By Mark Strotman | | 4 mins
Keegan Murray NBA Draft Odds: Trail Blazers A Great Fit
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A three-star small forward who was listed at just 180 pounds coming out of high school, Iowa’s Keegan Murray has turned himself into a bulldozing, 225-pound force who can score in a variety of ways. Look no further than his shooting splits: 62% from inside the arc, 40% from 3-point range, and 74% from the charity stripe on 5.4 attempts per game.
His defensive numbers are solid but he’s going to get an “undersized” label attached to him on that end of the floor — he doesn’t have a ton of speed and he isn’t tall enough to consistently bang inside.
In terms of handicapping his draft status from an NBA betting perspective, he’s going to fall victim to playing the same position as the consensus top three prospects in this class — Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero, and Jabari Smith. That’s not a knock on Murray in the slightest, but more of a nod to just how great this class is inside. Age is also going to be a factor: Murray will turn 22 before his rookie season begins. Murray likely will be the oldest player selected in the Lottery.
Still, elite offense reigns supreme in the NBA. And that means Murray is a top-10 choice. With that in mind, here’s where we’re handicapping his odds of playing.
Keegan Murray NBA Draft Odds
Blazers will get two chances
We’ve pegged the Blazers as the team most likely to draft Murray for two reasons. Specifically, their two draft choices in the first round. They’ll have their own first round pick and likely receive New Orleans’ first-round pick (protected 1-4, 15-30). What’s more, Murray would be a perfect fit on a Blazers team that has missed a true scoring presence in the frontcourt ever since LaMarcus Aldridge left.
With the Blazers trying for a quick rebuild, an NBA-ready player like Murray makes a lot of sense.
Spurs, Kings, Pacers all looking for interior help
If we see Murray falling somewhere in the 6-10 range, the Spurs, Kings, and Pacers all make sense. The Spurs have used five of their last seven first-round picks on guards and wings, leaving them with a thin frontcourt behind Jakob Poeltl and Keldon Johnson.
The Kings are in win-now mode after trading for Domantas Sabonis at this year’s trade deadline, meaning an NBA-ready Murray would fit nicely. And the Pacers have a few projects they’re looking at in the frontcourt but would certainly entertain Murray to help an offense ranked in the lower half of most major NBA categories. These are the sweet spots for Murray, and he’ll be an option for each unless they vault into the top four of the Lottery.
Long shots For Murray
If Murray indeed does slip in the draft because of age concerns, there are teams waiting at the backend of the Lottery that would love to grab him. Memphis could lose Kyle Anderson this summer, and Dillon Brooks has just one year remaining on his contract after this. Though the Knicks have spent plenty of picks on power forwards over the years, they’re desperate to improve an offense that ranks 23rd as of this writing.
The field is the favorite because certain teams could move into the 6-10 slots before the end of the regular season, and there’s always a chance that Murray moves himself into the conversation of the top four picks. A strong showing in the NCAA tournament could do just that.