In the wake of UW freshmen stars Dejounte Murray and Marquese Chriss declaring for the NBA draft, opinions continue to vary about their pro potential.
In the wake of Washington freshmen stars Dejounte Murray and Marquese Chriss declaring for the NBA draft, opinions continue to vary about their pro potential.
NBAdraft.net projects Murray will be taken 10th overall and Chriss 17th. Meanwhile, ESPN’s Chad Ford has Chriss 11th and Murray 23rd. And Draft Express predicts Chriss will go at 15th and Murray 34th (fourth in the second round).
According to a handful of NBA scouts, Murray, a 6-4 1/2 guard, and Chriss, a 6-9 forward, are intriguing pro prospects with a high ceiling and a few flaws that may hinder their draft stock. They’re expected to receive invitations to the May 11-15 draft combine in Chicago.
While there’s plenty of buzz surrounding Murray and Chriss, Huskies senior Andrew Andrews, the Pac-12 leading scorer who averaged 20.9 points, isn’t expected to be taken in the NBA draft on June 23.
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Before Murray and Chriss decided to turn pro, we spoke with an executive for an Eastern Conference NBA team about their draft prospects. Here’s his take.
(On Murray’s and Chriss’ draft projections) “We’ve got both early to mid first and the second round. And again everybody has a different take on them. Some people see Marquese as a top-15 pick. It’s going to really fluctuate. I’ll be curious how much the combine really affect them and in general where their stock ends up. It’s such a weird draft this year where guys are constantly rising and dropping quickly. Murray could be one of those guys. At best he’s a late first, but I think he’s an early to mid second rounder for now.”
(On the draft) “It’s a weak draft. It’s a really weak draft. Because it is such a weak draft, guys are going to get selected. There were will be a lot of international guys who dominate the draft. I wouldn’t say a third of the draft, but it could be close to that. … Next year is a really strong draft as far as the incoming freshman and that’s why everyone is struggling whether to go this year where you could potentially go higher. Or if you go next year, you’re a year older and your stock could go down or you’re in the same position and you’re a year older. Next year is going to be a much better draft as far as the top guys. This year there’s only about 4-6 guys who will really make an impact on their teams throughout the season. Everyone else is kind of iffy.”
(On Murray) “Tremendous when it comes to playing in the open court, driving and getting to the basket. If he is a combo-guard, he’s got good physical tools for that. Maybe he has a little potential to play some point, but it’s his game in the open court. He can score the ball. He gets to the rim in every single way. Got a quick first step. He’s quick in general and athletic. But obviously, he’s very slender. Defensively, he’s not all there yet. He’s going to have get a lot stronger and obviously that will be seen at the pro level. His ability to shoot the ball isn’t all there yet. I think a lot of people are kind of wondering just from all of his days in high school and AAU, this is really the first time where he’s playing actual basketball as opposed to just run and gun, up and down there court where he’s running plays. Someone described him to me as and it was a serious concern to them, he values being part of the team and doesn’t always like being the focal point. He didn’t enjoy being the focal point of Northwest Express his junior year. He’s at a learning curve by not playing much real basketball moreso helter skelter by using his athleticism to get up and down the floor. I wonder. We’ll have to test his basketball IQ. How much does he know? Is he a smart kid? Can he learn a NBA playbook? He oozes with potential for sure, but he’s very raw. He’s great at getting to the basket and he can create, but can he do much else. His comp? People were saying Jamal Crawford, but I wasn’t feeling it. I can see it, but I think Jamal is way too skilled and way to advanced at this point. Jordan Clarkson although he’s a little smaller. I like Devin Harris. Again, a little smaller but I just think they’re very flashy and athletic guys who can be lead guards. I truly think Murray has a shot to be used as a lead guard or at least a combo. That’s why there’s so much potential there.”
(On Chriss) “I hate to use the word potential, but he’s got a lot of potential. He’s still filling out physically, but he’s got good hands. Really explosive. Really good length. His jump shot is improving, but he still mainly relies on playing above the rim. But that’s the great part about him. People love his athleticism. You can get fooled by it a little bit when a guy dunks and he has that length, you’re almost like alright put some muscle on him and put some pounds on him and this guy could be tremendous. But I think defensively that’s where his length, his awareness and his timing – he has a lot of intangibles as well as the physical tools that can only get better – that makes him an interesting player just because he can alter shots and block shots. He can rebound. So he’s got a high ceiling. One could make point that his ball handling could improve and that could make him more of a threat on the perimeter if he moved out there or give him the ability to be the stretch four. And he’s got to improve his ability to be a slasher. Work on his body and all of that stuff. He’s got to get more physical. In looking at him, I saw some Hakim Warrick. I can see that. People are making him out to be much more than down the road, but I think realistically we’ll see what happens. He’s another one who has a high ceiling because he hasn’t played the game that long, but there’s a lot to like. But do you want to draft on potential or what does he got now.”
(On Andrews) “I could see him making a summer-league team. I don’t think he gets drafted. Obviously not to sound cliche, but he’ll make a great European pro. There’s a lot of guys who have had really good senior years and they latch on to summer-league teams for one reason or another. But he’s had a really good year, unfortunately he wasn’t able to showcase it in the NCAA tournament. Good size. Good player. Had a good year. So he’s got a chance, but I don’t see him getting drafted.”