6th Pick Tournament: Kris Dunn v Jamal Murray

Published: June 4, 2016

Kris Dunn

by Jake Madison

What do big men need most in the NBA? Rather than ask you more rhetorical questions I’m just going to give you the answer: A good point guard.

Kris Dunn is that point guard. He has pretty much everything you’re looking for. But let’s break it down some.

Dunn has the physical tools you look for in the modern NBA game. He’s 6’4” with a 6’9” wingspan. He possesses unbelievable quickness that reminds me a bit of Westbrook. Just freak athleticism.

These tools allow him to play well as a pick and roll ball handler. The way he explodes to the hoop makes it tough for defenders to stay in front of him. Pair him with a devastating finisher in Davis and you force defenses to pick their poison. Either Dunn finishes at the rim as the ball handler or the defense sags off Davis and Dunn gets the Pelicans’ star the ball. Perfect.

That explosiveness also lets him work off ball well as a cutter as well. He’s not one dimensional like Tyreke Evans is. That type of versatility is sorely needed on the Pelicans. His athleticism also makes him terrific in transition. You know, that exact style of ball that head coach Alvin Gentry wants to play.

And all that transition offense he did in college? That usually came from him forcing opponents’ turnovers. His wingspan lets him get his arms easily in passing lanes. The Pelicans ranked 18th in turnover percentage, even if Dunn struggles a bit offensively transitioning to the NBA he can immediately help out on the other side of the ball.

He’s been knocked for being 22. For playing four years in college (he had a medical redshirt year). But you know who else came out as a junior? Damian Lillard. And no one would have passed him up if they had the chance to draft him.

Dunn scores, plays in transition, is an excellent pick and roll players, and will immediately improve the defense. Yeah, he’s not a polished player, but what draft prospect is? Take him if he’s there at 6 and never look back. This is the guy the Pelicans need.

Jamal Murray

by Nick Lewellen

The 1995-96 finals featured 68 made 3 pointers.

The 2014-2015 finals featured 116 made 3 pointers.

Listen, I’m not going to insult your intelligence by reminding you that shooting is important or that #analytics tells us 3 points is more than 2. I won’t do that, but I will say that the new era of the NBA clearly involves a lot of deep 3 point shots. After Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon leave this off season, and both probably will, that is something the Pelicans will desperately need. They’ll need a deep range threat that can take pressure off AD and Jrue, while pulling multiple defenders out of the paint when the run off screens.

Enter Jamal Murray.

In one year at Kentucky, the 19 year old shot almost 41% from 3, while taking almost 8 attempts per game. As an underrated athlete, he also showed an serious ability to get the rim as well. He spent a lot of time playing off the ball last year with Tyler Ullis running point, but if you watched him play, you know he has a nice handle. The important thing to note is that he has experience playing with other guards, which, if you want to keep Jrue around, is important for the Pelicans.

The criticisms surrounding Murray are usually 1) he doesn’t have a position and 2) he can’t play defense. My response to 1) is, who cares? Haven’t we told each other a thousand times that positions aren’t as meaningful in the NBA as they once were? Here’s the question the Pels should really ask, can a 6′ 5″ (in shoes) athlete with a beautiful shooting touch play next to Jrue in the back court? Yeah, I think that works. Will he open up things for AD down low and from the mid-range? You better believe it.

2) is a little bit more complicated. Like almost all 19 year old, he isn’t a great defender, but the tools are there. The key for Murray will be learning to focus off the ball. That’s Darren Erman’s job, and if we can’t develop young raw talent into a finished NBA product, then we have bigger problems than who we draft.

Yes, Murray is young. To the Pelicans, that may be a point of concern, but it shouldn’t be. Most rookies, even older, top picks, don’t produce right away. It takes them years to adjust to the NBA. When the Pelicans are really competing in the playoffs in three years, Jamal Murray will be a young veteran who is ready to take and make big shots. So yes, we might have to give Murray or any other rookie some time, but the payoff can be there.

In the meantime, we will just have to enjoy stuff like this:


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