Former Iowa men’s basketball player Keegan Murray impressing in NBA Summer League

Murray averaged 19.7 points and 8.0 rebounds per game in his first three games at this week’s California Classic.

Jul+5%2C+2022%3B+San+Francisco%2C+CA%2C+USA%3B+Sacramento+Kings+forward+Keegan+Murray+%2813%29+dribbles+against+Los+Angeles+Lakers+forward+Vitto+Brown+%2848%29+during+the+third+quarter+at+the+California+Summer+League+at+Chase+Center.+

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Jul 5, 2022; San Francisco, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings forward Keegan Murray (13) dribbles against Los Angeles Lakers forward Vitto Brown (48) during the third quarter at the California Summer League at Chase Center.

Grant Hall, Sports Reporter


Former Iowa men’s basketball player Keegan Murray has surprised critics and fans alike since he was picked No. 4 overall by the Sacramento Kings in the NBA Draft on June 23.

After he was picked, Murray was immediately scrutinized by pundits who claimed he was too old (21 years old) and didn’t offer enough potential to warrant his draft position. Some experts argued Sacramento should have drafted Purdue’s Jaden Ivey over Murray.

However, Murray has silenced many of the doubters with a stellar showing so far throughout the California Classic Summer League.

On July 2, Murray exploded onto the scene in his Kings debut, scoring an efficient 26 points, and shooting 71 percent with eight rebounds.

Murray’s debut was no fluke. He continued to show his potential as a high-volume scoring forward throughout the tournament, averaging a tournament-leading 19.7 points and eight rebounds in three games. His rebounding numbers were second-best among all players.

RELATED: Former Iowa basketball player Keegan Murray discusses journey to NBA

Murray, who played a tournament-leading 30.1 minutes per contest, converted 51.1 percent of his field goal attempts and shot 43.8 percent from beyond the arc.

Murray’s Summer League performance has reassured the Kings’ front office and coaching staff that they made the right decision. Per NBC Sports, Kings’ Summer League coach Jordi Fernández told reporters he was impressed with the rookie’s showing at the California Classic after the tournament’s final game.

“[He’s] just very steady, very efficient,” Fernandez said. “… He’s playing on both ends of the floor which is very important, not just in summer league, but for the Sacramento Kings. That’s just going to make us be a really good team, so [I’m] very impressed so far with Keegan and now moving into Vegas. I’m just excited for him.”

The Kings went a perfect 3-0 in California with wins over the Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors, and Miami Heat.

At this rate, it’s nearly a given that Murray will be slotted in the Kings’ starting lineup on opening night. Sacramento’s most likely starting five right now boasts De’Aaron Fox at point guard, either Kevin Huerter or Malik Monk at the two, Harrison Barnes and Murray at the forward spots, and All-Star Domantas Sabonis in the pivot spot.

Thanks in part to his young, talented supporting cast, Murray is tied for the fifth-best odds at 2022-23 Rookie of the Year. If he continues to show off his scoring prowess at the Vegas Summer League, those odds will skyrocket. So, if you’re hoping to place a bet on Keegan Murray for Rookie of the Year, now is the time to snatch up his +1000 odds.

The Kings will return to action on July 9 against the Orlando Magic in Las Vegas. Murray will match up against No. 1 overall pick Paolo Banchero at 4 p.m. on ESPN.


 

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