For The Win mocks Hawkeyes’ Keegan Murray No. 6 overall in the 2022 NBA draft

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The Iowa Hawkeyes look to be on the verge of having a player drafted in the first round of the NBA draft for the first time since 1998 when Ricky Davis was selected 21st overall by the Charlotte Hornets. The last Hawkeye to go in the top ten was Ronnie Lester to the Portland Trail Blazers in the 1980 NBA draft.

Many draft analysts see both of those trends finally coming to a close after star forward Keegan Murray hears his name called in the 2022 NBA draft. In his latest pre-combine and pre-NBA draft lottery forecast, For The Win’s Bryan Kalbrosky slotted Murray sixth overall to the Portland Trailblazers.

Iowa’s Keegan Murray is one of this draft class’s best, most well-rounded prospects. While I’m not sure he projects as someone with star potential in the NBA, he has the makings of an instantaneous contributor on both sides of the ball.

He isn’t going to carry an NBA offense, but he rarely makes mistakes when he is on the floor, and he was the nation’s leader in field goals made at the rim last year. Murray is the only college player on record to make 60 dunks and 60 3-pointers in the same season. Even when lowering that threshold to 45, no other player in a high-major conference has accomplished that in the past decade. – Kalbrosky, For The Win.

Murray is seen by Kalbrosky as a player who may not be a franchise-altering star, but as one of the safest picks in the entire draft. The 6-foot-8, 225 pound forward has an extremely well-rounded game. Murray led the Hawkeyes and all Power Five players with 23.5 points per game. The Cedar Rapids, Iowa, product also finished second in the Big Ten in rebounding, grabbing 8.7 boards per contest. Murray also averaged 1.9 blocks per game. He was named first-team All-Big Ten this past year and was a consensus All-American.

Until the Trail Blazers trade Damian Lillard, they are effectively in win-now mode. Anfernee Simons is a very good second option who can shoot the lights out, and Josh Hart took his game to another level albeit in a small 13-game sample size in Portland. Adding a player like Murray who can contribute on day one makes a ton of sense for Portland.

The top five selections in Kalbrosky’s mock draft looked like this: Duke’s Paolo Banchero No. 1 overall to the Houston Rockets, Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren No. 2 to the Orlando Magic, Auburn‘s Jabari Smith No. 3 to the Detroit Pistons, Kentucky’s Shaedon Sharpe No. 4 to the Oklahoma City Thunder and Purdue’s Jaden Ivey No. 5 to the Indiana Pacers.

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