It appears the offensive explosiveness that Keegan Murray displayed this summer won't go away during the 2023-24 NBA season.
After Murray had one of the most impactful rookie seasons last year, in the words of Kings general manager Monte McNair, the second-year forward is being challenged to be more aggressive offensively and create his own shot more.
To help make things interesting, Murray and Kings All-Star point guard De'Aaron Fox created a friendly wager.
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"Just be aggressive. Me and Fox have this little thing of who can get Dunk of the Year this year," Murray told reporters Sunday (h/t "Deuce and Mo" podcast. "I feel like I have it so far but it's just being as aggressive as possible toward the basket and if I get fouled, I get fouled. If I get a dunk, I get a dunk. So it's just the aggression mindset."
This summer, Murray made the decision to stay in Sacramento so he could work on his game and the challenge that coach Mike Brown and the team asked of him. He and Fox spent nearly every day together helping each other elevate one another's games.
And in Murray's first test, 2023 summer league, Murray accepted the challenge and shined on the Golden 1 Center court during the California Classic. Less than 60 seconds into the Kings' game against the Golden State Warriors back in July, Murray took the ball nearly baseline to baseline, cruised past four Warriors defenders and topped it off with a vicious poster dunk.
Three months later in the NBA preseason, Murray kept that same energy and dunked over Warriors star Klay Thompson within the opening seconds of action.
"I feel like physically I'm stronger," Murray said on the difference he feels heading into this season. "So that plays a part in it. It's different in college. In college there's not guys that big, there's not that many shot blockers like there are in the NBA, obviously. So that's a little different. I feel like I was more comfortable on the outside, on the 3-point line, so I was kind of hesitant to get into the paint. But this year, all three levels I feel good."
Kings fans, there's just one more day until Murray can fully showcase his growth in Year 2. And if another vicious dunk is thrown down, expect Fox to bring something similar shortly thereafter.