Welcome back to Hawks in the NBA! Keegan Murray keeps turning heads in his first campaign. Let’s go!
The Kings faced another tough week, playing Miami home and away, with a game in Charlotte jammed in between, and managed a 2-1 record. The one loss was November 2 in Miami, 110-107, in which Tyler Herro clearly traveled on the game-winning 3. The NBA Two-Minute report confirmed the officials blew the call. That’s really great if you have that Kings over/under...
Let’s rewind to the first game of this stretch, the home date with Miami. Sacramento claimed their first win of the young season, a 119-113 win. Unsurprisingly, Keegan was excellent in this game, going for 22 points, 1 rebound, 3 assists, and 2 blocks while shooting 8-13 from the floor (3-7 from 3) and 3-4 from the line in 36 minutes. The start of the game drew these tweets from John Hollinger:
Herro has no chance against Keegan Murray. This guy is good.— John Hollinger (@johnhollinger) October 29, 2022
Amazing to think that there was a point in human history where Keegan Murray was KZ Okpala's backup.— John Hollinger (@johnhollinger) October 29, 2022
Hollinger tweeting that immediately grabbed my attention. Also no offense to KZ Okpala!
Let’s look at some highlights:
Keegan Murray 22 points on 8-of-13 today. His game is so smooth. pic.twitter.com/2QR5lp1vI1— Steph Noh (@StephNoh) October 30, 2022
You can see why Hollinger tweeted what he did about Herro - he got big boy’d by Murray (don’t worry, Miami fans - Herro did just fine in this game, going for 34 points). That clip captures the whole package - quick trigger on 3s, a good dribble-drive game, a floater, finishing at the rim, and some defense with a block in the paint. We’ve seen that movie with Keegan before.
On Halloween, the Kings traveled cross-country to Charlotte and moved to 2-4 with a 115-108 win. Keegan’s line wasn’t as impressive - 12 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block on 5-15 shooting (2-7 from 3) and no free throw attempts in 32 minutes. Despite a poor shooting night, Murray made a crucial 3 late, a 25-footer to extend the lead to 6 in the final 4:30 of the 4th quarter. The big development in Charlotte was a knee injury suffered by De’Aaron Fox - that’s a huge issue for Sacramento if he’s going to miss significant time (fortunately the MRI revealed a bone bruise but no other structural damage - a huge sigh of relief for the Kings).
Unfortunately, the Kings dropped the last game of the set, the aforementioned return game in Miami. As Boiler said in our Slack - maybe Keegan’s first roadie in Miami snuck up on him a little? Miami nightlife has a history of sneaking up on people. He still had a few flashes in his worst outing of the year (I say “worst” - it’s an 82-game season; everyone has an off-game here or there).
Keegan Murray to Bam Adebayo:— Kings Nation (@KingsNationCP) November 3, 2022
"GET THAT SHOT OUTTA HERE!" pic.twitter.com/b4e22M6oJz
Keegan Murray and Domantas Sabonis working the pick and roll to perfection pic.twitter.com/yyc4Xphpcw— Kings Nation (@KingsNationCP) November 3, 2022
Keegan Murray with the steal + the dunk. pic.twitter.com/cpsJEAlWC1— Cameron Salerno (@cameronsalerno1) November 2, 2022
Keegan remains on the road this weekend, finishing his Florida trip with a stop in Orlando Saturday afternoon. Next week, the Kings have a Monday-Wednesday-Friday slate of games, featuring another stop at the (suddenly reeling) Golden State Warriors, a home date with Cleveland, then a flight to Los Angeles for their first game of the year with the Los Angeles Lakers. One game to keep on the radar, coming soon - a home game with (also reeling) Brooklyn on November 15 that is now on TNT! A national TV game!
Gambling corner: It’s still early! Still not worried about that over/under! The Kings are on the board and that’s all that matters. Other than a double-digit loss to 5-3 Memphis, they’ve been in every game. The loss to Portland has aged well (the two losses to the Clippers and Warriors less so). A lot rides on the Fox injury and how much time he’ll miss.
As far as Rookie of the Year, Keegan is performing to expectations. Paolo Banchero is above expectations though - maybe way above - so that is his award to lose.