2016 NBA Draft Scouting Report: Dejounte Murray

Jan 20, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington Huskies guard Dejounte Murray (5) shoots against the Colorado Buffaloes during the first half at Alaska Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 20, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington Huskies guard Dejounte Murray (5) shoots against the Colorado Buffaloes during the first half at Alaska Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /
Dejounte Murray
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /

The 2015-16 college basketball season began with plenty of optimism surrounding Lorenzo Romar’s Washington Huskies. Romar landed a top 10 recruiting class, according to Rivals, and seemed poised to pick up his seventh 20-win season in Seattle despite having one of the youngest rosters in the country.

The highest rated player in Romar’s 2015 recruiting class was a 6-5 guard from nearby Rainier Beach High School. Dejounte Murray, a four-star recruit ranked 46th nationally, was prized for his versatility and size before committing to the Huskies in June of 2014.

While Murray delivered a solid statistical season — averaging 19.2 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per 40 minutes — Washington failed to live up to the preseason expectations as the Huskies stumbled their way to a 19-15 record before being eliminated in the second round of the NIT.

Just two days after his season ended, Murray, along with fellow freshman Marquese Chriss, declared for the 2016 NBA Draft. Although he was unable to help carry Washington to an NCAA Tournament birth, Murray still has plenty to offer at the next level.


Murray posted strong pace-adjusted numbers (19.2 points and 5.3 assists) during his lone season at Washington as he excelled in the Huskies’ fast paced offense that ranked second nationally in adjusted tempo, according to KenPom.

The 19-year old’s best offense comes going towards the basket. He attempted just 24.3 percent of his total shots from behind the three-point line while 35.8 percent of those field goal attempts came at the rim, according to hoop-math. Murray’s finishing on those close shots is slightly worse than top point guards like Kris Dunn (62.6 percent) and Demetrius Jackson (61.7 percent), but much better than Wade Baldwin (50.4 percent). Baldwin shares a similar physical profile to Murray as a lengthy point guard, but the Washington guard shows a bit more creativity at the rim than his counterpart.

In particular, Murray is capable of using a number of moves — hesitations, cross-overs, and spins — with the ball in his hands to help create the space to get his shot off away from defenders. For example, in the Huskies’ overtime home win over Arizona State, Murray began dribbling into the lane with his left hand before flipping the ball behind his back to head to the rim with his right. Towards the end of the season, Murray’s best move became a simple hop step that he was able to use to help both evade defenders and gather the ball before finishing at the rim.

Murray’s floater is his best way of dealing with opposing length at this point and against San Diego State, one of the tallest teams in the country, he went to it regularly. The Washington guard is capable of finishing the floater both off of his hop step and while running towards the rim. Murray has shown the ability to split double teams near the rim and use his length to score there at ease as well, but his floater is clearly his most comfortable finishing move right now. Murray’s aggression is also regularly awarded with trips to the free throw line (5.0 fouls drawn per 40 minutes), so it’s worth it for him to attack even when his shot isn’t falling.

While Murray does well penetrating against various defenses, his ability to create shots for himself is restricted by his inability to knock down jumpers. This season, Murray made just 28.8 percent of his three-point attempts while taking 4.1 threes per 40 minutes. The form on Murray’s jumper is inconsistent. When he sets his feet and rises vertically, he’s got a good chance of knocking the shot down, but Murray too often fades away from the basket or thrusts his right hip forward for it to be a consistently viable option. On free throws, Murray’s lack of arc is noticeable as he pushes the ball forward rather than lifting it like a more traditional release.

As a distributor, Murray is very capable, especially in transition where he likes to use bounce passes to split defenders. Murray finished the season with a 25.7 percent assist rate and showed good court vision. In the half court, he is willing to make the extra pass to better shooters on the perimeter and he’s able to find roll men in the pick-and-roll. However, Murray’s inability to shoot makes him much more predictable when he has the ball in his hands as defenders are able to give him space, something NBA teams will do even more frequently than college opponents. The result is a rather high turnover rate (19.0 percent) because Murray is consistently tasked with forcing the action by dribbling into set defenses.


Murray’s defensive potential is certainly there. At 6-5 with a 6-10 wingspan, he should eventually be capable of defending both guard spots at the next level, although he’ll need to add muscle and strength to his 170-pound frame in order to avoid being pushed around by larger, more mature players.

One area Murray will need to improve is his off-ball defense. The 19-year old currently lacks the necessary awareness to avoid being beaten by the smart cuts that NBA players will make against unsuspecting opponents. Here’s a good example from the Huskies’ NIT loss to San Diego State. In the clip, Murray (at the bottom right of the video) gets caught watching the ball as his man reads the back of his head and makes a cut to the basket to draw a foul.

When the ball does move towards his man, Murray has shown that he can jump passing lanes using his quick reflexes, timing, and long arms. The statistics suggest this might be one area where he can succeed long-term in the NBA. Murray averaged 2.2 steals per 40 minutes during his freshman season and his 2.8 percent steal rate ranked fifth in the Pac-12 and in the top 200 nationally.

Murray’s active hands are also valuable to his on-ball defense. The Washington native is a decent on-ball defender at this point in his career and he’s at his best when he’s using those long arms and quick hands to poke the ball away from his dribbling opponent. Those steals help create transition opportunities where Murray can create shots for himself or his teammates.

He still needs to improve his effort on the defensive end. Murray isn’t always locked into his defensive stance, often standing upright rather than bending his knees. The physical tools and some of the natural ability are there to make Murray into a strong defender at the next level, but it doesn’t seem like he’s embraced that aspect of his game with open arms just yet.

Although he still struggles to embrace the grind of playing defense on every possession, Murray does do a nice job of helping his teammates clean up the defensive glass. He averaged 7.1 boards per 40 minutes this season, most of which came on the defensive end. Murray’s long arms and solid leaping ability go a long way here as he can crash the boards from the perimeter to help limit offensive rebounds.


Washington’s Dejounte Murray is very much a long-term prospect, but he’s certainly worth a first round pick given his collection of skills. Murray is a capable ball-handler with decent court vision who has the physical frame to play either guard spot at the next level. His positional flexibility — the ability to play either point guard or shooting guard — will be highly valued in the modern NBA, which increasingly emphasizes the idea of “positionless” basketball. If he sees time on an NBA court early in his career, most of his points will come from his slashing ability either off the ball or via his dribble penetration. Murray has the quickness and long arms to become a solid on-ball defender, something his steal rate already suggests he’ll grow into.

For now, though, Murray is a couple of years away from regularly contributing to an NBA team. He is much closer to his floor — an inefficient scoring guard who turns it over too much — than he is to his ceiling — a versatile guard who can score in a variety of ways and defend both back court spots — at this point, but the upside of a prospect like the 19-year old Washingtonian will be too hard to pass up for someone on draft night.