Here's where Iowa's Keegan Murray is projected in 2022 NBA mock drafts, post-lottery
It's officially NBA Draft week.
The Orlando Magic hold the top spot for the fourth time in franchise history, followed by the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets.
Most NBA Draft analysts believe the top three players in the 2022 class are Auburn's Jabari Smith Jr., Gonzaga's Chet Holmgren and Duke's Paolo Banchero.
From there, though, things get interesting. And that's where Iowa forward Keegan Murray comes into play.
Murray, a Cedar Rapids native, is looked at as a lottery lock in the 2022 NBA Draft after averaging 23.5 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.9 blocks and 1.5 assists per game last season (while shooting 39.8% from 3-point range).
The consensus is that Murray will provide immediate impact to whichever team selects the former Hawkeye star.
This week, Murray is attending the NBA Scouting Combine in Chicago. However, he is not participating in any measurements, drills or 5-on-5 games. According to his father in a recent Register interview, Murray hasn't played a 5-on-5 game since Iowa's first-round NCAA Tournament loss to Richmond. He's a bona fide (projected) top-10 selection.
Here's a look at where different sites project Murray to be taken in the upcoming NBA Draft.
No. 4 to the Sacramento Kings
This is the highest most analysts believe Murray could land. ESPN's Jonathan Givony's latest mock draft had the Sacramento Kings selecting Murray with the No. 4 overall pick.
"Murray doesn't need plays called for him to be effective and should be able to play as a stretch-4 alongside Domantas Sabonis, as well as smaller lineups as a small-ball center with Harrison Barnes," Givony wrote.
Considering that Barnes and fellow Kings forwards Maurice Harkless, Trey Lyles and Chimezie Metu are all set to become unrestricted free agents after next season, locking down its forward of the future on a rookie contract makes sense for Sacramento.
No. 5 to the Detroit Pistons
Could Murray reunite with Luka Garza?
"What he does, at his size, is perfectly suited for the modern NBA and would fit well with a Detroit franchise trying to return to respectability with Cade Cunningham as the centerpiece," wrote CBS Sports' Gary Parrish.
Detroit's frontcourt is somewhat crowded with forwards Jeremi Grant, Saddiq Bey, Marvin Bagley III and Kelly Olynyk, but Bagley is currently a restricted free agent and Grant will be an unrestricted free agent next offseason. Both options could factor into Detroit's selection at No. 5.
No. 6 to the Indiana Pacers
The Athletic's Sam Vecenie calls Murray "the safest pick in this year's lottery," projecting him to the Indiana Pacers with the sixth pick in his latest mock draft.
"His game resembles Philadelphia’s Tobias Harris, who has been a starting-quality, near All-Star player for several seasons," Vecenie wrote. "Murray’s defensive foot speed, much like Harris’, is suspect, but he makes up for it with his strength."
Not a bad comparison for the former Hawkeye.
Sports Illustrated's latest mock draft also projects Murray to the Pacers. SI NBA Draft insider Jeremy Woo believes that while Murray is one of the oldest players in the lottery, it shouldn't hurt his stock too much.
"The age stigma matters less in his case, as Murray was a true late-blooming prospect who’s proven capable of carrying an offense and also being a high-level defender," Woo wrote. "He won’t be cast as a No. 1 option in the NBA, which should allow him to better balance his energy to impact both ends."
Outside of starting center Myles Turner, Indiana's frontcourt is bare compared to some of the other lottery teams.
Bleacher Report's latest mock draft also has Murray being selected by Indiana.
No. 8 to the New Orleans Pelicans
This is one of the farthest spots any mock draft slots Murray.
SB Nation's instant projections after the lottery have New Orleans taking Murray with the eighth selection, which would be a dream come true for a team that found itself clicking down the stretch of the season.
The Pelicans never anticipated this draft pick turning out to be a lottery selection (New Orleans can thank the Los Angeles Lakers for a horrendous season), so consider this playing with house money. Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and C.J. McCollum are set to lead a team that overachieved down the stretch. Couple that with plenty of budding role players, and Murray would provide valuable minutes to a squad vying for another playoff berth.
More Hawkeye basketball news:Leistikow: 4 simmering offseason topics with Iowa basketball's Fran McCaffery
How to watch the 2022 NBA Draft
The 2022 NBA Draft is Thursday, June 23, at 7 p.m. CT.
ABC will televise the first round, but ESPN will broadcast the entire first and second rounds Thursday. You can stream the action through the NBA app.
Read more about Keegan Murray and the 2022 NBA Draft
- Keegan Murray projected as a high lottery pick in USA Today's 2022 NBA mock draft
- 6 things to know about Keegan Murray, Iowa basketball's star and potential NBA Draft lottery pick
- Iowa basketball forward Keegan Murray declares for 2022 NBA Draft
- Iowa's Keegan Murray looks ahead to NBA Draft: 'I'm not even close to where I think I can be'