2021 NBA draft profile: Trey Murphy III is a top-tier shooter

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NBA draft profile: Murphy's shooting could attract Sixers originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

A scouting report on NBA draft prospect Trey Murphy III: 

  • Position: Wing

  • Height: 6-7.5 (without shoes) 

  • Weight: 206 pounds 

  • School: Virginia 

Murphy transferred to Virginia after two seasons at Rice and was an excellent shooter against a higher level of competition. He averaged 11.3 points for the Cavaliers and had a 50/40/90 shooting season.

At the moment, it appears Murphy might be selected late in the first round. He’s therefore a logical possibility for the Sixers, who hold the 28th pick. They also own No. 50, acquired from the Knicks by former general manager Sam Hinkie in a 2015 draft-night trade. The Sixers sent New York the 58th pick as part of their trade-deadline deal for George Hill. 

Strengths 

Murphy has a pure jumper. His release is almost deceptively quick in the sense that, whether he’s wide-open or a defender is desperately closing out on him, he doesn’t look rushed. And, though catch-and-shoot jumpers are Murphy’s forte, he’s not limited to standstill shooting. He subtly slides over to the right spots for ball handlers to find him. Murphy knows how to cut back door, too.

One encouraging quality in projecting Murphy as an NBA role player is he understands his game, including his limitations. Though he’s capable of occasionally creating positive plays when defenders wary of his shot fly past him, Murphy doesn’t often try to do anything beyond his ability. He turned the ball over just once per 40 minutes.

Murphy possesses the length (7-foot wingspan) and agility to guard wings well. It looks like he might have the build and talent to effectively defend shooting guards through power forwards in the NBA, which is eye-catching in a league that’s increasingly valuing versatility. 

Weaknesses 

Is Murphy strong enough to play solid NBA post defense? To guard fours? Even though he’s unlikely to face a lot of bruising, back-to-the-basket sort of players, those are valid questions. At this stage, he will concede a strength advantage to most opponents.

Murphy is a good athlete with some pop as a finisher (34-inch standing vertical leap at the combine), though he doesn’t come across as especially explosive. He’s not very disruptive either, at least in terms of forcing turnovers. Outside of when he’s in a shooter-ready position or focusing on his defensive stance, Murphy tends to be rather upright. 

In college, Murphy did not contribute much as a rebounder or shot creator. At 21 years old, it would be uncommon if he dramatically improved in either of those areas when he hits the pros. Top-tier shooters with defensive tools can absolutely craft successful NBA careers, but it seems most of Murphy’s worth will stem from his shot. 

Fit 

While the Sixers shouldn’t draft Murphy only for fit reasons, he’d tick off a few boxes. The stretch-four potential is appealing for a team in need of second-unit frontcourt players, as is the idea of a sharpshooter and mature, two-way player.

Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey fully understands the importance of surrounding Joel Embiid with shooters, as he showed last draft night with trades for Seth Curry and Danny Green. Three-point shotmakers are obviously always welcome around Ben Simmons, too, in the event he stays with the Sixers.