Keegan Murray

Kris Murray all for rivalry with Keegan if Warriors come calling

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Twin brothers Keegan and Kris Murray haven’t played basketball against each other since a heated 1-on-1 matchup going into their sophomore year of college at Iowa.

Kris, the elder of the two brothers by a few minutes, claims he handily won that battle. He'll get another chance to defend his crown in the fall if a team other than his brother's Sacramento Kings select him in the 2023 NBA Draft.

Murray, projected to be a mid- to late-first-round pick, could still be on the board when the Warriors select at No. 19 overall. As a 6-foot-8 wing who excels as an efficient offensive player and an impact defender, he’d fit in nicely with Golden State.

“I feel like I’ve always been a winner,” Kris said in an exclusive interview with NBC Sports Bay Area. “I’d fit good in that culture with those types of players and how Steve Kerr coaches and what they run.”

While Keegan was selected No. 4 overall by the Kings last summer and thrived as a rookie alongside De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis under new coach Mike Brown, Kris stayed back for another season in Iowa City to build up his draft profile.

After his college season ended, Kris attended Game 1 of the Kings’ first-round playoff series against the Warriors at Golden 1 Center to watch his brother make his postseason debut.

The Kings won that game -- and the next -- but not the war. The Warriors went back to Sacramento for Game 7 and stole the series behind Steph Curry's historic 50-point performance to slam the door on the Kings’ magical season.

Sacramento and Golden State can't be called rivals -- yet -- but that seven-game playoff series full of drama and tightly contested games undoubtedly was the start of a Northern California feud for years to come. The Warriors want to claim another title or two for Curry and their championship core, and the young, up-and-coming Kings plan to stand in the way.

The Murray brothers could be standing in the middle of it all.

“It’d be really cool to be a rival with Keegan,” Kris said of potentially being drafted by Golden State. “That would be fun. It’d be good for my parents too, they’d get to move out to the West Coast. It definitely would be a good scenario for me.”

In 29 games with Iowa last year, Murray averaged 20.2 points on 47.6 percent shooting from the field and 33.5 percent from 3-point range. He also chipped in 7.9 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 1.0 steals per game.

While Keegan Murray butters his bread as a catch-and-shoot threat -- and has the all-time NBA rookie 3-point record to show for it -- Kris describes himself as more of a playmaker with the ability to create for himself and others.

"How I play fits with a lot of different teams," Kris Murray told NBC Sports Bay Area. "I feel like my versatility is a little bit unique, and I can fit with a lot of different teams. Golden State, Sacramento, whoever wants to take me and knows I can fit within their culture and their team, how they play, I’d be open to that."

Murray will be 22 years old on draft night and 23 when the 2023-24 NBA season tips off. That might limit his ceiling in the eyes of NBA executives looking to add an intriguing prospect, but for a team like the Warriors, a bit of stability would serve them well.

The Warriors' two-timeline plan -- one that was supposed to usher in a new era while simultaneously winning championships -- was interrupted last season. James Wiseman, the former No. 2 overall pick, was traded to Detroit in February after it was clear he would be better served playing significant minutes and learning lessons as a 22-year-old on a team without title aspirations.

Jonathan Kuminga, 20, showed his massive potential but found himself weaving in and out of coach Steve Kerr's rotation this past season. Moses Moody, 21, didn't get much of an opportunity until he proved himself in the playoffs. Rookies Patrick Baldwin Jr. and Ryan Rollins, both 20 years old, aren't quite ready for the spotlight.

Even 23-year-old Jordan Poole, who earned a lucrative contract extension and was the flag-bearer of the two-timeline plan, slumped in his fourth NBA season.

Kris Murray, older than the Warriors' youngsters listed aside from Poole, could fit in nicely as a player ready to contribute and win right away, just like his twin brother.

And those Kings-Warriors matchups would be electric.

"I don’t know if there would be a ton of trash talk," Kris said of playing against Keegan in a future NBA game. "I know he wouldn’t say anything. I probably would be the one to say something. With us, it’d be all business until the end.

"... A dream situation would be dunk on him and get the win by a lot. That would be best-case scenario. 3-point shot -- I’ve done that before. Dunking on him would be the one."

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