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DNHQ Draft Tourney. Rayan Rupert (7) vs Kris Murray (10)
overseas long defender vs mature all arounder
Our Draft Tournament
Yes, we are still having our FOURTH annual DNHQ Draft Tournament, where Dub Nation gets to vote on whom the Warriors should draft via head to head showdowns.
The draft will happen on Jun 22 2023, 5pm.
If the Warriors end up trading the pick, I’ll end the draft tournament early.
Rayan Rupert | 6-7 wing | 19 years old | New Zealand Breakers
The Scout: Rupert is arguably the first NBL Next Star in Australia to make a positive impact on a winning team. He was terrific as an aggressive, defensive-minded wing for a New Zealand Breakers team that made the NBL Finals this past season. At 6-7 with a 7-3 wingspan, Rupert has immense upside on that end. He’s laterally quick and aggressive, plus has strong instincts in help defense for a teenager. How far Rupert goes will be determined by his offense. He’s an iffy shooter right now who isn’t quite strong enough on the ball to make consistent plays. He has good passing vision from growing up as a guard, but he doesn’t really have the handle or burst to pressure the defense yet. He’s a project, but the physical tools make him one with very real upside.
Mikal Bridges, Otto Porter
Got That Dog in Him
Harasses opponents using his 7-foot-3 wingspan. He can pressure the ball handler taking the ball up the floor or disrupt opponent actions in the half court by slipping around screens. Effort is not a concern.
Active hands in all situations on defense. He jumps passing lanes and attentively looks for chances to pickpocket unsuspecting post players. He might someday lead the league in deflections.
Skilled ball handler who looks fluid dribbling into pull-up jumpers even if his results as a scorer aren’t there yet. With his height and length, he can shoot over the top of any defender.
Potential secondary creator who could bring the ball up the floor and motor by defenders in transition to get to the basket. He makes some tasty passes such as crosscourt skips to corner 3-point shooters, and he follows up by relocating behind the arc.
Savvy mover without the ball. He looks for chances to cut to the basket, and he has the athleticism and touch to finish.
He comes from a highly accomplished basketball family. He’s the son of French national team captain Thierry Rupert, and his sister, Iliana, was a WNBA first-round draft pick who won a championship her rookie season.
Suffered a broken wrist in early November that sidelined him for two months.
Doesn’t handle contact well. He opts for pull-up 2s and floaters rather than leaning into defenders to get to the rim.
Streaky shooter who looks the part but hasn’t seen any consistency from 3 or midrange. The only saving grace is that he’s a solid free throw shooter with soft touch around the basket.
He’s a defensive ace overseas but will need to be more selective about when to go for steals in the NBA.
Spinella (go to the page for a more in-depth report):
A toolsy French athlete with modern 3-and-D trajectory, Rupert is simultaneously very raw and understanding of his role as a complementary piece
At 6’7” with a 7’3” wingspan and some fluid athleticism, those raw tools are very appealing on their own. They are what got him on scout radars in the first place.
The film does reveal that, at this point, the offensive game is driven solely by those tools and is incredibly unrefined. What Rupert was able to emerge as this year — a backcourt defensive specialist who uses his physical gifts as a disruptor — has clearly-translatable benefits to the modern NBA. That’s allowed him to stay on first-round radars.
Despite how he embraces his role, Rupert is far from a sure thing. He is coming off a rough series in the NBL Finals against the Sydney Kings, where he was basically removed from the rotation due to the ways his lack of offensive impact was exposed in a competitive playoff environment. There is a ton of work to be done for Rupert on that end, and massive strides must be taken to even have him become playable in an NBA postseason series.
What scouts (myself included) keep coming back to is the rare ability to disrupt on defense that Rupert clearly possesses. That alone could make him investable as a first-round or even top-20 pick.
Rupert is one of the rare evaluations where he does possess elements of feel with the basketball but is so damn raw in all the other ways on offense that he almost cannot use it effectively. All teenagers need to add strength to their frames, and Rupert might need it more desperately than any in this class. He struggles with size on the interior as a finisher and fails to physically hold up against stronger drivers defensively. That, combined with his unrefined shooting and scoring feel, will likely keep him out of an NBA rotation for at least two years.
Still, the long-term gamble is clear. We’ve already seen improvement and elements of a workable spot-up jumper from Rupert. He can drive in a natural fashion and isn’t a terrible decision-maker on the move. He throws extra passes and is willing to sacrifice. He wants to blend into a winning environment.
If a patient team gets their hands on Rupert and develops him, the reward is a rotation-caliber, defensively-versatile, high-feel wing. I’d want to do that development myself if I were an NBA team, so getting a guy like Rupert on a four-year first-round contract would afford both the patience and continuity to control his improvement process. I can see Rupert going as high as the mid-teens if he shows enough progress offensively between now and June or just kills it in workouts. I can also see him falling to the end of the first due to just how far away he is from making an offensive impact.
Kris Murray | 6-8 wing | 22 years old | Iowa
Left-handed Keegan Murray
Feel for the Game
Low-maintenance scorer who doesn’t need touches to exert great effort while looking for opportunities to get buckets. He makes intelligent cuts, relocates off the ball to get open for jumpers, and loves to battle on the low block for positioning and easy buckets.
Knockdown spot-up 3-point shooter with smooth mechanics off the catch. He doesn’t fly around screens but projects as a player who can hit basic shots off pick-and-pops and other movements.
Does all the little things well. He’s a good passer and sets screens within the flow of the offense. In the same way his brother Keegan has fit into the complexities of the Kings’ motion offense, Kris will be a plug-and-play contributor.
Following a similar trajectory as his twin brother, Keegan, who emerged as an on-ball offensive presence in his final season at Iowa. Kris is increasingly showing prowess as a creator who can punish defenders with jumpers off the dribble. Or he can get all the way to the rim with simple straight-line drives.
Versatile on-ball defender capable of switching screens. He’s incredibly physical and also has great spatial awareness.
He’ll turn 23 before his rookie season begins. He tested the NBA waters following his sophomore season and decided to go back.
Lacks a dynamic handle off the dribble. Though he has a quick first step, he doesn’t have great speed or shake-and-bake moves.
The Scout: Murray isn’t quite his brother in terms of effectiveness. He’s not the shooter Keegan is, and he’s not quite as athletic. But he’s a 6-8, well-rounded wing who stepped into Keegan’s role at Iowa and averaged 20 points, eight rebounds and two assists per game. And across the league, teams continue to look for wings with real size and athleticism who can immediately step in and play. At 22 years old, Murray figures to provide genuine value within the first two years of his career as a rotation three/four with starter’s upside.
How the tables have turned. Last year, I found myself willing to go to war with most folks that weren’t in on the Keegan Murray Express. A year later, I found myself dealing with a cold chill down my spine in the middle of the night.
Is Kris Murray going to be a highway robbery in the first round?
Here’s the thing about Kris Murray. He’s had a similar story to his brother. Kris averaged 9.7 points per game during his sophomore season in 17.9 minutes. After his brother Keegan left for the NBA, it was Kris’s time to shine. He went on to finish the 2022-23 season with averages of 20.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game, all while shooting 47.6% from the field and 33.5% from three-point range.
Kris is an intelligent player who projects to be a heck of an addition for an NBA roster. His feel stood out this year, especially when it came to his touch around the basket. He projects to be an intelligent complimentary piece at the next level that has the tools to carve out a lengthy career. While Kris Murray might not project as a potential swing-for-the-fences upside pick, he might be a “double” that helps a roster on the rise get even stronger.
Murray is currently projected 19th overall, which would be insane if Keegan Murray didn’t exist.
He is a very old junior, turning 23 in August after the draft, which is basically a slightly old senior age.
He only played 42 minutes as a 20 year old freshman, which is tantamount to being a double redshirt which almost never happens to future NBA players.
As a 21 year old sophomore he was nowhere as good as Keegan, and now as a 22 year old junior he has still been nowhere as good as Keegan last year.
Kris in round 1 is grasping at twin gravity in hopes that he converges to the Keegan, but given that he has been extremely far behind in all 3 years of college with or without Keegan on the roster, it seems like a losing proposition.
Spinella (go to link for a full scouting report)
Kris fits into the 3-and-D mold very well. He was one of only three players in the nation 6’8” or smaller to hit 60 3-pointers with a 3% block rate and 1.5% steal rate. To me, that’s an important statistical barometer for future floor-spacers and defenders to hit. The list of players drafted who have achieved that threshold is a who’s who of future role players:
The list he joins has some real success stories and solid pros, but also some disappointing flameouts who never were able to harness their roles in the NBA.
At the bottom of this Barttorvik list, you see Kris, a draft hopeful who has the highest BPM of any non-drafted player to achieve this threshold. Just in that table, you can see the gap between what he achieved this year and what his twin brother Keegan did at Iowa a year prior. The gap is quite large analytically, which stands to show why Kris is not as highly thought of as his brother, even with the similarities in their games.
To make this list is no guarantee of success. Those with abnormally high BPM ratings (Keegan, Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder) are the ones who are the safest bets to translate. Those with really high BLK and STL rates also seem to have great deals of success. Kris has the lowest STL% on the list, the lowest 3-point percentage on the list, and doesn’t pass that high analytical bar to become a really safe pick.
The certainty with Murray comes in knowing what role he’s going to fill. It doesn’t take a ton of creativity to stick a big, fairly-athletic 6’8” guy in the corner on offense or against opposing 3s and 4s on defense. He makes the game simple for himself, his teammates, and his coaches. There is real value in that.
Earlier in the cycle, I felt that Kris was a sure-fire top-20 guy. The more I’ve studied, the less I feel he’s a safe bet to be productive in the NBA. His lack of wiggle off the bounce and the streakiness of his shooting are a slightly concerning combination. With all that said, he could also be a plug-and-play option on a playoff team with how simple his role is. Teams that make sense for him stylistically are Sacramento (for the obvious reasons), Indiana, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Portland, Minnesota, and Phoenix.
He’s still a first-round guy in my opinion. But on the second watch through the season, I saw a few more eyebrow-raising concerns on the offensive end that lead me to believe he’s got a lower floor than mentioned. If he doesn’t knock down open shots at a really high rate, his lack of separation off the bounce could make him a fairly inefficient offensive piece.
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