Is Keegan Murray the answer for the Spurs?
Recent drafts have seen the San Antonio Spurs pick many guards, and to their credit, it’s mostly panned out. They’ve only drafted two forwards in the last 10 years who worked out for them: Keldon Johnson and Kyle Anderson, who was let go in restricted free agency after his rookie deal.
Considering their wealth of backcourt talent, now is the perfect time for GM Brian Wright to add some depth at his forward spots. If you count 6-foot-5 Keldon as more of a tweener, San Antonio only has two true forwards in its rotation right now: Doug McDermott and Keita Bates-Diop.
This just so happens to be the draft where they could luck into an elite forward prospect. On the flip side, their next developmental success story could fall in their lap. Should they land in the top three, San Antonio would be bound to pick one of Jabari Smith Jr., Chet Holmgren, or Paolo Banchero; but if they don’t, Keegan Murray might be the best available option.
Theoretically, Murray fits exactly what San Antonio needs from its four-spot: Floor spacing, defensive versatility, rebounding, grit, and physicality. He fits wonderfully alongside Jakob Poeltl, who is developing into one of the league’s best rim protectors with an evolving offensive game. Despite his growth, Poeltl is largely bound to the paint—meaning his ideal partner is someone like Murray who can impact the game from the perimeter and score from the inside out.
Furthermore, Keegan would make an incredible partner for All-Star Dejounte Murray, who is a steller pick-and-roll facilitator. Dejounte puts pressure on the rim and kicks out to shooters on a nightly basis. Could you imagine the fun Spurs play-by-play guru Bill Land would have calling out the Murray to Murray connection?
Age isn’t necessarily an asset, but being an older prospect seems taboo in today’s league. At one point, franchises lauded the players who took their time developing in college before attempting to make it in the pros. Most teams have turned their back on that philosophy, but for the San Antonio Spurs, I don’t think that matters.
Murray shares some similarities with Spurs wing Devin Vassell, who showed tremendous improvement from his first year at Florida State to his second. Sometimes, taking that extra year to figure out ways to maximize your game unlocks a world of potential. Vassell and Murray each took their core skill-set and expanded on it from year one to year two before heading to the league.
Having the maturity to take an extra year at prep school and focus on your development takes guts. To remain in college and do it again shows integrity and commitment to the craft. Whether you’re a teenager like Joshua Primo or an older prospect like Keegan Murray, who will be 22 by the start of his rookie year, the quality of your character and depth of your work ethic will be paramount when San Antonio is evaluating your fit with their organization.
With core qualities that appeal to the Spurs way off the court and skills they lack on it, Murray seems like the perfect fit for San Antonio anywhere outside of the top three in the 2022 NBA Draft.