The Detroit Pistons have the fifth overall selection in the upcoming NBA draft. Picking at five, the Pistons will have plenty of directions they can go with the pick. One of the most popular players mocked to the Pistons is forward Keegan Murray out of Iowa.
If Keegan Muray is the pick, let’s see how he would fit with the Pistons’ roster.
Keegan Murray is a 6’8 sophomore power forward out of Iowa. This past season, he took advantage of a larger role due to the departure of Piston Luka Garza. The larger role led to him being the Big Ten player of the year, NCAA point leader, and a first-team consensus All-American.
Outside of scoring a whopping 23.5 points a game, Murray grabbed 8.7 rebounds, blocked 1.9 shots, and had 1. 3 steals a game (via Sports Reference). Such success in a major conference makes Murray a safe bet to contribute immediately in the NBA.
Murray’s offensive skills will immediately allow him to be an effective, efficient off-ball scorer. Murray’s jump shooting will force defenses to account for him at all times. Plus, Murray is not just a catch-and-shoot guy either; he is capable of shooting off movement in the pick and pop or off flare screens.
If defenses focus on taking away his shooting, Murray is a great cutter and can attack closeouts to get to the rim. Murray is even capable of being a roll man and catching lobs. If defenses switch, Murray can take advantage of smaller defenders and score in the post.
Defensively, Murray should be a solid contributor from day one. Murray has an ideal frame with plenty of strength and enough lateral quickness to defend well at the power forward spot. He has enough vertical pop to contest shots as a secondary rim protector.
On the perimeter, he has okay lateral quickness, which will limit his ability to switch onto quicker guards, but he should be able to hold his own. On the glass, Murray has good instincts and a great motor which should translate to him being an above-average rebounder for his position.
How Keegan Murray fits the Detroit Pistons
If Murray is the pick, it almost guarantees that Jerami Grant will be traded shortly after. Murray would then replace Grant in the starting lineup. Murray’s skill set would make him a much better fit to play with Cade Cunningham. Murray’s shooting would free up space for Cade to attack defenses.
Plus, Cade and Murray’s pick and rolls could be a deadly combination. Murray has plenty of explosiveness to be a lob threat defenses must respect. If the defense is crashing the paint to stop the pick and roll, Murray is more than capable of making the defense pay by popping to the three-point line.
If the defense switches, Murray can post up the guard and finish in the point, or Cade can attack the big in isolation. It could be a true pick your poison that could be incredibly difficult to defend.
If the Pistons take Murray, there would still be a significant need on the roster for another shot creator and a starting guard next to Cade. For all of Murray’s skill, he does lack an off-the-dribble game. Murray does not have great wiggle or enough quickness to create separation off the bounce. This does not mean Murray should not be the pick, but the Pistons need to ensure they acquire a starting-caliber guard in return for Grant.
The Pistons could look to get a high enough lottery pick to select Ben Mathurin or Dyson Daniels, or they could acquire a stop-gap veteran such as Caris Levert or Bogdan Bogdanovic. If they get a starting guard in return for Grant, Murray could be a homerun pick to play with the Pistons’ young core.
If the Pistons receive a good trade offer for Grant, Keegan Murray makes a ton of sense as his replacement. Murray should be an even better compliment to Cade as he is a great off-the-ball as both a shooter and cutter. He can also score as a screener in both the pick and roll and pop.
Murray won’t be much of an asset as a shot creator, but the Pistons should use Grant’s trade to add a needed shot creator. With the right trade package, selecting Murray could best set the Pistons up for immediate success.