Sacramento picked Marquese Chriss at No. 8 and traded him to Phoenix. Meanwhile, San Antonio selected Dejounte Murray at No. 29.
Marquese Chriss fell slightly lower than most projections, but still landed among the top 10 in the NBA draft while his former Washington Huskies teammate Dejounte Murray – tabbed as a lottery pick – nearly dropped out of the first round.
Sacramento selected Chriss, a high-flying freshman forward at Washington, with the eighth pick and promptly traded him to Phoenix.
Murray sat nervously with family and friends for about 3½ hours inside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. before San Antonio chose him with the 29th pick – the second to last pick in the first round.
It was the first time Washington had two first-round picks since Terrence Ross (No. 8) and Tony Wroten Jr. (No. 25) were drafted in 2012.
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While wearing a Kings cap, Chriss confirmed he was on the move to the Suns.
“My agent let me know before they made the pick,” Chriss said during an ESPN interview after he was greeted by Commissioner Adam Silver. “I’m fine with it. I love the city. I like the coaching staff. I’m willing to go down there and learn. It’s a great fit for me. The coach Earl Watson he’s a real down-to-Earth guy. He’s willing to let me play through my mistakes. Me and him talked about it. I know it’s going to take time for me to grow.”
Phoenix sent its No. 13 and No. 28 picks as well as the rights to guard Bogdan Bogdanovic to Sacramento for Chriss, a 6-foot-9 forward who averaged 13.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.6 blocks last season. He also set a Pac-12 record with 138 fouls and was disqualified 15 times.
“He’s an absolute freak athlete,” ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas said during the draft telecast. “He’s 6-10 and he plays above the rim. He can rebound. He can block shots and he can step away and hit that three-point shot.”
Chriss will receive a four-year contract that includes team options after the second year. According to the NBA rookie salary scale he’s slotted to earn $2.4 million in 2016-17 and is guaranteed $6 million. Chriss could earn as much as $13.3 million in his rookie deal with the Suns.
The draft began with Philadelphia 76ers taking LSU forward Ben Simmons with the No. 1 overall pick. The Los Angeles Lakers chose next and selected Duke forward Brandon Ingram.
The next picks included California guard Jaylen Brown (Boston), Israeli center Dragen Bender (Phoenix), Providence guard Kris Dunn (Minnesota), Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield and Kentucky guard Jamal Murray (Denver).
“I think (Chriss) has as good a chance to be as good as (No. 2 pick Brandon Ingraham),” NBA analyst Jalen Rose said. “He’s got just as much athleticism and down the road I wouldn’t be surprised if Marquese is the better player. I really like him.”
Chriss had been projected as a top-four draft pick while several mock drafts predicted Murray would land between 10-24.
Murray, a 6-5 guard with amazing ability to get to the rim, pass and rebound, presumably tumbled on draft boards due to an inconsistent jumper and propensity to commit turnovers. He shot 28.8 percent on three-pointers and 66.3 percent on free throws while averaging 3.2 turnovers last season.
Still, the Seattle native and former Rainier Beach High standout, produced one of the finest seasons in Husky history. He averaged 16.1 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.3 assists while earning second-team All-Pac-12 honors and being named to the Pac-12 All-Freshmen team.
He ranks first among UW freshmen in assists, second in points and steals, and third in rebounds.
“I had to sit a long time, but I didn’t pout,” Murray said during a postdraft interview. “I didn’t try to show nothing negative, tried to stay positive, and I feel like I’m going to the best organization in the NBA … a team that contends for a championship every year.
“I’m just blessed to be in a position and blessed to be a part of their organization.”
Among the 19 prospects invited to the draft, he was the 18th player taken.
Murray is slated to earn $950,200 next season and $992,000 in 2017-18. His four-year rookie deal, which also includes team options after the second year, could pay him $4.8 million.
Chriss and Murray became the 12th and 13th Huskies taken in the first round of the NBA draft.
The others include: C.J Wilcox (28th, 2014), Ross (8th, 2012), Wroten (25th, 2012), Quincy Pondexter (26th, 2010), Spencer Hawes (10th, 2007), Brandon Roy (6th, 2006), Nate Robinson (21st, 2005), Chris Welp (16th, 1987), Detlef Schrempf (8th, 1985), Bob Houbregs (3rd, 1953) and Jack Nichols (12th, 1948).
Thursday’s draft began with Philadelphia 76ers taking LSU forward Ben Simmons with the No. 1 overall pick. The Los Angeles Lakers chose next and selected Ingram, the Duke forward.
The next picks before Chriss at No. 8 included California guard Jaylen Brown (Boston), Israeli center Dragen Bender (Phoenix), Providence guard Kris Dunn (Minnesota), Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield and Kentucky guard Jamal Murray (Denver).
Washington coach Lorenzo Romar joined Chriss and Murray at the draft.
Marquese Chriss taken early, Dejounte Murray chosen late in NBA draft