Iowa’s Kris Murray would be an ideal Toronto Raptors draftee

NEWARK, NJ - NOVEMBER 16: Kris Murray #24 (Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images)
NEWARK, NJ - NOVEMBER 16: Kris Murray #24 (Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images) /

After a 48-win season and Scottie Barnes securing the Rookie of the Year award, the Toronto Raptors were expected to challenge the top teams in the NBA’s Eastern Conference. Instead, the Raptors barely cling to a play-in playoff position at #10 in the East.

It’s been a rough start to the season with injuries constantly depleting the roster’s depth. But, if this trend of losing continues, the Raptors may find themselves with a splendid draftee as a prize in Iowa’s Kris Murray.

Every team slated for the lottery this season has their eye on Frenchman Victor Wenbanyama, but beggars can’t be choosers. This is why the third-year Hawkeye, who just saw his twin brother Keegan Murray get picked fourth overall by the Sacramento Kings, could be on the Raptors’ draft board in 2023.

This is a flawed roster with some genuine problems that may not be entirely fixed with one draftee. However, much like his brother, Murray brings a unique set of skills to the table that will likely mesh well with a team that shows no signs of abandoning its “Vision 6-9” mindset.

Toronto Raptors Draft: Iowa PF Kris Murray fits the scheme.

Murray would be a great fit for the system and style of basketball that the Raptors’ management and coaching staff gravitate towards. A versatile 6-8 forward, Murray has a smooth game. He is capable of beating his defender off of the dribble, shooting the three (over 37% with Iowa), and he runs the floor well.

At the moment, the Raptors could use a steady reliable deadeye from behind the arc as the team is shooting the three at the second-worst rate in the NBA.

At the defensive end of the court, Murray has a knack for tracking down and erasing opponent shot attempts from the weak/blind side making him a strong help defender. While Toronto tries to develop Christian Koloko into a viable rim protector, the addition of Murray would be beneficial to the team’s overall defensive concepts.

Murray is also a high IQ type player as he explained after a monster performance of 31 points and 20 rebounds in a win against Georgia Tech last month.

"“I feel like I was letting the game come to me tonight,” Murray said. “I hit open shots and knew I had mismatches (in the paint) so we definitely wanted to take advantage of that. And also (rebounding well), that’s one thing that we took away from (last weekend’s Emerald Coast Classic) so I made sure to make a point of that.”"

The 20 rebounds on November 29 vs Georgia Tech is something the Raptors should covet. Toronto is an extremely good offensive-rebounding team but struggles to secure them at the defensive end of the court.

Murray has made big improvements in his game as he averaged just over 9.7 points per game last season and is now averaging 19.4 per game this year a huge jump in production. He is efficient though, with a field goal average of 50%. Head Coach Fran McCaffery has taken notice:

"“His game has evolved,” McCaffery said. “He’s way more comfortable whether it’s making plays off the dribble, whether it’s posting up, playing in transition, playing against zone or against smaller, quicker guys or bigger, more physical guys. He’s been through it now.”"

The third-year collegiate will be 23 years old before playing his first NBA game, so the questions are how high his ceiling is are valid.

The Raptors might not be able to select Murray if he starts matching the gaudy numbers his brother put up. However, if he floats down to somewhere in the teens, Toronto just might be able to snatch up a future long-term contributor.

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