clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Trey Murphy’s offensive involvement proving to be big indicator of Pelicans’ team success

Trigga needs a bountiful number of shot attempts every game!

Brooklyn Nets v New Orleans Pelicans Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

As the amount of Trey Murphy’s shot attempts go, so do the odds for team victory.

The New Orleans Pelicans are in Cleveland today and will close out a five-game road trip against the Cavaliers in an early matinee matchup. They’ll have to find a way to beat one of the best from the Eastern Conference without Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram. A good starting point would be prioritizing Trey’s involvement in the offense.

A strong pattern has emerged between how often Murphy launches the basketball and the Pelicans win/loss record — and Trey’s individual shooting success doesn’t appear determinative.

Field goal attempts FG% Corresponding Pelicans record 3-point attempts 3PT% Corresponding Pelicans record
13 or more 46.5% 7-1 8 or more 41.9% 7-1
8-12 52.1% 10-8 5-7 39.4% 10-6
7 or less 42.1% 6-8 4 or less 38.5% 6-10

The Pelicans have proven near unbeatable when Murphy has attempted 13 or more field goals or eight or more 3-pointers in games. Plus, the data shows that he hasn’t shot lights out with the increased frequency. That presents for an ideal game plan.

Murphy’s gravity is undeniable. He’s quickly proven to be one of the best pure shooters in the game. Give him space on a catch-and-shoot 3 and he’ll make teams pay regardless of the distance from the rim.

That deadly shooting provides better spacing and not just for the Williamson's and Ingram’s of the world. CJ McCollum is less likely to be draped by multiple bodies. Jonas Valanciunas has a greater chance of going one-on-one against a disadvantaged opponent in the post. And Naji Marshall can continue doing what he does best, weaving into the lane for scores at the rim or trips to the free throw line.

“Just use my shooting gravity as well as my athletic ability at the same time,” Murphy said after last week’s loss in Boston. “When guys are flying out at me, creating closeouts, I have to make quick decisions and try and get to the rim, make plays for others, make plays for myself.”

However, opponents have been keen of Murphy’s shooting prowess for awhile now. You best believe his name sits towards the top of every scouting report because he’s averaging less field goal and 3-point attempts per 100 possessions this season than in his rookie year.

“We always talk about getting more 3s,” Murphy said. “Just try and find ways to get the guys off of me. I’ve got to move a lot more because catch-and-shoot is being taken away a little bit more often than in the past.”

Willie Green has mentioned numerous times this season that Murphy has the green light. That he wants his second-year man to be more selfish in looking for his shot more. The problem is finding those seams in the defense, and unfortunately, part of the solution points to a need for additional development time.

Along with teammates always making it a priority to find him when he has daylight, of course, Murphy needs to improve on creating more opportunities for himself. That could be as simple as reading the defender more closely and better utilizing a screen or making a more timely cut. He should also look to improve his pull-up game.

Murphy’s ball-handling has come a long way in a short period, but he’s not a finished product. In the meantime, however, one or two dribbles in any direction and then rising up over the defense could reap rewards. Few can contest well against his length and Murphy’s decision-making should be trusted. Trey hasn’t had more than two turnovers in any game yet this season, for instance.

Murphy has a true shooting percentage of 64.6%. Excluding centers, only Kevin Durant, Lauri Markkanen, Stephen Curry, Grant Williams, Zion Williamson and Aaron Gordon have a higher mark among players averaging 25 or more minutes a game.

Somehow, someway, Trey Murphy needs to increase his shot attempts per game. He’s not only incredibly efficient, the Pelicans find the win column much more often when he hoists with greater regularity.

Who: New Orleans Pelicans (26-17) at Cleveland Cavaliers (27-17)

When: January 16, 2023, 2:00 p.m. CT

Where to watch: Bally Sports New Orleans, League Pass

Where to listen: WRNO 99.5

For more Pelicans talk, subscribe to The Bird Calls podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow this author on Twitter at @OlehKosel.