Fox predicts ‘Uncle Keegan' will take significant leap in Year 2

Fox predicts ‘Uncle Keegan' will take significant leap in Year 2 originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

Keegan Murray went from NBA rookie to "Uncle Keegs" following his first season in the league.

The 23-year-old Kings forward has spent a lot of time with the Fox family this offseason, including De'Aaron and Recee Fox's baby Reign. And even though his rookie obligations are no longer, Murray has been put on babysitting duty at times this summer.

And just like Murray's transition from Chick-fil-A fetcher to Diaper Dan, Fox is excited for the young forward's sophomore evolution on the court, too.

"It's been fun. Keegan's opened up a lot," De'Aaron shared to NBC Sports California's Deuce Mason and Morgan Ragan on the "Deuce and Mo" podcast. "Because he's still Keegan. Like he still has the like, 'I don't know. I don't know Fox why,' but now Keegan will walk in and like actually try and crack a joke.

"It's still in the same tone of voice but you can just tell that he's opened up a lot and it's fantastic. I've seen him almost, basically every day … We've seen Keegan just about every day."

Murray's laid-back, chill vibe was shown both on and off the court. During rough shooting stretches or nights where he had the hot hand, he never got too high or too low. But as a rookie, he never caught a break from his teammates about his reserved personality.

His demeanor was even playfully mocked by Kings coach Mike Brown, who displayed a very on-brand impression of his rookie in front of a room full of media last season. But it's what makes Keegan, Keegan, and so easy for Sacramento fans to adore.

One year later, though, De'Aaron and Recee have seen a different side to Murray that they're excited about.

Above all, they anticipate a big jump in his game in Year 2.

"I think Keegan's going to be so much better this year than he was last year," De'Aaron said. "He's gotten a lot more comfortable dribbling the ball, he's creating for himself. I mean we saw it in the California Classic, I mean, he probably shouldn't have been out there but … I'm glad he played 'cause, you can work on stuff, and work on stuff one-on-one but does it translate?

"I know a lot of guys that can get to it one-on-one but it doesn't translate to when there's five guys on the court and guys are long, there's people in help side, sometimes it doesn't translate and I'm glad he was able to go out there. It also builds your confidence. He went out there and did what you are supposed to do. You got 40 and now you're not playing in Vegas."

In his first NBA season, Murray played and started on a playoff team, broke the NBA rookie 3-point record and was named to the All-Rookie First Team. It's just the beginning for the young forward, and now, "Uncle Keegs" will get an opportunity to take his game to the next level.