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DNHQ Draft Tourney Round 2. Jordan Hawkins (2) vs Kris Murray (10)
elite shooting national champ 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.
Round 1 Results
Jordan Hawkins 76%
Trayce Jackson-Davis 24%
You know it’s not a complete fix, because here are two of my favorite prospects matched up in the first round. I’m obviously very interested in TJD since I stuck him in as a Wild Card. The playmaking, the poise, the court vision, the defense. The Warriors even invited him in for a workout. But in the end, three-point shooting wins in this league, and I would bet on a shooter who’s proved his skill on the biggest stage (he completely swung the NCAA Tournament game against a Saint Mary’s team I was pulling for, the bastard).
Rayan Rupert 49%
Kris Murray 51%
Well that was close. The poll vote was a landslide for Murray, but the comments tilted slightly to Rupert. Tilt your head and you can dream that Rupert, budding defensive ace, turns into a Kawhi Leonard type. I’m intrigued, but I’m still not sold on the predictability of the Australian pro league, and he’s VERY VERY raw on offense.
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Jordan Hawkins | 6-5 wing | 21 years old | Connecticut
The proof of Jordan Hawkins being NBA-ready also hits you over the head: he was the best player on a national championship team where he filled his role admirably. That role also slots easily into any team, being off-ball centric, as scalable as you want.
The primary selling point for Hawkins is the shot, particularly off of movement. Off the catch he took 222 threes and made 91 of them (41%). His 7.6 points per game shooting off the catch was top 20 in the country, and the primary kill shot for the nation’s best team. Hawkins flew around screens and reorganized in an instant, always committing to his follow through.
That shot will translate to the next level, as will Hawkins’ general approach to the game. He plays very hard, more physical than you’d expect for what is often a more cosmetic archetype. The issue is he is small, listed at 6’5’’ but often unable to deter shots from even smaller wings. He gets in the right position but it often does not matter, begging questions of whether he would be targeted in high stakes NBA circumstances.
He also has little star path outside of his shotmaking. The handle is not good for a guard, though he is savvy enough to limit those occasions to when necessary. This brings me to my favorite part of Hawkins’ game: he is not afraid to attack whatever space the opponent gives him, whether it’s into a midrange pullup or all the way to the basket. The tools to get there or finish when he arrives are not fantastic, but his shooting gravity is enough that the lanes should be wide.
I would love to consider Hawkins a top 20 prospect simply by how he plays the game and how reliable it is to be useful to an NBA team, and even good ones. Off-ball scoring at his level without obvious vulnerabilities makes him a fit with all 30 NBA teams. But when searching for star ceilings, I am less compelled to see it in Hawkins unless he reaches a comfort level with the handle to seek out more midrange opportunities. It’s possible, but not my favorite bet considering a loaded top 20.
The Scout: Hawkins has a case as arguably the best movement shooter in the class. Connecticut had him sprint off screening actions, using his pristine shooting mechanics and ability to stop on a dime to get open and can open 3s. He averaged 16 points and was a critical piece of the national champion Huskies, keying their perimeter attack with how much teams had to respect his gravitational force. Hawkins also improved a bit off the bounce this past season, becoming an impactful, effective attacker of closeouts. He works defensively, but this is where his lack of strength comes in. Hawkins is extremely skinny and will need to put on some real weight in the coming years to hold up on that end. But he’s an elite shooter who wants to play on that end. Those guys tend to work out.
Richard “Rip” Hamilton, Max Strus
Feel for the Game
Elite shooter with a lightning-quick release and the stamina to run around the floor all game and the intelligence to find open space at a high level. NBA teams will be able to utilize him in off-ball screening actions from Day 1.
Major transition threat who races up the floor to the wings or corners, making himself available for open 3-point opportunities. He’s potent at the 3s in which he must stop on a dime, then rise and fire. But if he must put the ball on the floor for one- or two-dribble side-dribble 3s he can still thrive.
The ball doesn’t stick in his hands. Even though he can stroke 3s he’ll pass up a contested shot on the wing for a teammate to launch an open corner 3, or he’ll attack a closeout then kick it out again.
Smart off-ball defender who actively makes rotations, and helps cover for mistakes or gambles by teammates. Many of his fastbreak chances come as a result of his hustle, whether he’s chasing a loose ball or a rebound.
Solid on-ball defender. He’s a good but not great athlete, so there are limits to his on-ball defensive upside. In a game against the Clippers, he’s not the guy a defense sticks on Kawhi Leonard or Paul George. He’s the guy you can put on Reggie Jackson or Norman Powell.
Hawkins isn’t a primary ball handler who will run the offense. He lacks the handle and wiggle to break down defenders off the dribble or run pick-and-roll like the game’s true point guards.
Under-the-rim at-rim finisher who would benefit from adding a floater and some more touch layups to his repertoire.
Though he's shooting the ball at an elite level as a sophomore, he made only 33.3 percent of his 3s as a freshman.
20. Jordan Hawkins, 21, 6-5 Jr. SG, Connecticut
Hawkins may have briefly blown up this spring as the “NCAA Tournament Guy,” and that may yet see him overvalued on draft night. Nonetheless, his credentials as a movement shooter do warrant first-round consideration despite his limitations in other areas.
First of all, if you need to believe in his shot beyond the eye test of a buttery smooth release that looks exactly the same every time, look at his free-throw percentage. That’ a better long-term predictor than 3-point percentage, and Hawkins made 88.7 percent from the stripe last season. He also got up a ton of attempts, which is another strongly positive indicator, launching 13.8 per 100 possessions while rarely dribbling — he just runs around off the ball until it finds him for a catch-and-shoot.
Investing in limited shooters is always slightly more risky because if they aren’t shooting 40 percent, what do they do? But Hawkins is going to be a guy whose shooting threat bends defenses even when he’s running cold, and he drew fouls at a surprisingly high rate with all his running around and some well-timed shot fakes. Inside the arc, he’s still a limited threat, but nobody is drafting this guy to shoot 2s.
As for his defense, it’s actually pretty competent for this ilk of player. Hawkins is 6-5 with decent length and was notably good at slithering through screens off the ball. (He’d be great at guarding himself.) He lacks strength and can be overpowered, but he slides his feet and applies decent ball pressure and contributed on the glass (7.5 boards per 100 possessions). Realistically, he probably projects as a high-end backup, but he’ll have value.
The case for Hawkins was clear: a really good shooter who had such a pretty stroke and a solid freshman season. Entering the season, I wondered if more could be done with the ball in his hands. Connecticut lost a lot of perimeter playmaking, so the opportunity was there for Hawkins to step up and turn more into a true combo guard.
Instead, Dan Hurley brought in Tristen Newton at the point, weaponized Andre Jackson as a point forward, and doubled down on Hawkins embracing his shooting prowess. Jordan finished the season second in all of college basketball in points scored off screens, shot over 39% from 3-point range on the year, and was the linchpin of college basketball’s most diverse and successful offense.
Hurley’s Huskies reminded me a lot of some of my favorite NBA teams to watch over the last decade. The depth and layers of the playbook were all so fascinating. Their ATO sets were incredibly effective. All of that is due to Hawkins, who never stopped moving and was a threat to score off every action.
After two years in Storrs, it’s clear what Hawkins brings to an NBA team: shooting. He can be the guy in the half-court who consistently drills shots and serves as a gravity-creator for others. He can be a Kyle Korver or Buddy Hield piece who unlocks the playbook for a creative coach. He can change the course of a game once he gets in the zone.
The questions for Hawkins revolve much more around whether he does enough of the other things to consistently see the court. The Huskies finished the season with a top-10 adjusted defense, positional length everywhere, and two elite rim protectors. Hawkins contributed in a positive manner to the defense, but he clearly benefitted from having great personnel next to him.
Even as I write this scouting report, I remain torn on how much to value Hawkins. I love movement shooters and what they can do next to star players; Hawkins is the most seasoned movement threat in this class. He’s also got some frustrating points where he statistically does so little to impact the game other than score. The only players drafted in the last 15 years with as low of a rebound, steal, and assist rate at his size are John Jenkins and Cameron Thomas. Not exactly beacons of well-rounded play.
Still, Hawkins is a great off-ball connector piece and brings first-round value without question. How high in the first will depend on how much he can win me over with his defensive aptitude and upside to add another layer to his game.
Stuck in my mind while analyzing Hawkins is a piece from old friend Mark Deeks over on Forbes this winter. Deeks’ premise was simple: shooting specialists have immense value until they stop making shots efficiently. Then they are just replaceable and borderline unplayable.
The onus is on Hawkins to never tire out off screens, to keep his impact robust through injury, and to be so good in this role that he can play 25-30 minutes a night even without being great elsewhere. What we’ve seen over the last couple of seasons is that some of these shooting specialists don’t end up being great investments for their teams once they ink a second contract, as Deeks points out:
“However, [Duncan] Robinson does serve as an illustration of the dangers of overvaluing that [shooting] premium. Taken to excess, teams can wind up with a healthy, relatively young shooter on a massive contract that they still do not feel that they can play, no matter how recently they thought so highly of him.”
To get a better feel for Hawkins’ upside, I think a lot of it is tied to his on-ball defense. Yes, that confusing defense that I referenced a section ago. If he can provide positive impact guarding two or more types of players (shooting specialists, lead guards, combo guards, smaller spot-up wings, etc.) then he’ll have a very real future as a two-way player. If he’s just a try-hard who still has angular issues at the point of attack, he’ll shorten the leash he plays on and risk falling out of favor if a shooting slump ever arrives.
Every time I try to move Hawkins into the lottery on my big board, I keep wishing he impacted the game in just one more way. That he could rebound well, make solid secondary passes, take a few more risks and pressure in passing lanes on defense — something!
But every team drafting in the middle portion of the first round feels like they would benefit from having a guy like Hawkins. The Atlanta Hawks, New Orleans Pelicans, Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets, Brooklyn Nets, Utah Jazz, and Orlando Magic all feel like strong landing spots for a movement shooter. I think Hawkins will be a fine pro, though he does have a little bit more downside as a prospect than gets attributed to him. He really needs to be an elite shooter to make it.
The good news is that he probably is one.
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.
Vote in this poll and/or by posting a comment (worth ten votes) with a single hashtag #TWO or #TEN.
The DNHQ Big Board…
Super commenter void has made (again) a web app where you can record your Big Board for our limited pool of Draft Tourney participants.
void’s DNHQ Big Board Vote Site
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