Kings’ Keegan Murray is a star in the making

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The Sacramento Kings may not be the talk of the town like they were last season, but amidst the shifting narratives and attention-grabbing storylines in the NBA, one player has been quietly making significant strides: Keegan Murray. Despite flying under the radar outside of the Kings’ organization and fanbase, Murray’s growth and development in his second NBA season have been nothing short of remarkable.

In a league where the spotlight often shines brightest on the flashiest stars and hottest teams, Murray’s journey serves as a reminder of the importance of recognizing the internal improvement happening within overlooked players and teams.

Murray’s recent standout performance against the Golden State Warriors provided a glimpse into his evolving skill set and potential as a budding star in the league. While it’s crucial not to overemphasize the significance of a single game, Murray’s clash with the Warriors offered valuable insights into his strengths and areas of growth.

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One of Murray’s standout attributes is his shooting prowess, particularly from beyond the arc. Despite a slight regression in his 3-point shooting percentage this season, Murray’s overall shooting indicators remain strong, indicating the potential for positive regression in his shooting efficiency. Against the Warriors, Murray showcased his shooting ability by knocking down 61.5% of his attempts from beyond the arc.

However, what truly sets Murray apart this season is his improved ability to create scoring opportunities off the dribble. Compared to his rookie season, Murray has significantly increased the number of field goal attempts he generates after dribbling, demonstrating a newfound confidence and versatility in his offensive game. His utilization of moves like the snake dribble to create space and convert pull-up jumpers highlights his evolving skill set as a scorer.

Moreover, Murray has overcome previous fears of physicality and contact, showcasing a willingness to drive to the basket and absorb contact with greater efficiency. This increased aggressiveness has translated to more successful drives to the rim, contributing to his overall offensive effectiveness.

Defensively, Murray’s combination of size, length, and lateral agility make him a formidable presence on the court. His improved defensive metrics reflect his ability to guard multiple positions, disrupt passing lanes, and provide secondary rim protection. Murray’s defensive contributions have been instrumental in elevating the Kings’ overall defensive performance this season.

While Murray may not fit the traditional mold of a bonafide superstar, his complementary skills and two-way impact make him a valuable asset for any team. Similar to players like Mikal Bridges, Murray’s ability to excel in various facets of the game positions him as a potential star role player on a contending team.

As Murray continues to refine his game and mature as a player, his future in the league looks bright. While he may not capture the headlines like other high-profile stars, Murray’s emergence as a key contributor for the Kings serves as a testament to the depth and talent hidden within the NBA’s ranks. So, perhaps it’s time to shift our focus away from the spotlight and appreciate the hidden gems like Murray who are quietly making their mark on the league.