Why the Iowa Hawkeyes’ Keegan Murray fits in perfectly with the Sacramento Kings

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Keegan Murray is officially the highest-drafted Iowa Hawkeye in school history!

Iowa’s first-ever top-five selection, Murray was drafted No. 4 overall by a Sacramento Kings team trying desperately to right the ship. Without a winning season in 15 years, the Kings made a win-now move last year by trading for All-Star big man Domantas Sabonis.

While they gave up budding star guard Tyrese Haliburton, the hope is that point guard De’Aaron Fox and Sabonis can form an elite partnership. Keegan Murray looks to be a strong third option on the Kings.

Sacramento is one of the best landing spots for Murray. As a player, Murray is definitely a high-floor guy. He is one of the most well-rounded players in the draft, proficient in most areas.

Last year, Murray became just the second Division I player in history to amass more than 800 points, 60 blocks, and 60 3-pointers in a single season. The Cedar Rapids, Iowa, native joined Kevin Durant in that distinction. He can knock them down from behind the arc, shooting 39.8% from 3-point range. With his size, Murray can be a good secondary rebounder and can guard the No. 1 through No. 4 positions.

While he’s pretty good in most areas, Murray doesn’t necessarily have one trump card at the moment. His best attribute is probably his scoring and his shooting in particular, but he doesn’t really project to be a No. 1 scoring option on a team. Murray’s best role is being the reliable third option who can provide shooting, some secondary perimeter scoring, and just really be a glue guy. This is what makes him the perfect player for Sacramento here.

Many will see passing up on Purdue point guard Jaden Ivey as a mistake, but Ivey doesn’t really fit the Kings currently. Ivey is a pretty ball-dominant guard, sort of clashing with Fox’s game.

Don’t forget that Sacramento already shipped Haliburton, a rising star, to clear up the backcourt. Don’t forget about Davion Mitchell either. The Kings already have their go-to guys in Fox and Sabonis. What they really need is that reliable third option. That’s where Murray fits in.

The Kings were a rough defensive team last year, ranking near the bottom of the league. Murray is a ready-now prospect who should provide some solid defense right away.

Small forward Harrison Barnes actually shot well from 3-point distance last year, hitting 39% of his shots on just under five attempts a game. Besides him, there really isn’t another reliable shooter on the roster now that Buddy Hield is gone. Murray will provide more spacing from the four, really allowing Fox and Sabonis to do their work inside.

Many will be upset that Sacramento did not shoot for a star here, but that isn’t necessarily what they need. They brought in their star in Domantas Sabonis. They needed a good third option, and that’s exactly what Murray can be. Sacramento strongly declared that they were trying to contend with their trade for Sabonis. Drafting a ready-now forward like Keegan Murray further backs that sentiment.

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An early look at the Iowa Hawkeyes' nonconference basketball matchups in 2022-23

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