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GOP_Tiger
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Article in The Athletic on Trey Murphy

Why Trey Murphy’s development is becoming a major priority in Pelicans’ future

by Will Guillory

[Exerpts]

quote:

After getting drafted with the 17th pick in the 2021 NBA Draft and dominating in his brief time at NBA Summer League, it was considered a forgone conclusion that Murphy would be an immediate contributor during his rookie season.

It didn’t work out that way.

First-year coach Willie Green shuffled his lineups on multiple occasions, working to find the right combinations through the first few months of the season. Murphy was often the odd man out among the wings, playing 20 or more minutes only six times in his first 45 career games.

As he enters his second season, Murphy’s importance to this current version of the roster is unquestioned.

quote:

But Murphy’s development isn’t the only reason his spot in the rotation is secure. There just aren’t many reliable wing options behind him to take away those minutes.

The Pels have managed to build one of the deepest rosters in the league, but much of that depth exists among the guards and the big men. Among the reserves, the only viable options behind Murphy are Naji Marshall and Garrett Temple. Jaxson Hayes and Dyson Daniels could play some spot minutes on the wing, but they’d have major issues dealing with certain matchups.

It’s not exactly a glaring hole on the roster, but it’s something the front office is keeping an eye on going into the season. And in many ways, that evaluation process begins and ends with Murphy.

If he makes the jump many among the team are expecting him to make this year, the Pels can take their preferred route and remain patient with this group. But if he deals with some inconsistency or injury issues, New Orleans may have to increase their aggression in the trade market.

Names such as Bojan Bogdanovic (before he was dealt to Detroit) and the currently available Jae Crowder have been linked to the Pels, but the team has dodged those conversations for the most part because of their belief in Murphy. They’d rather keep their young assets and future first-round picks for other deals down the road. That confidence may waver if Murphy doesn’t perform.

quote:

Even with some of the progress that Murphy has shown with his offensive game over the summer, the key to him truly growing up this season will be fully locking in on the defensive end. And it’s not just about holding his own in 1-on-1 situations against other wings.

Part of Green’s lack of trust in Murphy early in his rookie year came from Murphy struggling to read and react with the quickness required in today’s fast-paced game. There were numerous times when he’d get caught out of position on a rotation or a closeout and it would cost him.
quote:

Last week, Murphy said he added 13 pounds to his frame during the offseason so he could be better prepared for those bruising 1-on-1 matchups.

Green also noted this week that he’ll be challenging Murphy to hold his own on switches more often this year to provide more versatility to the defense. Lineups featuring Ingram, Jones and Murphy had success last year because they were so interchangeable on the perimeter and they covered so much ground with their length.

Murphy can make those lineups even more potent if he keeps showing glimpses of how fluid he looks when he’s trying to stay in front of quicker guards.

quote:

If he continues to show he can hold his own in a variety of matchups, it’ll give Green the freedom to use him in a number of lineups without worrying about if Murphy will turn into a target for the other team.

“For him, it’s guarding multiple positions. We know wing spots are interchangeable,” Green said, “but can you guard a point guard? Can you sometimes guard a five? I don’t know if he’s there yet, but it’s definitely something he can work towards.”

Murphy’s playing time went up in the second half of his rookie season once he started knocking down perimeter shots with consistency, and his spacing will be even more crucial this season with Williamson coming back.

Per NBA.com, Murphy made 38.9 percent of his catch-and-shoot 3-pointers last season, which ranked fourth among rookies with at least 100 attempts. That number skyrocketed to 46.1 percent after the All-Star break as Murphy started playing with more regularity.

Murphy has worked to perfect his outside stroke, and he’s committed to extending his range to 30 feet and beyond if teams are willing to give him those wide-open looks.

He understands that playing next to a dominant force like Williamson will open up easy opportunities for him to do what he does best. The more he knocks down those open shots, the more Green will want to get him on the floor in lineups next to Zion.


Guillory also mentions that Murphy's continued development might be a factor in Devonte Graham's exit from the team, if Murphy can stay on the floor and be the reliable 3-pt threat that we hope he can be.

Something that Guillory didn't mention is the role that Murphy's growth (both literal and in terms of development) might play in the departure of Jaxson Hayes. If Murphy is now big and strong enough to consistently guard opposing bigs, then Jaxson really has no role on the team.


Epic Cajun
New Orleans Pelicans Fan
Lafayette, LA
Member since Feb 2013
29296 posts

quote:

Dyson Daniels could play some spot minutes on the wing, but they’d have major issues dealing with certain matchups.

He's like 6'8, 210 lbs


Bronc
Member since Sep 2018
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Yeah that one part is a bit baffling in an otherwise great article.

Daniels routinely switched onto grown man wings in the G League and more than held his own. Which is part of the reason he went so high.

He can come out and realistically switch 3 to 4 positions as a rookie guard.
This post was edited on 10/3 at 10:40 am


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TigerinATL
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quote:

Something that Guillory didn't mention is the role that Murphy's growth (both literal and in terms of development) might play in the departure of Jaxson Hayes. If Murphy is now big and strong enough to consistently guard opposing bigs, then Jaxson really has no role on the team.


If Dyson and Trey live up to expectations then we have zero need for Graham and Jaxson. You've got your 9 deep rotation set and can live with guys like Naji and Billy filling in during injuries and foul trouble.


whatiknowsofar
New Orleans Pelicans Fan
hm?
Member since Nov 2010
15936 posts

quote:

live up to expectations then we have zero need for Graham and Jaxson


I'm ok with fake 2nds for these guys at this point.


teke184
LSU Fan
Zachary, LA
Member since Jan 2007
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Fake 2nd for Graham is fine.

Jax has value to someone. It just depends on what someone wants in order to have him and his RFA rights as opposed to trying to sign him in the offseason.


For all we know, someone wants a big man to fill minutes due to injury early in the season. A lottery protected first for him isn’t unreasonable IMHO.


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TigerinATL
New Orleans Pelicans Fan
Member since Feb 2005
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quote:

Jax has value to someone.


Depends on how you define value. Elfrid Payton is kind of a similar case. Drafted 10th, wasn't terrible but never lived up to expectations. All Orlando got for him by waiting until the trade deadline before he became an RFA, exactly where Jaxson is, was a 2nd from Phoenix.
This post was edited on 10/3 at 10:57 am


STEVED00
North Carolina St. Fan
Member since May 2007
21383 posts

quote:

He's like 6'8, 210 lbs


And possibly still growing.


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teke184
LSU Fan
Zachary, LA
Member since Jan 2007
80417 posts
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An undersized guard with issues doesn’t necessarily have value.

Jax has shown flashes but he’s a moron. Some team will decide they can fix him.


DallasTiger45
New Orleans Pelicans Fan
Member since May 2012
7501 posts

I think you could easily get a 2nd or two for Jax if you wanted to do that

There are several teams with a bunch of picks and a dearth of real talent. Jax is a young 6’11” big with insane bounce and decent coordination, has been up and down on the court but he’s shown some real flashes

He started playoff games for us last year FFS


Bronc
Member since Sep 2018
11448 posts
 Online 

To me Jax is the guy BRMark's bad argument about Nance actually applies well too.

Let Jax play out the season to see how he handles it and then make a decision at the deadline or offseason sign and trade.

He's also not a bad piece to have as a contingency plan given Zion hasnt exactly been a model of health and as nice as Billy is, he's an absolute sieve defensively.


DallasTiger45
New Orleans Pelicans Fan
Member since May 2012
7501 posts

For sure. The delta between good Jax and bad Jax is massive, no need to rush into a mediocre return when the potential payoff is so high


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