Detroit Pistons draft: Keegan Murray is the best fit outside the top-4

Iowa Hawkeyes forward Keegan Murray (15) Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Iowa Hawkeyes forward Keegan Murray (15) Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

As the 2021-22 NBA regular season inches closer to its finality, the Detroit Pistons are eyeing another pick in the top of the NBA Draft, hopefully in the top-3.

While Paolo Banchero, Jabari Smith, and Chet Holmgren have emerged as viable options for the top pick in a three-man race, there’s plenty of talent elsewhere in this year’s draft.

One of those prospects is Keegan Murray, a sophomore from Iowa who has climbed near the top of many draft boards after a monstrous season.

Detroit Pistons draft: Keegan Murray can do a bit of everything

Much like Johnny Davis, another projected lottery pick in the Big Ten Conference, Murray took a massive jump in his second year, averaging 23.5 points a game to go along with 8.7 rebounds.

The 6-foot-9 forward boasts an advanced, refined offensive game that allows him to stretch the floor with his jumper, finish at the rim effectively with both hands, and pose trouble on both ends with his length.

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With Luka Garza’s departure last season, Murray stepped up as the leading scorer and the focal point of a team that had a gaping hole to be filled in the scoring and rebounding categories.

Despite his increased shot volume (Murray took over two hundred more shots than any other Hawkeye this season), the sophomore was still incredibly efficient, shooting over 55 percent from the field, and just under forty percent from behind the arc.

The Hawkeyes would go on to finish 26-10 on the season, and would win the Big Ten Conference championship before an early exit in the NCAA tournament.

While fans won’t get to see more of Murray this season, it’s safe to say he’s done more than enough to be considered an early lottery pick in this year’s draft.

In Johnathan Givony’s most recent 2022 NBA mock draft, Murray was drafted fifth overall by the Detroit Pistons.

In Detroit, Murray could thrive defensively, giving the Pistons another long, lengthy defender with the agility to switch onto guards and alter shots. This season, Murray averaged just under two blocks a game.

Offensively, Murray would be able to immediately provide points with his ability to catch and shoot, run pick and rolls, and score in transition. Unlike many other college stars, Murray needs very few dribbles to generate a quality shot, and he’s also adept at moving without the ball, having thrived in an offense centered on the modern day principles of ball movement and position-less basketball at Iowa, which would make him a great fit with Cade Cunningham.

While it remains to be seen if Detroit stays within the three-man sweepstakes of this year’s lottery, it’s important to note that this year’s draft is relatively deep beyond the aforementioned stars.

Keegan Murray may not come from a blue-blood school, or have the most hype coming into this year’s draft, but the All-American certainly boasts one of the most translatable skill sets from college to the NBA, that any team, including the Detroit Pistons, would greatly benefit from, both now and in the future.

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