By Dallas Jones
IOWA CITY, Iowa – For the third year in a row, Hawkeye fans will tune into the NBA draft to see where a former Hawkeye star lands. That star this year is the lefty Kris Murray, who showed this year how high is potential truly is.
Kris Murray was tabbed a consensus third team All-American in 2023. Iowa has had a consensus All-American five of the last eight seasons, including four straight. Jarrod Uthoff was a second-team honoree in 2016; Luka Garza earned first-team distinction in 2020 and 2021, while Keegan Murray was recognized on the first team in 2022.
Iowa has had a player average 20+ points per game each of the last four seasons, which is a program best. Luka Garza averaged 23.9 in 2020 and 24.1 in 2021, Keegan Murray averaged 23.5 in 2022 and Kris Murray averaged 20.2 points per game in 2023.
Joe Wieskamp (41st pick) and Luka Garza (52nd pick) were drafted in the 2021 draft and broke a six year drought for the Hawkeyes. Keegan Murray then followed their lead and was selected 4th overall in the 2022 draft.
Keegan shoots righty, Kris shoots lefty… 👀
— NBA (@NBA) June 21, 2023
Now the question is where does Kris land? Will he join his brother in Sacramento or will he get a chance to forge his path on his own?
As we count down the hours till the draft, lets look at what teams have been interested in Murray and where his abilities fit
Golden State Warriors (19th pick):
The 2022 NBA champion Golden State Warriors are the dynasty of the modern NBA. Steph Curry has cemented his place in the history books for generations to come and changed the game forever.
With that being said, Curry is 35 years old and if Golden State wants to make the most of Curry’s abilities, they need players who can perform sooner than later. That is where Kris Murray comes in.
While some teams are looking for young players to mold into something more later down the line, the 22 year-old Murray has the maturity and poise to impact games at an NBA level right now.
Murray’s size at 6’8″ with an almost seven foot wingspan immediately boosts that Golden State front court, coupled with Murray’s shooting ability (34.8% from three at Iowa). Fits in with their fast paced offense that takes as many threes as any team in the association.
What type of players might the Warriors be looking at on draft night? A couple of candidates here with more on why they could be appealing heading into a pivotal season. pic.twitter.com/jW4DIdcE5z
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) June 20, 2023
Sacramento Kings (24th pick):
If you asked any Iowa fan where they want to see Kris Murray wind up by the end of the draft, the consensus answer would be the Sacramento Kings.
Sacramento embraced Keegan from day one last season and he put together a first-team all-rookie season, while setting the NBA record for most made three point field goals in a season by a rookie.
The idea of bringing the Murray twins together on the next level not only makes for a great story, but they are also a great pair on the court at a premium position.
At this moment, Harrison Barnes, Trey Lyles and Terrance Davis are three guys who played heavy minutes in the 3/4 spot for the Kings that are not currently under contract for the 2023/24 season.
That opens the window for not only a spot on the roster, but a chance to see twins share a floor on the same team since Marcus and Markieff Morris for the Phoenix Suns.
the latest ESPN mock still has Kris Murray as the selection for the Kings at pick #24 pic.twitter.com/VU35YAe6Te
— J r u e (@thatl0calguy) June 14, 2023
Portland Trailblazers (23rd pick)?:
Now this is where things get interesting. The Portland Trailblazers have been desperate for wings to pair with their superstar point guard Damian Lillard for years and none have worked out.
Bleacher Report has the Blazers attempting to solve that issue by selecting Murray at 23 in their latest mock draft.
Murray falling to them would be an easy choice for fit, a pick-and-pop stretch four who can slash opens up easy opportunities on offense. While similarly to Golden State, they do not need a project player.
Now that is assuming they do not follow the route we are seeing from the Washington Wizards and completely clean house. Every offseason for the last three years at least it seems there are rumors surrounding Lillard being shipped out somewhere else in the NBA and this year is no different.
Portland has again shut down these rumors, but it is very clear that Lillard wants to win now and it is a players league. Do not be surprised if we see some trades and movement from 19-25.
It is very possible that a team completely off the board where Murray projects could end up being his home.
Kris Murray’s greatest attribute as we enter the draft is he has a skillset that every single NBA team can use. A versatile player that can score on all three levels while guarding multiple positions.
I think there is a reason the Golden State Warriors worked him out last week and have made it clear that type of player they want on their team. They know exactly the type of player and man they are adding to their team.
I expect them to select Murray at 19.
We can always expect the NBA to keep things interesting, so do not be surprised if there are some shifts in the draft order, especially around Murray’s projection.
All we can do now is wait.