Should the New Orleans Pelicans select Jamal Murray?
Kevin: If Dunn is gone, I'd go with Murray next. However, it isn't by much. I don't think you can go wrong when selecting any of the three guards. Murray is a very good scorer and has shown that he can thrive in clutch situations. The knock on him is that he isn't the most polished point guard prospect, but with the Pelicans he won't be asked to play much as the main facilitator. Again, today I like Dunn over Murray, but I could easily be talked into Murray. Both would be great fits on this team, which is why I feel like we are in a great spot.
Isaac: Murray is my guy. Like I've said before, everybody is excoriating the advocates of potential. Because look at what Steph Curry did with limited upside, right? Draymond Green left as a senior! And even J.J. Reddick, formerly cast off as a wasted pick, is really good now. It's true, potential isn't everything, not whatsoever. A player that you're smitten by shouldn't be disregarded for age or "lack of potential."
However, some players do have the "what if" factor, and I think Murray is a safe risk for that "what if." Unlike players like Dante Exum, who can go from the next pre-injury Derrick Rose to Trey Burke's backup who is virtually invisible on the court, Murray obviously has talent to contribute immediately. He's a very effective scorer, especially when it comes shooting; his release bodes well for an NBA close-out that throws many college scorers off their game. Murray will be able to instantly knock down shots and contribute, but it's the driving that has me entranced. I thought Murray showed great aggressiveness and ability to get to the basket, oftentimes needing just some polish and tweaking of his finishing. Fix that up, and he could be easily scoring 23 or above in the pros in his prime. And finally, Calipari's players elevate their game when they hit the pros. I'm not expecting an exception.
Joseph: Yes. I believe Jamal Murray is the third best player in this draft. At just 19 he was "the guy" on a loaded Kentucky squad. Murray's offensive game really has no weakness. He can pull up and shoot. He can catch and shoot. He can take you off the dribble. He has the best finishing rate at the rim of any guard in the draft. Also, he is a smart passer. Most say he is even a better passer than he showed at Kentucky because he played next to arguably the best College PG, Tyler Ulis. How many 19 year olds have we ever been able to say that about? Hell, how many NBA players can you say that about?
Murray's defense is flat out bad, but he gives effort at least. Though it still mostly looks like he has tissue boxes on his feet. He also struggled against longer more athletic guards. The defense is a real worry. His offense is certainly not. Murray would likely be the third option on the Pelicans, after Jrue and AD. Can Murray torch a teams third best defender. Yes. Yes, he can
David: Jamal Murray is the best shooter in this draft. Yes, better than Buddy Hield. Hield is the better shooter right now, but Murray runs laps around Hield considering his age. Hopefully we have noticed that a couple guards who could shoot the lights out with questions on their length and athleticism currently front the greatest NBA team of all time.
But Murray's skill set goes beyond shooting. He's a capable secondary creator that didn't have the opportunity to demonstrate as much thanks to the complete absence of space in Kentucky's offense. Consider that Murray accounted for 46.4% of the Wildcats' 3-point makes during the season. When he took the ball off the dribble, teams could leave the remaining perimeter players at will. Watch him distribute in this video. Stay for the clutch buckets.
Defensively I think far too much is made of Murray's poor measurements. He's an incredibly intelligent player and while he won't be a great defender his basketball IQ and years of physical development will turn him into a competent defender. He won't be asked to guard the best perimeter threat in New Orleans with Jrue Holiday and "Free Agent X" at small forward so he can be hidden to a degree.
Quentin: Nope. I just don’t see it. He’s not a point guard and has average size for a shooting guard. He can shoot the lights out and finish at the rim, but has struggled with length in various moments, finished with more turnovers than assists and can’t defend a soul. The comparisons to James Harden kill me the most because he just isn’t as good. Harden, slander aside, could actually operate an offense and finished with positive assists/turnover ratios in both college seasons. Harden was also more active on the defensive end and made more plays in college, which is scary.
I’m lower on Murray than most because I think he’ll be a negative on defense for a majority of his career, and you have to hope that he’s good enough on the offensive end to buoy his value. I’m also a bit bearish on whether he’ll bring enough value as a secondary playmaker. When you bring that into the equation, I would much rather have Wade Baldwin, who has a better defensive profile can has the ability to space the floor, or Luwawu, who has the size to defend multiple wing positions one day and the ability to space the floor. Could be wrong one day, but I’m not seeing it with Murray.
Oleh: Jamal Murray recently finished putting touches on a hell of a season at Kentucky, scoring more points as a freshman than any of his brethren who came before him. There is no doubt about it, his shooting stroke is special and that will translate well at the next level. So should a nice ability to finish at the rim.
However, the rest of his game is a question mark. Many proclaim the playmaking ability exists, but as I wrote back in early April, I'm indifferent! Alvin Gentry is dying for ball movement, not another player who feels the need to make a play on his own. But if forced to answer the question, the proof isn't there. I don't care to hear the excuse about John Calipari pigeonholing his offense. The videotapes don't lie -- he has some handles and can make the basic reads and passes, but the point guard mentality, the vision, it wasn't present. Did you know that as a freshman, Buddy Hield's AST% easily surpassed Murray's? There is no doubt that Murray is most comfortable being a scorer first and foremost so odds are decent his AST% would have regressed like Hield's had he decided to stay longer in Lexington.
The bigger problem, though, is all those dismissing Murray's projections on the other side of the ball. You know, defense, where a player must spend half their time on the court. Lateral quickness? Nope. Reach and wingspan? Look elsewhere. Cornerback instincts like Kris Dunn? Not a chance! Furthermore, I don't get the comparisons to players who were once regarded as poor defenders. For instance, Stephen Curry's high steal percentage indicated he had great instincts -- his high IQ translated defensively. Not to mention, most rated Steph's lateral quickness well coming out of Davidson. Murray failed to exhibit a single quality which suggests some hidden potential is waiting to be revealed.
I won't be angry, like Jaylen Brown-upset, if the Pelicans draft Murray, but I am confident a better option will be available at the sixth draft pick.
Fernando: Yes! Yes! Yes! This is a prospect that I am falling more in love with every day. Murray is just 19, can do everything Buddy can and also be another playmaker on the floor. Another playmaker that can also create for himself is exactly what this team needs. If Murray is available, I think the Pels should run, not walk, and announce his selection.