Athleticism, wingspan and shooting are some of the most sought after tools scouts look for in a player. The Knicks could find a bit of all three in Trey Murphy III, the 6’9” junior coming out of the University of Virginia.
Initially thought of as a late 1st rounder or early 2nd rounder, Murphy has slowly shot up numerous mock drafts. Murray does not seem to have as high of a ceiling as some of the other players projected to go in this range, but he did grow three to four inches and put on thirty to forty pounds all in the last few years. This bodes well for him as a late-bloomer with some untapped potential waiting to be unlocked. This, along with his skillset, has many believing that he also has a higher ceiling than initially anticipated.
Murphy is a good shooter from three, especially when used as a off-ball catch-and-shoot player who has plays run for him. The 43.4% he shot from distance last season is evidence of his range and prowess from deep. He caught fire in his first game at Virginia after transferring there, going 6-8 from deep in just 17 minutes. Murphy also boasts really good percentages across the board, especially for his size and position. But he isn’t strictly a spot up shooter. He showcased an ability, albeit an inconsistent one, to put the ball on the floor and shoot off the dribble and even has the ability to take advantage of mismatches and score in the post if under the right circumstances.
The junior is not without his weaknesses, though. After all, there are reasons why he was projected to go later in the first round. For one, while his athleticism overall can be considered above average, he is by no means an elite athlete. He isn’t a great finisher and his lack of vertical explosiveness and strength holds him back as a rebounder at times as well. He is a very solid defender but is prone to being beat by quicker and stronger players at times. Murphy also hasn’t shown much of an ability to be a playmaker for himself or others, which could be a red flag if the team drafting him needs him to be a creator.
Luckily for the Knicks, their offense runs through Julius Randle anyways, and the current roster has other guards and playmakers that may be able to take that burden away from Murphy. He still has a lot to work on, most notably his strength, ability to play with pace and playmaking, but 3 and D players have become a commodity in the league and he could be a great fit for a Knicks team that can use more shooting, especially if they lose Reggie Bullock and/or Alec Burks.