Murphy is one of those late bloomers that is likely to rise up the charts as it gets closer to the draft. He's an under-rated prospect but will likely impress in individual workouts by the time draft week comes around.
Athletically, while not an elite athlete by NBA standards, he's no slouch. He has solid lateral quickness for defense and is a fluid athlete in the open floor. He'll need to add strength to his package at the next level though.
He has the height to have an advantage at his position, but the concern is whether he can add weight to his skinny frame at around 190 lbs.? With his lack of weight, he'll struggle with the physical aspects of the NBA game, fighting through screens, physical defenders, etc..
One big concern I have is he seems to shy away from contact once getting to the rack. Can he not finish well there, or is he afraid of limited contact? This is where individual interviews, workouts, and thorough evaluations will be pivotal.
There are no real concerns with Kevin’s past. He had grade problems and was an average prospect in high school which is why he ended up at Tennessee Tech to begin with, but nothing that's a huge concern.
Basketball IQ and want it factor
Overall, I think he has a solid basketball IQ in terms of knowing how to get his shots off against various defenses/defenders. He was also a solid defender and knows how to angle opposing players even if he played largely against weaker competition.
However, he shot the ball a little too much and has a high turnover rate which are cause for concern. Whether this is due to his own problems or due to a lack of talent around him is the question. Of course, he'll need to transition to a role player type role rather than a focal point role at the next level. In the games I watched, I did not see his bad possessions as a result of selfishness.
Kevin is an intriguing prospect at the next level because of his offensive skills, solid athleticism, and size at the shooting guard position. If he played at a bigger school, he would probably be a surefire pick in the 20’s. However, teams are going to question did he score as a volume shooter because he played at a smaller school despite being the clear go-to-guy (only one other double-figure scorer on team) on solid shooting percentages (45% overall, 42% from three on 6 attempts a game) against weaker competition.
Offensively, Kevin is a good shooter off the bounce, in the mid-range game, and as a three-point threat. He also scores in transition and is not afraid to pull-up and shoot. Kevin possesses a good first step and usually uses it to set up a mid-range jumper or floater.
However, outside of this, he also possesses some significant weaknesses. He is very skinny and seems to be shy of taking contact at times when getting to the rack. While being the go-to-scorer and really having one other legitimate scorer on his team, he seemed to struggle with his turnovers compared to assists. At this level, while he might be a good scorer still, he will need to learn to see the court better as he will not be the number 1 type scorer for a team.
Defensively, while not great, he should not be a liability at the shooting guard position. There are concerns how he will fight through screens. However, he shows willingness to try and defend and at his length, should at least be average in time.
Overall, Kevin is one of those players to keep an eye on. Are you getting a Von Wafer, Marshon Brooks, or a Kevin Martin type player? The thing that excites me about him being more towards a Marshon Brooks type player is that he is a very good shooter (shooting near 42% from three this year) and 45% overall.
He is also a solid creator and not just a one-trick pony offensively, provides size at the 2, and with time, should not be a liability on the defensive end. I am scared of his turnover rate. He is also more of a risky choice than say John Jenkins whom I feel very confident in making it in the league as the best shooter in a while coming out of the draft and even a Doron Lamb.
Kevin is strictly an enticing prospect because of his ability to score relative to his likely draft position. Can he hone his skills to be a 6th man type off the bench? It might take him a little time to adjust to a new role, but he could be dangerous if he learns his role at the NBA level. A lot of where he will be drafted will be dependent on how his interviews and workouts go.
How does he fit with the Bulls?
Overall, I feel Kevin Murphy is a big sleeper at pick 29 and will probably be close to where we are picking. If available, I am very tempted to take Kevin Murphy over players such as John Jenkins, Doron Lamb, Fab Melo, Darius Miller and Andrew Nicholson because I feel he has a chance to be more of a consistent impact player even though I feel more comfortable with John Jenkins and Doron Lamb having a better chance at a longer career.
Essentially, he provides a higher risk/reward profile, but if he pans out could be what we need at the shooting guard position. He is a good shooter (albeit streaky) from three and off pull-ups in mid-range, can handle a little bit with some floaters (although he might struggle in the lane), and is not a liability at the defensive end. It also might take Kevin longer to transition than other prospects as he is going from playing mid-major basketball to pro level speed basketball.
He might be that “irrational confidence player” that we need. Even though he had more turnovers than assists, I don’t feel he is a black-hole. Nor do I feel he jacks up shots all over, because other than this year, he has always shot in moderate volume. Also, because he tries hard on defense, I think he has a chance to not be as big of a liability on the court such as Jamal Crawford or Nick Young. A lot depends on how much work he puts into his game and how he adjusts to a new role.