Keegan Murray

What McGee suggests Murray should add for Year 3 leap

NBC Universal, Inc.

Heading into his third NBA season, Kings forward Keegan Murray can benefit from opening up off the court. 

Those are the thoughts of Murray's teammate, veteran center JaVale McGee, who knows the 23-year-old is missing a crucial component to his professional setup despite his status as a talented shooter and proven scorer.

"Comfortability," McGee told Deuce Mason and Morgan Ragan on the "Deuce & Mo" podcast. "I just think he needs to be more comfortable with himself. I know this is going to sound weird, but coming from a person who is in the locker room with him, I think he needs to up his off-the-court energy. And I’m a guy who knows what guys are doing. Keegan doesn’t do anything.

"He goes to the gym and goes home and then goes back to the gym maybe two days like that. He’s very focused on basketball, and I just think he needs to socialize more."

Featuring in 77 games during the 2023-24 NBA season, Murray averaged 15.2 points, a three-point increase from his rookie campaign. His three-point shooting percentage, however, fell by more than 5 percent. 

McGee, a 16-year NBA veteran himself, knows the Kings forward doesn’t lack commitment to the game but can add value to his play if he were to disconnect from basketball from time to time. 

“It will show up on the court, and that’s just my opinion of it because he’s so locked in to basketball,” McGee added. “[He’s] not going to any dinners. He’s going back to the hotel and ordering food. 

“He’s going to watch film, and I’m just like, ‘Absolutely, you need to be locked in to that aspect, but you need to squeeze a little bit of fun in there also because you’re in the NBA and you’re making millions of dollars.’ "

In a league where expectations are sky high, the three-time NBA champion hopes Murray can find a balance between his professional and personal life. 

“It’s just a balance,” McGee added. “I’m not telling him to go out to the club or anything like that. You know what I’m saying? I’m not telling him he needs that energy. But I’m saying, you’re in New York for four days, you need to be going to dinner for two of those days and enjoying time with your friends. 

“I’m not telling you to drink or anything. But you need to be enjoying the city and reaping the benefits of your sport because you worked this hard to get here. Go to Times Square and be a tourist.” 

Adding to his case, McGee shared how Keegan doesn’t have a “bark” in him, especially when he decides to have 40-point nights, signaling that he’d like to see an emotional reaction from him. 

And, ultimately, the center shares his recommendations in efforts to bring the best out of Murray both on and off the court, which should be music to any dedicated player’s ears. 

“It makes you better at the things you love and you appreciate [them] more,” McGee said. “Right now, I feel like being so locked in to basketball [that] you don’t do anything else, it gives you an anxious feeling. If I make a mistake, it’s over for me. You turn into that person. Sometimes you need things to relax you and get your mind off of basketball, even if it’s for one day out of the week. 

“You can go six days straight, but one of those days you need to take time for yourself and get out and experience new things.”

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