Newest Sacramento Kings forward Keegan Murray averaged 23 points, seven rebounds, two assists, and 1.3 steals per game during Summer League while shooting 50% from the field and 40% from behind the arc. He was named the Most Valuable Player of NBA 2K23 Summer League 2022.
Murray’s play turned a lot of heads, and a new nickname is making the rounds on social media — “Slim Duncan.” Many people see a lot of Tim Duncan in Murray’s demeanor. ESPN basketball writer Marc Spears said this.
"He has been quietly amazing. He doesn’t play like Tim Duncan, but he carries himself like Tim Duncan. Quiet demeanor. Just plays. There’s nothing that’s really loud about his game. He’s not really dunking on people, not really flashy. It’s very fundamental."
Spears isn’t the only one who has made the comparison. Keegan’s agent Mark Bartelstein has said:
"His efficiency is literally off the charts. It’s so much fun to watch him grow. Everytime he makes a bucket, he walks down the court like what am I supposed to do? The guy he reminds me the most of, honestly, is Tim Duncan, in terms of demeanor."
And ESPN NBA Draft analyst Mike Schmitz even brought up another former San Antonio Spur:
That is a lot of praise for a rookie who hasn’t played a single minute in the NBA.
Still, Murray might be best compared with someone else
Comparing Murray to the great Tim Duncan may be easy since Murray may sometimes slot into the power forward position like Duncan, but I have a different comparison in my mind. Murray looks like he doesn’t get rushed and always plays at his own pace. He reminds me a little of the fantastic and criminally underrated Brandon Roy.
Brandon Roy was drafted with the 6th pick in 2005 by the Portland Trail Blazers. He went on to win Rookie of the Year and was voted multiple times to the NBA All-Star game. Injuries cut Roy’s career short, and he doesn’t get a lot of love nowadays from talking heads and “experts”, which is sad.
Roy was a great player who always played at his own pace. No one ever sped him up. He wasn’t the quickest guard. He wasn’t the flashiest, but he was a great player who always seemed to be in control of his emotions and his game.
In 2010, when Kobe Bryant was asked who the hardest player to guard in the Western Conference was, he said it was Brandon Roy.
"He’s the most difficult player to guard, 365 days a year, 7 days a week. Roy has no weakness in his game."
Whether you want to compare Murray to Duncan, Kawhi, or Roy, the takeaway is Murray looks like one of those unique players that can control his emotions and game. That is a rare quality that can translate well in the NBA.
Murray has a bright future ahead of him.