If you pay attention to the weekly rookie ladder on NBA.com, you know that Sacramento Kings rookie Keegan Murray has been a mainstay in Steve Aschburner’s top five. For most of the year, Murray has held a spot within the top five, usually closer to number five than number one.
It isn’t shocking, as Murray has proven the narrative true that he was one of the readiest prospects in the 2022 NBA draft class. Thru exactly 41 games this season, Murray is averaging 11.7 points per game. He has become a mainstay in the Kings starting unit after not starting his first few games of the season.
His role is behind the likes of De’Aaron Fox, Domantas Sabonis and the red-hot Harrison Barnes, which has allowed him to thrive early in his NBA career. No rookie besides Murray is making more than two three-point field goals per game. Murray is making 2.4 on 5.8 attempts per game, good for a tremendous 40.6 percent.
Why Keegan Murray fell in the latest rookie ladder
While the raw box score numbers won’t overwhelm they don’t often tell the full story with Keegan Murray. For a rookie, he has been wildly consistent and that has played a big role in the Kings early season success.
His drop in the rankings unfortunately doesn’t have as much to do with his own performance as it does with the performances of others. Murray has continued his consistent shooting and off-ball production for the Kings at the same rate he has done so for most of the season.
What changed last week was the rookies ranked behind him. Specifically, Utah Jazz big man Walker Kessler had a monster performance to go alongside some very strong performances. In total, it almost had to be enough to overtake Murray for the fifth spot this week.
While Murray maintained nearly identical numbers on the week as he has had on the season, Kessler erupted for weekly averages of 16 points, 14 rebounds and 3.7 blocks per game. There isn’t much to argue against those numbers, which is why Kessler saw his ranking skyrocket this week.
In the grand scheme of things, this is certainly nothing worth worrying about or even getting too bothered by at all. Sure, it’s naturally notable, but context is key and in this situation, it explains everything quite simply.
The Kings are continuing to ask Murray to play his role and do his part. Most rookies, especially the ones performing well on the stat sheet, are getting massive opportunities for bad basketball teams.
Murray is playing a very important role and doing it well for Sacramento as they make a legitimate playoff run in his first NBA season. If they make the playoffs with him playing such a vital role, Kings fans know they have to be pleased with how his first season played out.
Despite falling in the rookie ladder rankings, Murrays’ future remains bright. Remember, this team is currently excelling in the western conference behind two players that should be top vote-getters for the NBA all-star game.