Dejounte Murray Declares for 2016 NBA Draft: Latest Comments and Reaction

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 24, 2016

Washington guard Dejounte Murray drives down the court against Stanford during an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

Marquese Chriss' decision to leave Washington after one season has been seen as a foregone conclusion, as the Huskies forward is contending for a lottery pick. Wednesday saw point guard Dejounte Murray join the fray as he announced his intention to enter the 2016 NBA draft. 

"I am blessed and humbled to announce I am declaring for the 2016 NBA Draft and hiring representation," Murray said in a Twitter post. "I would like to thank coach [Lorenzo] Romar, Udubb and everyone who has helped me out in this position. I am excited for the journey ahead and feel truly blessed."

Murray, 19, averaged 16.1 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game as a freshman. Listed at 6'5" with a 6'10" wingspan by ESPN.com, Murray is a dynamic playmaker who excels in penetrating his way to the basket. He uses his length and quickness to make plays near the rim, and displays an unselfish tendency in getting others involved.

"Dejounte, you truly have the world at your fingertips," Greg Davison of the Seattle Times wrote. "Like Tony Wroten Jr., you thrilled us this season with slice-and-dice finger rolls, up-and-down the elevator shaft, swishing straight-through magic. But there is more to be done. You do need to fill out and keep working hard in the offseason."

Indeed, Murray does have some holes in his game. He's a largely dreadful outside shooter, hitting 41.6 percent of his shots overall and 28.8 percent from three. His jumper is borderline broken, and his 66.3 percent rate from the free-throw line speaks to the inconsistency of his form.

By declaring and hiring an agent, Murray runs a real risk of falling outside the first round. ESPN's Chad Ford currently has him as his No. 26 overall prospect. While some players who are expected to declare won't and the board will shuffle around, the late teens to early 20s are probably the peak of Murray's draft positioning.

Now more than ever, teams know the importance of outside shooting. Murray might be borderline unplayable as a rookie if he doesn't make a marked improvement as a shooter over the summer. His tendency to be erratic with the basketball—he averaged 3.2 turnovers per game—won't help matters, either. 

There is raw talent that jumps off the page at times, but the Wroten comparison is concerning. Like Murray, Wroten was a tantalizing playmaker with length and athleticism for days—with a broken shot. Wroten has slogged through an inconsistent four NBA seasons and was released by the moribund 76ers in December. (He's since latched on with the New York Knicks.)

Had Wroten stayed and refined his game, he could have been a lottery pick; his entire NBA career may have gone differently. We may look back in a few years and wonder if Murray could also have used extra seasoning. 

Follow Tyler Conway (@jtylerconway) on Twitter.


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