Report: Some scouts had Kings' Murray as No. 2 draft prospect


There was a lot of talk about ceilings following the 2022 NBA Draft.

Keegan Murray, who the Kings selected with the fourth overall pick, was viewed by many draft pundits as being the most NBA-ready of any of the top prospects, but having lower superstar potential than, say, Jaden Ivey, who went one pick later to the Detroit Pistons at No. 5.

All he had to do was play a handful of Summer League games, and the narrative quickly is changing.

"I’ve had some scouts tell me they thought he was the No. 2 player in the draft," Marc Spears told Brian Windhorst on Tuesday's episode of "The Hoop Collective." 

Forget Ivey, that would hurdle Murray past two of the draft's top-three picks in Paolo Banchero, Chet Holmgren and Jabari Smith Jr.

In five games this summer -- three in the California Classic at Chase Center and a pair in Las Vegas -- Murray is averaging 20.4 points and 7.2 rebounds per game while shooting an efficient 41.6 percent from 3-point range and 48.6 percent from the field. He's posted at least 20 points in all but one contest and has drained four 3-pointers three times.

"He has been quietly amazing," Spears said. "He doesn’t play like Tim Duncan, but he carries himself like Tim Duncan. Quiet demeanor. Just plays. There’s nothing that’s really loud about his game. He’s not really dunking on people, not really flashy. It’s very fundamental."

Quiet, sure, but Murray has put together quite the highlight reel in those five games. On Saturday, with the Kings down six points with 7.6 seconds to play, Murray and Neemias Queta both drained 3-pointers to improbably force the game to overtime.

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The next day, Murray dropped a game-high 23 points on the Indiana Pacers and put the finishing touches on the victory by scoring eight points in the final three minutes, unleashing a lethal step-back triple.

On draft night, general manager Monte McNair disputed the narrative that Ivey had a higher ceiling than Murray, claiming that the Iowa product was the "unanimous" choice of the Kings' front office and the best player available. 

He just might be right.

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