The annual SBN NBA mock draft is always a great exercise in reality, as the picks are made a relatively quick decision has to be made when, in my case, the Pacers are on the clock. As it turned out, I may have submitted the quickest pick in the whole draft.
My plan was to utilize the IC community’s big board for pick six which is ultimately how it played out. Through four picks, it appeared the draft was going according to the big board, so I was a bit hesitant to jump on Shaedon Sharpe, a pick which can be argued for and against quite vociferously. But, alas, the Pistons shook things up by grabbing Bennedict Mathurin with the fifth pick, leaving Murray on the board.
Is Murray a safe pick? Well, yeah, in so much as we already know he’s a legitimate forward who has the offensive chops to score both inside and out. Or as CC explained while accentuating Murray’s positives, at Iowa he was a ‘souped-up jack of all trades.’
Last season at Iowa, Murray averaged 23.5 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.2 blocks and steals combined per game while carrying a heavy load for the Hawkeyes. While his post game may atrophy a bit under Rick Carlisle, the ability and option to make basketball plays both inside and out is a good place to start your NBA career.
Murray still has plenty of room for development, particularly in creating his own shot, but at his position, that is nice to have, but not critical to begin his NBA career. He has compared himself to Khris Middleton of the Bucks, which isn’t exactly shooting for the moon, but is the type of player at a position that the Pacers need.
This one pick, regardless of the player, will not make the Pacers an immediate contender in the East. But it is critical that this pick provide big-time push to help the Pacers in that direction as one of a few pieces needed in their current rebuild. Keegan Murray will certainly help and it would be fun to find out to what degree if the Pacers were able to pick him in this draft.