The Celtics have the third pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.
The third pick.
While the top two players have separated themselves from the pack, it's still the third pick. Michael Jordan was the third pick. Kevin McHale was the third pick. James Harden and Deron Williams were third picks. Adam Morrison was the third pick. Well, you get the point.
There's only one guy being considered in the three hole that blends upper echelon collegiate performance (20 pts/game) with youth (just turned 19 in February) and that's Jamal Murray. He's bumped up to the third spot in ESPN's latest Big Board. In yesterday's workout, the Kentucky sharpshooter broke this year's Celtics' pre-draft record for three pointers drilling 79 out of 100. The best part? He was kind of pissed about it.
Murray said he "shot terrible" at start of 3-point shooting drill. He explained: "I was going like 7 for 10. I shouldn’t be going 7 for 10."— Jay King (@ByJayKing) June 8, 2016
So yeah, he seems hyper competitive.
Jamal Murray: "Growing up as a child, I was competitive in whatever it was. First one to eat your wings, first one to run to the door."— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) June 8, 2016
During what amounts to be a very public job interview of sorts, Jamal Murray thought it best to put his competitive nature in terms of his propensity for stealing wings as a child. That seems like something Evan Turner would do.
And that's when it hit me. Jamal Murray is the guy the Celtics should pick at number three. His role as a rookie will be to fill the Evan Turner playmaking slot with the second unit. And the Celtics can use the money they'd have to spend on resigning Evan Turner on suring up the front-court. Maybe Harrison Barnes. Maybe Hassan Whiteside. Maybe Al Horford. Here are a few reasons why Jamal Murray makes more sense in Evan Turner's shoes than ET himself.
1. He can shoot. Like really shoot. Murray shot 40% from deep as a freshman, something Buddy Hield didn't do until his senior year. The record breaking three performance for the Celtics was great, but it wasn't a fluke. Murray's been doing it in all his workouts. Chad Ford saw him go 25-27 from NBA 3 in two minutes. So... he's a better shooter than Evan Turner.
2. He played the two in college but considers himself a point guard. He should be able to serve as primary ball handler in short spurts as a rookie. But he wouldn't be alone out there.
3. And that's because he'd be coming off the bench with Marcus Smart. I for one would be pretty psyched to have the backcourt of the future coming in off the bench. Smart brings the defense. Murray makes it rain. They share ball handling duties. What am I missing here?
4. There's no better place for a young guard to improve their offensive game than Boston. So this kid would have to go up against First-Team All-Defense Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart, and Terry Rozier every day in practice? Not too many teams in the NBA boast that level of perimeter defense. By the time training camp ends, Murray will have already been exposed to elite NBA defense and be far more prepared to play a role as a rookie than his first-year counterparts.
5. He's Canadian.
Before you point to all the guards in the Celtics stable remember how it felt when the C's failed to find the ocean in this year's playoff series against the Hawks. You don't pass on Murray with the three pick because you already have Terry Rozier, RJ Hunter, and James Young on the team. Those guys could end up being rotation guys or they could be lacing up in China when their rookie deals end. Not one of them are the level of prospect that Jamal Murray is.
Murray has a chance to be an elite shooter and playmaker. He has the tools to play the Evan Turner role in the short term, but who even knows where his ceiling is. The C's know what they're getting with ET, but with Murray there's potential for a foundational offensive force.
And his quote game might just take after his potential predecessor's. Let's draft him and find out.
Photo Credit Sean Rayford/AP
Related: Eye On The Draft: Jamal Murray's strengths and weaknesses Paul Colahan 6/09/2016 06:27:00 PM Tweet Edit