After a smattering of rumors, the Utah Jazz went ahead and signed point guard Toure’ Murry a few weeks ago. Who is Murry and what are his chances of making the team, and beyond that, making an impact?
Murry is a 6’5″ point guard who played his collegiate career at Wichita State. He was a four-year starter who was consistent through his time there, averaging between 9.4 and 12.1 PPG. While he showed improvement, Murry was a below average shooter, never hitting beyond 42.4 percent of his shots. Moreover, his 3-point shooting regressed. Defense was one of his calling cards, as he was a two-time All-Missouri Valley Defensive Team honoree. Murry helped propel his team towards some postseason success, helping the Shockers win the NIT championship in 2011 and then pushing Wichita State to the second round in the 2012 NCAA tourney.
Despite his solid career, Murry went undrafted. After playing for the Los Angeles Lakers’ summer league team, he opted for the D-League route, playing the 2012-2013 campaign with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers1. He posted modest numbers: 9.0 PPG, 3.0 APG, 1.8 SPG.
The next summer saw him toiling for both the Houston Rockets and the New York Knicks in the summer league. He did enough with the latter to earn an NBA contract. Thanks to New York’s rocky season, complete with an assortment of injuries, Murry spent most of the season with the Knicks, playing just one D-League game last year. Murry was decent, averaging 2.7 PPG in 7.3 MPG during 51 games. 43.4 % shooting is not bad for a rookie guard earning sporadic minutes.
The Jazz have had their eyes on him for while and likewise, he seems to have had eyes on them, as well. He had a pre-draft workout in Salt Lake City in 20122. According to rep0rts, Murry had his fair share of suitors in the Los Angeles Lakers, the Miami Heat and the Knicks. New York wanted him back, as he fits the mold of guards that do well in the Triangle Offense. It sounds like he grew weary of waiting for them and chose Utah.
Utah signed Murry to a two-year, $2 million contract; like Brock Motum, Dee Bost, Jack Cooley and Kevin Murphy, his deal is partially guaranteed. Unlike the other four, however, his guarantee is much higher: $250,000. That figure, along with the fact that the Jazz need a third point guard, makes Murry’s chances of making the roster pretty good.
What does he bring to the Jazz? His size naturally sticks out. Like Dante Exum, he brings length to the back court, especially if playing point guard. His ability to play multiple positions is probably enticing to Utah. He has solid court vision and is a willing passer (21.5 AST%, which would’ve been third on last year’s Jazz squad), with a penchant for alley oop dishes. With a 6’9″ wingspan, Murry has defensive potential. His 2.7 STL% is excellent–that would’ve paced Utah last year. Given head coach Quin’s Snyder’s emphasis on passing and defense, this bodes well for Murry. At 24, he is young, has upside and can grow with the young core.
He certainly has weaknesses. Murry has been a below average 3-point shooter at every level. He only attempted 12 treys in 373 minutes for the Knicks. Snyder and the coaching staff will undoubtedly work with him, as the desire to play with more pace will give Utah guards a lot of opportunities from the perimeter (and the corner three will undoubtedly be more of a weapon than in the past).
Murry will certainly be someone to watch in training camp and preseason. He seems to be a hungry player; a low-risk, potentially solid-reward pick-up by Utah.