Jamal Murray is a guard from the University of Kentucky. Murray is 6’4 and has a wingspan of 6’6. For the year, he averaged, 35.2minutes per game, 20.0 points per game, 5.2 rebounds per game, 2.2 assists per game, 1.0 steals per game, while shooting 45.4% from the field, and 40.8% from three.
- Potent scorer
- Can hit any shot
- Good spot-up shooter
- Attacks the rim
- Can play either guard position
- Good ball handler
- Good rebounder
- Great athleticism
- Level headed
- Clutch factor
- Defensive effort
- Needs to further develop point guard skills
- Struggles creating for others
- Can live and die by his three point game
- Struggles on offense without the ball
- Needs to get to the line more
- Smaller wingspan
- Turnover prone
Jamal Murray has a lot of mixed feelings from people. Has the offensive game to light up the scoreboard, and carry a team on his back, but defensively, Murray leaves a lot to be desired.
On offense, Murray is the ultimate scorer. During his first season at Kentucky, Murray showed the ability to hit any shot from anywhere on the court. Murray does love to shoot the three ball, and although his average is above 40%, he did have games where he shot eight or more three’s and only made one or two. Making sure he understands when to shoot the three, and when to pass it off to teammates will make him a better offensive player, and more successful at the next level. When he is not shooting the three, Murray is ferocious when attacking the rim. He uses his superior athleticism to speed by his opponents, and finish through contact. He was only averaging four free throw attempts per game, so drawing more contact at the next level is something he needs to improve on. Murray is not an elite point guard prospect, but more of a shooting guard, with point guard handles. Without the ball in his hand, Murray can become lazy on offense, and mess up the team’s rhythm. When he does have the ball in his hand, Murray struggles to see the court and find open teammates. If Murray can learn to become less selfish, Murray could turn into an elite guard at the next level. One of the elite attributes Murray does possess is his clutch factor, which many teams crave their star to have. Murray loves the pressure that comes with the last five minutes of a game, and thrives here. He stays clear-headed, and keeps his emotions in check.
On defense, Murray receives a lot of negative reviews. Although he does not have the elite wingspan to contain his opponents, Murray does have the speed and athleticism to make up for it, but he does not try to give effort on this end. He loves to gamble on getting steals, which hurts the team defense as a whole. Murray is a very good rebounding guard. He uses his quickness to snatch the ball, and attack the opposing defense in transition.
As a whole, Murray is a gamble for teams looking for a lead guard. Kris Dunn projects to be a more well-rounded lead guard, but Murray has the potential to be an elite scorer. He has a lot of work to do on the offensive side of the ball, as his awareness his sub par, but no one can knock his ability to score. His defensive game is a work in progress. He has the intangibles to be at least an average defender at the next level, but will need constant pressure from the coaching staff to make it a consistent trait of his game. Murray has a projected draft range of 4-8. Teams like Minnesota and New Orleans are going to be heavily rumored to be interested in a guard, and Minnesota needs to add another scorer, and with Tom Thibodeau as their head coach, he could get the defensive effort from him.
Pro Comparison: Damian Lillard
After watching a lot of film of both of these two players, they are extremely similar. Neither player was an elite point guard prospect coming out of college, and are both tweener guard projects. Both players have good size, but do not have great wingspans. They also share very similar athletic abilities.
Lillard and Murray are both offensively gifted. Both are high volume scorers, who love to shoot the three. Both players have the ability to create their own shot, or are effective spot-up shooters. Both players are effective ball handler, but are also susceptible to becoming turnover prone at times. When attacking the rim, Lillard is much more effective at using this to get to the line. Lillard got to the line at nearly double the rate of Murray coming out of college, and was a much more efficient player from the line. In terms of playmaking, Lillard was a good passer coming out of school, and Murray has similar techniques to Lillard, but he tends to try and create for himself versus trusting his teammates with open looks.
Defensively, Lillard had better views coming out of college, but since he has become a star in the league, Lillard struggles with his effort. With similar physical attributes, Murray and Lillard could become dominant two-way guards, but giving so much effort on offense, they tend to use defense to catch their breath. Both players are good rebounders from the guard position, and use this to lead their team’s in transition. Lillard has become one of the deadliest players in transition, and I expect Murray to do the same.
Murray has a long way to go to get to the potential of Damian Lillard, but with so many similar characteristics it can only be a matter of time before it does happen. Both players have tremendous confidence in their offensive game, as well as an eerie calmness under pressure, which makes them effective in crunch time. Defense may not be the strongest suit or either player, but as long as they play average defense, their offensive abilities can outweigh the negative.
By: Mac Crowe, @Mac_Truck17