Former Iowa men’s basketball player Keegan Murray impresses in NBA Summer League

Murray averaged 19.7 points and 8.0 rebounds per game in his first three games at this week’s California Classic.

Darren Yamashita – USA TODAY Sports

July 5, 2022; San Francisco, California, USA; Sacramento Kings forward Keegan Murray (13) dribbles past Los Angeles Lakers forward Vitto Brown (48) during the California Summer League third quarter at Chase Center.

Former Iowa men’s basketball player Keegan Murray has surprised critics and fans alike since being picked No. 4 overall by the Sacramento Kings in the June 23 NBA Draft.

After being chosen, Murray was immediately scrutinized by pundits who claimed he was too old (21) and did not offer enough potential to warrant his draft position. Some pundits have argued that Sacramento should have drafted Purdue’s Jaden Ivey rather than Murray.

However, Murray has silenced many doubters with an outstanding performance so far throughout the California Classic Summer League.

On July 2, Murray exploded onto the scene in his debut for the Kings, scoring 26 effective points and shooting 71% with eight rebounds.

Murray’s debut was no accident. He continued to show his potential as a high-volume forward throughout the tournament, averaging a tournament-leading 19.7 points and eight rebounds in three games. His rebounding numbers were the second best among all players.

RELATED: Former Iowa Basketball Player Keegan Murray Opens Up About His NBA Journey

Murray, who played a tournament-leading 30.1 minutes per game, converted 51.1% of his field goal attempts and shot 43.8% from beyond the arc.

Murray’s performance in the Summer League reassured the Kings front office and coaching staff that they had made the right decision. According to NBC Sports, the Kings’ Summer League coach Jordi Fernández told reporters he was impressed with the rookie’s performance at the California Classic after the tournament’s final game.

“[He’s] just very stable, very efficient,” Fernandez said. “…He plays at both ends of the court, which is very important, not just in the summer league, but for the Sacramento Kings. It’s just going to make us a really good team, so [I’m] very impressed with Keegan so far and is now moving to Vegas. I’m just excited for him.

The Kings went a perfect 3-0 in California with wins over the Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors and Miami Heat.

At this rate, it’s almost certain that Murray will be placed in the Kings’ starting lineup on opening night. Sacramento’s most likely starting five right now includes De’Aaron Fox at point guard, Kevin Huerter or Malik Monk at both, Harrison Barnes and Murray at front and All-Star Domantas Sabonis at center.

Thanks in part to his young and talented supporting cast, Murray is tied for fifth-best odds at the 2022-23 Rookie of the Year. If he continues to show off his scoring prowess at the Vegas Summer League, those odds will skyrocket. So if you’re hoping to place a bet on Keegan Murray for Rookie of the Year, now is the time to grab his +1000 odds.

The Kings return to action on July 9 against the Orlando Magic in Las Vegas. Murray will face first overall pick Paolo Banchero at 4 p.m. on ESPN.

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