- Washington G Dejounte Murray
Measurements via DraftExpress: Not Given since 2014
Per Game Statistics via DraftExpress:
DraftExpress Top 100 Prospects Ranking: 32nd
Being affiliated with the Klutch Sports Group has its distinct advantages: Nike will drool over you, LeBron James may show you his Spotify playlist, and in Murray's case, you will have the resources to obtain an individual workout merely on the merit of Rich Paul flexing his muscle. A prospect of Murray's stature is less likely to garner the individual workout treatment from teams, but when James and Co. have your back, anything is possible.
GM Ryan McDonough was understandably a bit peeved that he did not get to see Murray within a competitive setting, but he understands that the pre-draft workout process has been trending a different way than in the past.
"I think [an individual workout] is a trend that is happening league-wide. I was actually taking to T.J. Warren about it today. I think when we worked him out there was multiple lottery picks in the workout. Devin Booker came in and competed last year ... It is something we value -- I wish there were more of it, " McDonough said. "This is unfortunately one of the few parts of the process that we do not control. Our thought process on it is something is better than nothing."
Indeed, something is better than nothing, but teams have to be leery of this individual workout trend for incoming prospects. Front offices are already limited to what they are exposed to in workouts because they are restricted to having prospects play within a three on three setting, so numbing that down to a "one on zero" context has to be frustrating.
"We were glad to have [Murray] come in today. Obviously, we wish it was within a competitive setting, but that is kind of the way the process is going, so we will take what we can get," McDonough said.
Murray, on the other hand, had a different point of view on the matter.
"I mean, I love to compete, but [in] a solo [workout], you get tired faster. With other people, you get a break in between, so really, I like individual workouts. They help me recover and fight through when I am tired," Murray said.
I thought this was a really astute rebuttal by Murray. Sure, the natural instinct is that promoting a competitive workout with other similarly-rated players is the best path of pursuit, but there is still plenty to gain from having one on one time with a prospect.
There is more opportunity to dissect the nuances of his shot mechanics, dribble potency, and just how he is as a person. It is difficult to really get to know a player if there are five other distractions on the court. At the very least, an individual workout will allow the front office to really hone in on the dynamics -- both physically and mentally -- of that specific prospect.
From a talent and tools perspective, there is a bunch to be entranced by with Murray. He is a product of Rainier Beach high school, the home of Jamal Crawford and other notable NBA alumni. There is an urge to quickly compare his playground game to Crawford -- and you wouldn't be wrong -- but Murray shies away from those comparisons and views himself as an individual.
"I don't like comparing myself. You know, I let the media people do all of that. I'm Dejounte Murray. I'm not Jamal Crawford -- he has his own legacy," Murray said. "I'm just trying to start this journey and build my own legacy."
McDonough classified Murray as a de facto point guard for the time being, and I agree with that assessment. Murray is long, instinctual, and slippery with his handle; he has the unique ability to slither his way to the basket with an assortment of dribble drives to either create for himself, or his teammates. Most freshman guards do not have this kind of craft around the rim:
Though he is not a distributor per say, Murray knows how to penetrate the lane with his dribble wizardry and makes things happen for those around him. This is where Crawford comparisons come in; Murray can mask as a point guard on second units because he will be able to beat sorry third or fourth guards off the dribble. That skill set may not translate to becoming a star at the next level, but, as Crawford has shown, relishing in the sixth man role can be electrifying.
Because of his length, Murray will be able to hold his own along the wing once his frame fills out. He is obviously frail, but he is young, and his physical shortcomings do not show up in his game. There is no dismissal for seeking out contact, and his broad shoulders should help him pack more weight on over time.
In order for his off-ball potential to come to fruition, Murray will have to become a more lethal option from behind the arc. Word was that he did not shoot it as well as people hoped in the workout, and his 28 percent mark from three-point range is nothing to write home about. But there is nothing wrong with Murray's shot from a mechanics standpoint, and I feel comfortable in saying that his gym rat mantra will translate to a more consistent outside shot in the future.
I am very much a believer in Murray as a sixth man type in the NBA. Now, given their litany of guards, I am not exactly sure how much sense he makes for the Suns. However, shot creation is an important trait for any lead guard of a second unit, and Murray profiles as a player that will have no problem in that department as he develops.
Ryan McDonough Alert
I apologize ahead of time for the sound quality of the interviews. Eric Bledsoe and Warren were working out with some of the coaching staff and the constant dribbling may hinder the clarity of some of the questions/responses.
*The embedded video of Murray's dribbling was captured from his DraftExpress strengths video which can be viewed here.
That is a wrap on day 12, folks. I believe the next workouts have yet to be scheduled, but something tells me that Jamal Murray is coming up sometime in the near future. Buckle up.