It's Time for New York Knicks to Give Toure Murry a Chance

Thomas Duffy@@TJDhoopsFeatured ColumnistJanuary 20, 2014

Dec 28, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Knicks guard Toure' Murry (23) looks on during their game against the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre. The Raptors beat the Knicks 115-100. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sport

Toure Murry embodies everything that is lacking within the wild world of the New York Knicks.

The former Wichita State guard is young, underpaid and has an extremely bright future. He’s as un-Knick-like as they come.

Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni, the Knicks’ top two point guards, have both suffered through injuries this season. But regardless of who is healthy, Murry should be the first point guard off the bench going forward.

The Knicks landed themselves a steal in the 24-year-old rookie and it’s time they gave him a chance.


Better than Beno

Offensively, Beno Udrih isn’t half-bad. A nine-year NBA veteran, Udrih is averaging close to six points a game while shooting about 43 percent from the field. Throw in just under four assists, and it would appear that you’ve got yourself a nice backup guard, right?

Well, not really.

Udrih is a horrendous defender, one whose constant lapses have cost New York several games this season. Thanks to the poor health of his backcourt teammates, though, Udrih has seen close to 20 minutes per contest and cracked the starting lineup more times (12) than he did in his last two seasons combined (9).

Should Mike Woodson bench Udrih from here on out? No, but Woody should look to Murry before Beno.

The 24-year-old Murry is built for the modern, PG-driven NBA. At 6’5”, 195 pounds, he has the quickness to stay in front of some of the league’s top ball-handlers and can use his length to keep them on the perimeter.

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 17: Head Coach Mike Woodson of the New York Knicks instructs player Toure' Murry #23 of the New York Knicks during a game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Madison Square Garden in New York City on January 17, 2014.  NOTE TO USER:
Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

New York doesn’t need its guards constantly chucking up jumpers—that’s Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith’s job. What the team needs is reliable perimeter defense, and that’s what Murry can provide.


Consistent and Efficient

By the same token, Murry is not a box score monster. His modest average of three points per game is nothing to get excited over.

However, while Murry is technically a rookie, he’s shown throughout his career that his offensive game is both efficient and consistent.

In his four years at Wichita State, Murry put up over 12 points and three assists per game while shooting over 40 percent from the field. After going undrafted in 2012, he moved on to the Development League, where his shooting percentage jumped to over 45 percent.

Jan 11, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Knicks shooting guard Toure' Murry (23) looks to pass during the game against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports
John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

After bouncing around the summer league, Murry earned a spot on the Knicks’ preseason roster. In the 22 minutes he was given per night, the former Shocker torched opposing defenses for about 10 points and three rebounds per game on nearly 45 percent shooting.

This season, the rookie is giving New York about 13 points, five assists and four boards per 36 minutes. When he's gotten on the floor for more than 10 minutes a night, the 15-25 Knicks actually have a winning record (4-3).

Murry isn’t the guy you would want on your fantasy squad, but he’s definitely a player that any real team would gladly take on its roster.


Change of Pace

Jan 9, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks shooting guard Toure' Murry (23) controls the ball against the Miami Heat during the fourth quarter of a game at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

One of the biggest problems with the Knicks' roster is that the top players play the same way.

Isolation ball, long jumpers, lackadaisical defense and—with the exception of Melo—disappointing performances have all become the norm in Woodson’s primary rotation.

Murry can bring a different skill set to the table and fill in one of the most gaping holes that the Knicks have—defense, a term unfamiliar to most players in the Big Apple.

RotoGrinders indicates that New York is allowing about 22 points a night to opposing point guards, which is the fourth-worst figure in the NBA.

Murry isn’t going to win any kind of awards this season, but an increase in his minutes will significantly improve the Knicks’ perimeter defense.

As of January 19, Murry was seeing just over eight minutes a night. If that number can get bumped up to the 13-17 range, the Knicks will get a major boost on defense and efficient production on the offensive end.

Woodson is notorious for having major trust issues (cue the Drake tunes) with rookies, but enough is enough. Murry deserves a fair shot.


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