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Keegan Murray is already comfortable against NBA competition

Keegan Murray finished with 16 points against the Lakers on Monday.

NBA: Preseason-Sacramento Kings at Los Angeles Lakers Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Keegan Murray plays at his own pace, regardless of who’s on the court.

Whether it’s the Big Ten Conference, Las Vegas Summer League, or a team with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Keegan Murray is Keegan Murray. That’s been evident even before he shined in his preseason debut witht the Sacramento Kings on Monday.

In his preseason debut against the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday, Murray was his typical, efficient, under-control self. He finished with 16 points, on 7-of-11 shooting, along with 6 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 assist in just 20 minutes. It’s just preseason, but nothing Murray did felt out of the ordinary or something that teams will be able to take away during the regular season.

The sequence that jumped off the screen was when Murray broke up a lob attempt, passed the ball and spotted up in the corner, burying a three while drifting to the left. Then, Murray picked off a lazy Laker pass and took it the other way for a dunk.

We only have one preseason game to go off of, but Murray feels like a player that is going to be an immediate positive for this team as a rookie, which is something that can be said about so few rookies. Unlike most first-year players, Murray can fit into most roles the team is going to ask of him from the jump. Luckily for Sacramento, that’s all they need him to be for now, and if he’s more, right away, then that’s an added bonus.

The moment never seems too big for Murray. Even in the few instances where he struggled during Summer League, Murray never looked rattled. No pressing, no lack of confidence, just that same comfort getting to his spots. Despite not being a nuclear athlete, Murray has the rare trait of being able to craft his way to his spots on the court even if the guy guarding him is more athletic.

Murray’s poise should help him get through any bumps in the road that are typical of any player’s rookie season. Of course, it’s unlikely to be completely smooth sailing, but for Murray, I am just not expecting him to slump all that badly.

Murray is not flashy in the traditional sense. He’s not going to consistently dunk on guys, he’s not a guy you give the ball to clear out and isolate 15 times a game. But what he is, is a player that can do a bit of everything on the court.

Mike Brown opted to start KZ Okpala at the starting power forward spot on Monday, which surprised many. If Murray continues the preseason playing like this, it will be difficult for him to keep Murray out of that starting spot come October 19 when the Kings tip off their season against the Portland Trail Blazers.