Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Despite turning heads in the summer league, the odds were against Toure' Murry at the beginning of training camp. He was vying for a spot on the depth chart already stacked with talent. New York already had three points guards and three shooting guards locked in.
But after five preseason games, it would be a travesty if Woodson left Murry off the final roster.
The Knicks are loaded with talent at the guard position, but outside of Iman Shumpert, there is no reliable defensive player in the backcourt. Raymond Felton can occasionally hold his own against quicker guards, as can Pablo Prigioni, despite his age. But athleticism has never been one of Beno Udrih's strong suits, while J.R. Smith and Tim Hardaway Jr. are the two worst defensive guards on the Knicks.
Murry breaks that trend. He's a 6'6" combo guard with gangly arms and sharp athleticism. He has rivaled Shumpert's defensive intensity on ball-handlers through the preseason, which the Knicks desperately lack.
Per 82games.com, opposing point guards dropped more than 22 points on New York nightly last season while posting a 17.5 player efficiency rating. Without much defensive improvement in personnel for 2013-14, Murry would act to lessen those stats this year.
The 24-year-old's offense is promising, too. "Unpolished" is an accurate description, but Murry can drop it in from anywhere in the half court. He has shot a decent 22-of-50 this preseason or 44 percent. At just 3-of-15, his long-distance shooting needs work, but the Knicks have enough talent there to make up for a deficiency.
Against Toronto on Oct. 21, he shot a mediocre 5-of-13 and didn't play an impressive game on the whole. But everything he does on the court—his positioning on both ends, his ability to get to the rim, his vision—is valuable in the NBA today. He shot only 3-of-5 against the Bucks, but at this point, the numbers are almost irrelevant.
Murry plays like an NBA player needs to play, and he provides what the Knicks lack. He may not be ready to provide nightly rotation minutes, but after impressing last July and again in the preseason, he deserves a spot on the roster. The Knicks would be missing out if they let him slip away to another team.
Woodson recently told reporters—particularly the New York Daily News' Frank Isola—that Chris Smith may have a better shot at making the team because of his last name. The Knicks probably won't be adding two guards, and Smith has been the worst Knick by basically every preseason stat you can get your hands on.
As compared to the grand scheme of Knicks business, a Smith making the team over a deserving non-Smith wouldn't come off as shocking. But the 18 Knicks in camp with different last names would probably tell you that Murry should be the one to grab the spot.