Iowa’s Keegan Murray wins NBA 2K23 Summer League Most Valuable Player award

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The NBA announced Monday that Sacramento Kings forward Keegan Murray was named Most Valuable Player of the 2K23 Summer League. He joins last year’s Summer League MVP Davion Mitchell as the newest King to win the award.

In his four games, Murray averaged 23.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.3 steals. He shot 50% from the field, and an impressive 40% from 3-point range.

Naturally, Murray was named to the All-Summer League first team alongside Tari Eason (Houston Rockets), Quentin Grimes (New York Knicks), Cam Thomas (Brooklyn Nets), and Sandro Mamukelashvili (San Antonio Spurs). He was the only player to average at least 20 points per game while shooting 50% from the field and 40% from downtown.

A lot of the top prospects impressed this year at the Summer League. It seemed like in the first half of Paolo Banchero’s first game for the Magic, he confirmed everything fans hoped for with the selection. His game is as smooth and advanced as advertised, especially inside the arc.

There are still concerns about second overall pick Chet Holmgren’s weight, Kenneth Lofton Jr. bullied him inside a few times. Despite this though, Chet’s potential as a rim protector and overall unicorn on offense were evident.

With all of this in mind, Keegan Murray still easily had the best stretch of performances of any of the top prospects.

Murray posted the highest points per game average at Summer League by a top-10 pick since 2012 despite being the fourth overall pick, a selection that was criticized by a lot of fans and the media. The raw numbers, as impressive as they are, don’t do Murray’s performance justice, though.

It’s not just how much he’s scored, it’s how. In Summer League, there can be a lot of hero ball as players try to show why they should make a roster. You can see a lot of iso-ball, especially as top prospects try to really show off their game.

While there were times where Murray took it upon himself to go and get a basket, that’s not how the majority of his points were scored. In a Summer League rarity, Murray showed that he can contribute within the flow of the game. He doesn’t need to dribble around for 15 seconds to get a look.

He has an extremely quick trigger, and it helped him get 3-pointers off before the contest. His ability from beyond the arc is extremely encouraging for a Kings team that desperately needs a shooter on the wing.

For a closer look at Murray’s performance over the past few games, @SacFilmRoom on Twitter posted a fantastic thread that is a must watch for any fan.

It might have just been Summer League, but Murray showed composure under pressure. In the Summer League game of the season between the Magic and the Kings, Murray hit a big 3-pointer at the buzzer to force overtime against Banchero and Orlando. He scored 20 points in that contest, grabbing nine boards, and draining four of his eight 3-point attempts.

Against second overall pick Chet Holmgren and the Thunder, Murray clearly outplayed Holmgren, scoring 29 points on 53% shooting. Holmgren only scored eight points, accumulated six fouls, and finished as a minus-10 despite the Thunder winning the game.

It’s only Summer League, but fans have seen everything they could possibly want to see from Murray early on. Touted as a pro-ready prospect, Murray clearly looked the part in Las Vegas. For all of the “it’s just Summer League” talk, he still outperformed other top prospects on the same stage, and even when facing head to head.

The Kings drafted him with the hope of him becoming that third pillar in their lineup, supporting De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis on the wing. The floor looks as high as advertised, but it seems as though the ceiling may be higher than he was ever given credit for outside of those in Iowa city.

Murray looks nearly identical to the player who led the Hawkeyes to a Big Ten Tournament title this past spring. He looked like a star in Vegas when many decided before he even put on a Kings uniform that he’d end up with egg on his face.

It might “just be Summer League,” but it’s another step towards Murray silencing the critics and proving that Sacramento made the right decision.

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'His teammates will love playing with him': Fran McCaffery on Sacramento Kings' Keegan Murray

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