A Surprising Name Who Will Make a Big Impact for the Chicago Bulls in 2013-14
Erik Murphy, who the Bulls selected in the second round of this year's draft (49th overall pick), is a different story.
The power forward out of Florida is the least-known player on Chicago's roster and is unlikely to play much as a rookie. But look for him to emerge as a contributor during the upcoming 2013-14 season.
Why will Murphy have a great rookie year for the Bulls? What does he bring to the table, and what are his expectations?
Stellar Outside Shooting
It's no secret why the Bulls drafted Murphy. He's a lights-out shooter, something the Bulls certainly lacked last season. Chicago struggled from beyond the arc, shooting just 35.3 percent (21st in the league).
Murphy hit 45.3 percent of his three-point attempts as a senior at Florida. That's quite impressive for any player, especially a 6'10" big man. He also shot 50 percent from three-point land during this year's NBA summer league in Las Vegas.
Check out this video, which showcases his incredible outside-shooting ability as he prepares for the draft.
As you can see, the video starts out with him drilling seven straight threes.
Rose, the Bulls' franchise point guard, missed all of last season after tearing his ACL during the 2012 playoffs. His return to the hardwood next season will help Murphy's game immensely. Rose's ability to penetrate should translate into a bunch of open looks for Murphy, making life much easier for the rookie.
Last summer, the Bulls signed Vladimir Radmanovic to play the much-needed "stretch 4" role. Unfortunately, he would prove to be a disappointment, shooting a not-so-wonderful 18.5 percent from downtown. Murphy, though, can become the addition that Vlad Rad was supposed to be.
While he's obviously a gifted shooter, Murphy will provide the Bulls' lineup with a bit of scoring punch as well. He averaged a respectable 12.2 points per game last season.
Murphy had several outstanding performances as a senior, including a career-high 27 points versus LSU and 24 against Wisconsin. He hit all 10 of his field-goal attempts in the Wisconsin game.
The Rhode Island native averaged 11.6 points during the summer league, appearing in all five of Chicago's contests. His best performance of the event came during the finale versus the Dallas Mavericks, putting up 19 points. Here are Murphy's highlights from that game.
Notice how he can do more than just shoot threes. He can also finish around the basket effectively. Sure it was only a summer league game, but Murphy showed signs of becoming a solid scorer at the next level.
Last season, the Bulls scored only 93.2 points per game, ranking them 29th in the Association.
The return of Rose will help as will the free-agent addition of Mike Dunleavy. However, Chicago will need as much scoring as it can get from guys like Murphy.
No one expects Murphy to see much action as a rookie. According to Rotoworld.com, he is currently third on the power forward depth chart behind starter Carlos Boozer and backup Taj Gibson.
Plus, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau usually doesn't play first-year players. Rookies Butler (2011-12) and Marquis Teague (last season) rarely saw the court under Coach Thibs' watch.
So why will Murphy be any different? Well, the Bulls are one of the league's most injury-prone teams, meaning it's quite possible that he'll get an opportunity to play in 2013-14.
Gibson missed 17 games last season due to injury. If he misses time next season, Murphy would instantly emerge as Boozer's primary backup at power forward.
And if oft-injured center Noah is out for awhile, Nazr Mohammed would start in the middle as Gibson becomes his backup. Then Murphy would replace Gibson in such a scenario.
Look for Murphy to a have a quality rookie year, strengthening the Bulls' re-tooled bench as the team's stretch 4. He could very well become the next Ryan Anderson or Matt Bonner: a big man who can shoot and create spacing.
The Bulls know a thing or two about finding diamonds in the rough. Over the years, they've landed draft steals such as Clifford Ray, Toni Kukoc, Gibson and Butler. And it looks like Teague, last year's draft pick, will turn out to be one as well.
Is Murphy next in line? Don't be surprised if he is.
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