Dejounte Murray could be a solid NBA Draft late first-round pick for the Philadelphia 76ers.
In 2015-16, Coach Lorenzo Romar and the Washington Huskies basketball program assembled one of the best 2015 recruiting classes in the country, seventh best to be exact.
A player that helped bolster that recruiting class was a kid who entered the 2015 college basketball with a lot of question marks, but also with a lot of potential.
His name is Dejounte Murray.
Position: Point Guard
Weight: 170 pounds
Hometown: Seattle, Washington
Career: 34 G, 16.1 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 4.4 APG
NBA comparison: Shaun Livingston.
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Murray declared for the NBA draft after one season in college and he surpassed expectations as a freshman at Washington. He emerged as a second team All-Pac 12 Conference player after finishing a solid season with 16.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game. As one of the youngest teams in college basketball last season, Washington did live up to the hype, finishing 19-15 and 9-9 in conference play.
Murray has the ideal basketball body that NBA teams and scouts are searching for. With great length, big wingspan (measured at 6’10”), Murray is an explosive athlete who should become even more explosive as he fills out his body in the NBA.
Sounds familiar, right? A player like Murray just happens to be in the NBA Western Conference Finals — Russell Westbrook.
He has electric and superb ball handling ability with crossovers. He has the quick, shifty moves to evade defenders and get to the rim. He also uses his excellent ball handling and quickness to get his opponents off balance and create space to pull up. Murray shows he has the ability to score in a multitude of ways with his great feel for isolating and creating shots for himself and teammates off the dribble. Murray is very fluid and capable of playing above the rim in space and transition. He has the IQ to know where he needs to be on the floor, which shows his excellent instincts and pace.
Murray shows impressive touch and range on floaters, and made more of them compared to any other draft prospect in the nation in 2015-16, converting them at a rate of 45 percent. It’s tremendously difficult to make a living using just a floater in the NBA, but on the flip side it can be a huge weapon. Murray really struggles finishing in traffic otherwise, even in the open court, which is one of the reasons he shot just 46 percent from 2-point range. At times, Murray tends to be too dependent on his floater to bail him out especially when he fails to draw contact and get to the free throw line.
The Washington guard has the capability of finishing the floater at a distance over an out-stretched defender:
Against a highly touted Gonzaga team, Murray scored 21 points and 11 rebounds. In the video below, Murray shows his ability to offensive rebound, make a pass in transition, finish over a defender with his opposite hand, and shows his vision while making a play at the basket. Murray displays good enough vision to find teammates for open looks, primarily off the dribble.
Murray is at his best when he pushes the ball in transition or pushes the ball in the early offense, where he shows gears that he can utilize to attack opponents. Even though he’s not strong, he is an incredibly aggressive player, always looking for ways to get inside the paint and get a shot off, not being afraid of contact in the least bit.
Again, Murray is at his best early in the offense. Here he shows the great feel he possesses for isolating and creating points off the dribble. Murray shows he’s a good finisher around the rim on drives. He finished the season with a 25.7 percent assist rate and showed good court vision in the play above. In the half court, he is willing to make the extra pass to better shooters on the perimeter and he’s able to find roll men in the pick-and-roll. However, Murray’s inability to shoot hinders him at times because defenders can stand off him. But, again, he shows he can get to the rim:
Defensively, Murray’s long arms and excellent instincts give him some potential as a defender in the NBA. But at times he was ineffective on this end of the floor as a freshman because of the lack of effort into this part of his game as he has poor fundamentals and isn’t particularly attentive either. Also, because of his lack of size, it made it easy for opposing players to bulldoze their way straight through him.
In the NBA, he’ll constantly get killed off the dribble if he continues to defend in a poor defensive stance. Murray barely gives a second effort after getting beat at times, and often looks very upright just standing straight up off the ball:
Murray’s inability to shoot makes him much more predictable, which can hurt him in the NBA. When he has the ball defenders are able to give him space. The result is a rather high turnover rate (19.0 percent) because at times Murray will force the action by dribbling into set defenses.
Last season, Murray had a tendency to disappear in big games such as both games against Utah, at home against Texas and at UCLA:
PER 40 MINUTES:
While Murray delivered a solid statistical season — averaging 19.2 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per 40 minutes, the Huskies missed the NCAA tournament while on their way to a 19-15 record before being eliminated in the second round of the NIT.
Because of his talent-level and upside as a point guard. A team looking for a homerun picking between 20-40 range, such as the Philadelphia 76ers, could very well pick him and hope they can develop into a better player. The Sixers will have to be very patient, though if they elect to select him at 24 or 26.
Murray has a lot of upside.