The 2023 NBA Draft is one of the more highly anticipated drafts in the past decade partly because of the talent at the top of the draft. Def Pen Sports will be breaking down 14 of the best NBA prospects that declared for the draft this year. Kris Murray had a breakout year putting him in a position to be a first-round selection in the 2023 NBA Draft just one year after his twin brother was. Murray’s brother Keegan was an All-American while Kris was in his shadow as a role player for Iowa in 2021-22. With Keegan gone, Kris took over the star role and excelled averaging over 20 points per game and nearly eight rebounds. Kris has a game and body tailored for the NBA, similar to his brother when he came out a year ago. Some prospects don’t come into the NBA with a role that suits them but as the game continues to look for three-and-D wings, players like Murray are in high demand. Let’s dig into some of Murray’s strengths and weaknesses.
While Murray wasn’t able to keep the efficiency as high this year as he did his sophomore year in a lesser role, he is still able to score in a variety of ways. He shot 40% from three as a sophomore, playing in a role similar to what he’ll likely be at the next level. He’s also an excellent finisher around the rim, shooting over 65% there. He is likely to be a three-and-D wing at the next level so the ability to shoot the three effectively and finish at the rim when attacking closeouts will be key.
Murray’s length allows him to finish around the rim in a variety of ways even though he’s not an explosive athlete. That length also allows him to rise over opponents to get his shot away cleanly. He’s also very crafty around the rim, using a variety of pivots and fakes to create enough space to score in the paint. He’s not likely to post much in the NBA but he does a great job of sealing off and creating angles to feed him in the post as well. He’s not the scorer his brother was coming out, but he doesn’t need to be for him to have a good career as a role player. If he is able to clean up his shot and find spots on the floor to be efficient he should have an excellent career for many years in the NBA.
Length and Defense
While not a standout defender currently, Murray does show good IQ and activity on the defensive end. His length allows him to occasionally get in a passing lane or block a shot, although he didn’t excel at either (averaged one each per game). He does a pretty good job of staying in front when left on an island although his lack of elite quickness can get him beat at times. When switching onto guards he does a good job of using his length to disrupt their ability to get shots off normally and uses it effectively to close down driving opportunities. He isn’t likely to be a lockdown defender who guards the other team’s best wing in the NBA but he won’t be a liability especially come playoff time when defenders come at a premium.
Weakness: Upside and Athleticism
The two of these things sort of go hand in hand, especially when factoring in that Murray is an older prospect. His brother and he went to a prep school after graduating high school making it so Kris Murray will be 23 during his rookie year. Murray because of this isn’t likely to turn into a star and top option for whichever team drafts him but never say never. Another knock on Murray is his lack of a quick first step which you can see when he puts the ball on the floor. He can be a bit methodical and doesn’t attack closeouts with the quickness you’d like at all times and while he’s not slow he can be a bit deliberate. It really shows through when he tries to isolate where he can struggle to create separation. Murray is crafty because he has to be because he doesn’t always create good clean looks for himself at the rim when putting the ball on the floor.
NBA Comparison: Keegan Murray
It may be cheating to compare Kris Murray to his twin brother Keegan but truly they will likely play similar roles at the next level. Body-wise they are also extremely similar in terms of build and skillsets. Murray showed the ability to knock down outside shots and be a competent defender in year one. He was a good complimentary scorer for the Kings and that is likely the role for twin Kris to play in his career. He’ll likely be told to play good defense, knock down open shots, and attack closeouts especially early in his career. A team in the first round somewhere is going to get a good piece as they continue to build toward being a consistent playoff team assuming Murray goes in the 12-20 or so range.