Murphy was predicted to be in our neighborhood. Specifically that #47 +/- 5 picks spot. There were only two outliers from the 42-52 range – NBA.com’s #40 and AOL/Sportingnews’s #54. This is still a very cool distribution of results. Specifically that it seems like this was right where he was supposed to be picked, and was.

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Utah Jazz’ Radar:

According to the significant list of people the Jazz brought in, Murphy was either a) unavailable, b) not interested, or c) not on the Jazz radar. Those are the three easiest conclusions to make when trying to understand how he did not make it onto the healthy list of people who DID show up to work out and be interviewed by the team. We did work out two dozen players in three days. The vast majority of them appeared to be either point guards (11), or stretch fours (7). If you were going to look at who we brought in as a guide, you would not have predicted that we’d take a wing. The only real wing-y guys we did work out were Darius Johnson-Odom (Marquette), Kim English (Missouri), Travis Lacombe (France), and possibly stretch-fours John Shurna (Northwestern) and Robbie Hummel (Purdue). You can’t make a guess from which type of player we’d go for based off of about a 1/5 distribution.

No doubt, the Jazz scouts saw some good things in Murphy. I don’t know where the Jazz scouts are, and it’s only reasonable that random blogs do not know these things. Some big name websites are not random blogs though, and they usually have way more access than we do. Some of these sites put out mock drafts.

While Mock drafts are not a good indication of what will happen, they are an even less useful source for information on how a team feels or thinks about a player. Seriously. A few years ago every website on the internet put Mouhammad Saer Sene as the guy the Jazz were going to pick. Like that would ever happen! (Cries a single tear…*) This year the main mock drafts had the Jazz NOT taking Murphy. So if the Jazz WERE interested in him, they hid their cards very well.

Mock Draft Roundup: Utah Jazz 2012 Pick #47
Website: Last updated: Draft Spot: Jazz Selection: Pos: School: Drafted: Available:
1 NBA.com June 28 2 47 Kim English SG Missouri Yes
2 NBADraft.net June 28 2 47 Kevin Jones PF West Virginia Yes
3 CBSSports.com June 28 2 47 Mike Scott PF Virginia Yes
4 MyNBADraft.com June 28 2 47 Robbie Hummel SF Purdue Yes Yes
5 WalterFootball.com June 28 2 47 Orlando Johnson SG UC-Santa Barbara Yes
6 ESPN.com June 28 2 47 Robbie Hummel SF Purdue Yes Yes
7 BleacherReport.com June 28 2 47 Kevin Murphy SG Tennessee Tech Yes Yes
8 SheridanHoops.com June 28 2 47 Drew Gordon PF New Mexico Yes
9 DraftExpress.com June 28 2 47 Mike Scott PF Virginia Yes
10 AOL.SportingNews.com June 27 2 47 Robbie Hummel SF Purdue Yes Yes

If anything, the ‘consensus’ would have been up on the Jazz taking Purdue’s Robbie Hummel. Three of the ten mock drafts had the Jazz taking him, and furthermore, he was one of the four total guys ‘selected’ for us that were available in real life by the time our Pick #47 came around. The others were Kevin Jones of West Virginia who went undrafted; Kevin Murphy, the guy we drafted; and Drew Gordon of New Mexico – who also went undrafted. So the Jazz bucked both the media’s concept of what we’d do and the traditional concept of drafting someone you worked out.

Perhaps Murphy had previous, ‘non-pre draft interview’ interviews that were good enough? I don’t know. But whatever it was, it was good enough. Perhaps it just was the case of Murphy being ranked so high on the draft board that they would be a fool not to jump on him. This was the justification used by KOC for picking Kosta Koufos years ago, despite him not being projected to go to us or even brought in for an work out/interview. So, yeah. I guess there’s that. The Koof angle. [N.B. The Jazz had previously worked out and/or interviewed Gordon Hayward, Enes Kanter, Alec Burks, Wesley Matthews, and a billion other players who would later go on to make the roster.]

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What the scouts say:

  • Can create his own shot
  • Often this is due to his hesitation moves, step back, or penchant for pulling up in transition
  • Constantly in motion, proprioceptive, goes to open spots on the floor
  • Kinda of got used to having the ball in his hands whenever he wanted as "The Man" since his Soph season in NCAA
  • Kinda weak / does not have the bulk some other wings have
  • This makes finishing in the paint, near the rim, or with contact difficult
  • As a result, most of his points come outside of the paint – what a horrible, horrible thing for a SG to have to deal with! *faints*
  • Somewhat Ambi, with solid scoring skills – particularly spotting up and creating his own shot
  • Defensively not the best
  • Can tend towards looking for his own shot at times, but still not Morris Almond, the Jazz media will make sure you know that
  • As a knack for being able to score
  • Deep range
  • Good midrange
  • Appears to have struggled against better players – but who doesn’t?

DX felt like his best case player comparison was MarShon Brooks. NBADraft.net said he’s more similar to Anthony Parker. According to the measurements I felt like he was most similar (in size/speed) to guys like Michael Redd and Caron Butler. We’ll see if the game strays from the style of play or the size/speed values. I don’t know if he is capable of being a MarShon because MarShon had some of the most insane physical scores out of all the drafts I’ve put into my spreadsheet. He was quicker, faster, could jump higher, and had way longer arms than guys like Alec Burks or Ronnie Brewer. Mentality wise, well, we all say Marshon get a rebound, dribble all the way back out behind the three point line, and air ball his shot while he had 2 team mates open under the basket. I don’t see the physical resemblance to MarShon, but if it is a shooting resemblance, well, that could be good and bad. You are always going to need guys on your team who are not afraid to shoot the ball when they are open. If you hesitate you allow the defense to close out and make life harder for you and your team. You also do not want to have a guy who never passes.

The NBADraft.net comparison of Anthony Parker would be a dream come true. I think Parker is a better athlete, and better defender. He’s a very solid three point shooter who can be useful when open. Murphy is a way better scorer. Apparently a worse athletic, and defense is not a hallmark of his game right now. I guess being athletic and being considered a better defender goes hand in hand. But Parker is a guy who doesn’t take shots away from the big dogs, comes in, does his job, and knocks down every open shot he gets.

If you are athletic, but can’t score or defend you are Jeremy Evans. If you can defend, but can’t score and aren’t athletic you are Mark Eaton. (or, if you needed a guard example, I’d have to go with Fennis Dembo, but none of you guys even know who that is – that’s how hardcore an NBA fan I am) If you can score, but aren’t remarkably athletic or able to defend you know what you are?

You are an NBA bench wingman who can still have a very long career in the NBA – as long as you work hard and get really good at that thing that got you drafted in the first place. If you are just really damn good on offense, a smart team will encourage that and find a place for you. Don’t believe me? Talk to Kyle Korver.

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Amar’s Take:

At SLCDUNK.com we spend a LOO-OOONG time looking at the NBA Draft. It wasn’t as cut and dry and fact filled like last years salvos; however, I think we did more community things this time around. We found out a lot about each other, and about our concept of what our team was doing and what problems they had. While Jazz GM Kevin O’Connor suggests we always go for Best Player Available (BPA), we felt like with a low draft pick it was not a bad idea to also look at a specialist. The major deficiencies the team have are on defense and with outside shooting. Murphy is definitely a shooter. I don’t know if he is the BPA, but I do know that the Utah Jazz think he is. I think he also qualifies as being that specialist, while also being able to be a factor in solving one of our major problems. BPA. Specialist. Problem Solver.

I feel like Murphy can be a significant addition to our team, and I hope that he is signed and makes the season roster. I’ve been a Jazz fan for a long time and I’ve seen us draft, trade for, or sign a lot of free agent shooting guards. We’ve had athletes like Ronnie Brewer, Shandon Anderson and DeShawn Stevenson; Europeans like Sasha Pavlovic and Gordan Giricek; pure scoring machines like Quincy Lewis and Morris Almond; shooters like Raja Bell and Kyle Korver; and all-rounders too. We’ve had success and failure with all type of guard. I think we have the potential to have success with Kevin Murphy.

The first reason for this believe stems from the actual team he’s going to. No, not the Jazz franchise; but I mean the 2012-2013 Utah Jazz. Right now this team is in need of shooting. Raja Bell is the starting shooting guard, but all indications suggest that he is ‘dunzo’ with the Jazz. Gordon Hayward can start at either the 2 or the 3, but his shot isn’t where it needs to be for him to take it to the next level. Alec Burks, the guy I’d want to start, isn’t much of an outside threat either at this point in his career. DeMarre Carroll is a free agent in another 48 hours, and he’s an energy guy / hustle guy. He shot well from the outside, but he’s not an outside shooter. C.J. Miles is an outside shooter, but a free agent who never became a consistent, dependable threat. Josh Howard is another free agent, but I shoot better from deep than he does, and I’m an out of shape blogger. Without adding any free agents, and after removing Bell, we are low in both talent and depth at the wings. Particularly in terms of outside shooting. Murphy? He is a wing who is an outside shooter. He is, effectively, a sight for sore eyes; or a swish for a sore rim.

This would be a different situation if we drafted him onto a team with Mehmet Okur, Kyle Korver, Wesley Matthews, and Deron Williams. And this would be a different situation if he was drafted by a non-anemic outside shooting team. But it is neither of those situations. This is an outside shooting wing drafted by a team that sucked from the outside last year, and ALSO, looks to be both thin and even suckier from the outside THIS year. That is the first reason why I believe the Jazz have a chance to have success with Kevin Murphy.

The second reason is, clearly, role. In the case of Quincy Lewis and Morris Almond – there were ALWAYS better options ahead of them. And we were also drafted to pretty damn good playoff teams each of those times. This time around? We’re barely a playoff team and depending on how free agency shakes out – Murphy can shake up to be anything from a starter to the 4th wing. Lewis played with the tail end of Stockton and Malone and every game was too precious for a younger player. And Almond was, at best, 4th on the SG depth chart despite probably being better than that. I see Murphy getting a chance here because he may be one of the only serious options / alternatives we have when we need something that’s not a facilitator (Hayward), slasher (Burks), or utility man (Carroll). While Murphy isn’t a sharp shooter (he’s not at that 50 / 40 / 90 level that I believe a sharpshooter needs to be at to qualify), he is a shooter. And depending on the situation our team is in he may be the best tool for a specific job.

The third reason is that KOC does great with American born 2nd rounders. Murphy is. Late 1st rounders are iffy. Foreign 2nd rounders? Similarly worrisome. Lotto picks? No problem. That’s also how I feel about American born 2nd rounders. I am sure there are some exceptions to this rule, but if there’s one thing I actually TRUST KOC and his staff to do, it is to scout these overlooked American guys appropriately. Mo Williams was overlooked because some felt like he came out too early. He has been fantastic when you compare his draft position with his career production. Paul Millsap was overlooked because he went to a super small school and was too short. He worked on his game every year and was a legit All-Star Snub this past season. Both of those guys were 2nd round picks, and picked at the #47 spot. My confidence in this pick rose when I saw that we picked another American guy from the South, who went to a smaller school in terms of basketball regard. I don’t know how to explain it, maybe one of our top scouts has a secret family down in those parts that he hasn’t told anyone about, but allows him plenty of hands on experience with those players? I don’t know. But this is the least educated reason in terms of Murphy-specific confidence; but it is one of the strongest feelings I have. I do think that lightning can strike a third time.

The fourth, last, and probably most important reason I think things could work out this time around is, well, Murphy himself. I trust HIM. I think that over time, if given a shot, he can be a valuable NBA player who can not just fill out a roster and cash a paycheck; but also be one of those bench glue guys who hones a skill that approaches perfection. Off the bench, crazy go nuts scoring wing who exists to shake things up and make the other team have to change how they defend our team – yes. Sign me up. And without the mental instability of a J.R. Smith, and with the maturity of a player way older than he is? Sign me up twice. And his best offensive moves are the ones we’re the most deficient in, and our pet plays have options to get him shots he’s most proficient in? Shut up and take my money, get me a Murphy #55 Jersey now!

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