Well, it’s finally happening. After seeing him play in just two games against the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings head coach Mike Brown has officially named Keegan Murray to the starting lineup for Thursday against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Mike Brown started off by telling us Keegan Murray will start tomorrow against the Grizz. pic.twitter.com/p3UAbFkMCJ— Morgan Ragan (@momoragan) October 26, 2022
The rook has played phenomenally to kick off this new season. He’s averaging 17.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 1.0 blocks per game. He is also shooting the ball very efficiently at 54.2 percent from the field and 43.8 percent from behind the arc. In a season where the Kings are starting off winless through three games, Murray has been one of the few silver linings that still provides a glimmer of hope for the still very long long season to come.
Here are all of Keegan Murray’s 19 points in his NBA debut. So smooth pic.twitter.com/aiY8OXNEYA— I Love Iowa Basketball (@ILoveIowaBball) October 23, 2022
Though it is always big news when a rookie gets their first career start, most Kings fans would say agree that there was never a question on if Murray would become a starter. The real question is which former starter he is going to replace against the Grizzlies.
There are only two players that make sense for him to start over, KZ Okpala and Harrison Barnes. Between you and me, HB has got to go.
Yes, Okpala hasn’t really shown us much this season — or in his career — to garner a starting role on a team that’s competing for a spot in the playoffs. However, he also hasn’t given us a reason not to trust him yet. He is obviously very good at defense and understands that his role is solely to make his presence felt and disrupt opposing offenses. Until he shows me that he is a hindrance to this team, I believe he can be very helpful to the team as a starter. Being a starter doesn’t make him a closer.
When it comes to HB, he has been horrible to say the least. It’s as if he’s out there playing for the other team. His ability to play defense effectively looks nonexistent, and he has performed his best Russell Westbrook impersonation on offense.
Barnes has yet to make a three to start the season and is 7-for-13 from the free throw line. Hindsight is always 2020, but if he makes his free throws or even one three against the Clippers, the Kings would have a win right now. He looks like a shell of his former self.
It’s for this reason Murray should be replacing HB in the starting lineup. Sometimes players just need a rude awakening to shock them back into being themself. Letting him go out on the court to be a matador on one end and a stone mason on the other for another two weeks would put this team in a very tough position early.
As I’ve said in numerous posts over these last few weeks, Murray was taken at number four for a reason. He can give the team everything HB can and more. Maybe it’s time for the vet to pass the torch.