The Sacramento Kings have selected Keegan Murray with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. Murray isn’t your average selection at the top of the lottery. Where the top of the draft is typically populated by teenage one-and-done prospects, Murray will turn 22 before his rookie year began and was only a three-star prospect at the high school level. His freshman year at Iowa was predictably unspectacular as he averaged just 7.2 points per game.
But last season? He exploded for 23.5 points as perhaps college basketball’s best all-around wing. We just watched an NBA Finals series that was dominated by players in that 6-6 to 6-9 range and Murray fits that mold to a tee. He hit nearly 40 percent of his 3-pointers last season while playing strong defense against multiple positions. Even if his age limits his upside, he’s a ready-made wing who should be able to contribute to winning from day one.
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The Kings extended their postseason drought last season to 17 years, and the dysfunction was as present as ever. Head coach Luke Walton was fired midway through the season, and his replacement, Alvin Gentry, was not retained as the full-time head coach. Former Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike Brown will fill that seat this season, and he’s taking over a team in transition.
The Kings dealt prized youngster Tyrese Haliburton for All-Star center Domantas Sabonis at the deadline, and as such, they sent a message that they plan to try to win right away. That puts a whole lot of pressure on a rookie just trying to make his mark in the NBA, and Sacramento’s spotty draft history is proof of just how challenging it can be to grow in this environment. But the Kings are making this investment for a reason. They believe they’ve found someone who can help with their playoff push next season, and if they’re right, that pesky streak might finally come to an end.