The Toronto Raptors could land Canadian guard Jamal Murray


Canadian Jamal Murray will join the Kentucky Wildcats as an incoming freshmen this fall. The combo guard from Kitchener, Ontario reclassified into the 2015 class and became eligible for the 2016 NBA Draft. At 18-years-old, Murray is a highly touted prospect and could make the jump to the association sooner rather than later.

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Murray already had an impressive resume heading into the summer with a 30 point performance, along with MVP honours at the Nike Hoop Summit in Portland, Oregon. In spite of this, it was his play at the 2015 Pan Am Games that generated the most buzz and validated his potential as a top NBA prospect.

According to Synergy Sports Tech, Murray was among the best offensively at the Pan Am Games:

I attended the Canada vs. Dominican Republic game and was specifically impressed by Murray’s composure and ball-handling ability. While he may have been playing against inferior talent, he still faced many professional ballers and fringe NBA players. The youngster showed acute court awareness and the ability to run the pick and roll. While it is quite typical for young guards to play too fast at times, Murray kept his dribble under control and didn’t waver under pressure.

Various mock drafts have projected Murray as a 2016 lottery selection and expect him to have a one-and-done career in Kentucky. Holding the rights to the Knicks’ 2016 first-round pick (which may be swapped with the Nuggets 2016 first rounder), the Toronto Raptors could realistically draft him should he become available.

Since the Nuggets and Knicks have a long shot at making the playoffs, we can assume both teams will likely hold a lottery pick around the 5-10 range, which falls within Murray’s draft outlook. As a result, the Raptors should have a good chance, even after taking into account the swap of the lesser pick.

While the Raptors have a void at power forward, the potential of adding Murray may be too good to pass over. With DeMar Derozan’s questionable future and the hunt for Kevin Durant, drafting Murray would give the Raps a high upside and versatile guard for the future.

Perhaps he could serve as a primary scoring option off the bench, since we saw he can pour in points in a hurry. Plus, sis physical traits (6’5″ and 205 lbs) would allow him to slide to the shooting guard slot in occasional lineups.

Although the Raptors currently have a logjam of guards, nobody is untouchable and GM Masai Ujiri will certainly tinker with his roster and evaluate team needs after the end of this coming season. A lot could change from now until the NBA Draft, but the Raps should definitely entertain the possibility of adding an elite homegrown player.

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