Late in the fourth quarter of Utah's forgetful 45-point loss to Houston on Monday, Jazz rookie Kevin Murphy glided out onto the floor. Showing increased poise and a more chiseled outlook for the NBA game—thanks to his brief stint with the NBDL's Reno Bighorns.
He ran hard across screens, pulled up for mid-range jumpers off curls, and dropped a three to finish off his 12-minute night with an admirable nine points on 4-of-6 shooting while boasting perfection from three-point range. Murphy reflected a familiar-looking repertoire along the way.
Repertoires are a big part of an NBA player's game: Their collections of moves, tendencies, decisions and even the forms of their shots, help compose the elements of who they are as a player and how they perform in the league.
When two players of different generations have a similar set of skills, it's hard not to take notice. Moreover, it's difficult not to push the limits on expectation and build an ideal vision of player performance before he's reached that tier. True?
All forethoughts aside, let's ponder both poetically and factually the amount of likeliness that Kevin Murphy has to the great Richard "Rip" Hamilton.
The way Kevin Murphy moves without the ball is totally reminiscent, almost nostalgic, of Rip's endless cuts, curls, and slashes in an offensive set without touching the basketball. In his prime, Hamilton was one of the best to ever do it.
Murphy's lower-body form, quick, dagger-like release and elevation on his shot all call to memory a burning-yet-fading vision of Richard's glory days with the Detroit Pistons. How sweet would it be....
Rip and Kevin each play the two guard spot with that same wiry, but strong frame—a catalyst for playing style and ability and a mold for talent.
Statistically speaking, it gets a little more exciting.
Taking the statistics from their last seasons in college, the rookie and the 13-year pro draw these comparisons:
PPG: 20.6 Murphy (Tennessee Tech), 21.4 Hamilton (UConn)
If we were rounding these averages, they would both be 21 points per game.
RPG: 5.2 Murphy, 4.8 Hamilton
Similarly, these would read five rebounds per game each.
APG: 2.3 Murphy, 2.7 Hamilton
Again, a solid 2.5 assists per outing.
SPG: 0.8 Murphy, 1.2 Hamilton
Just under one steal per game for Murphy, and just over one steal per game for Hamilton.
FG%: 44.4 Murphy, 44.3 Hamilton
Eerie, a 0.1 percent difference in field goal percentage.
FT%: 72.1 Murphy, 83.3 Hamilton
Hamilton boasts a near ace in free throw percentage compared to Murphy's serviceable mark.
FTM-A: 124-172 Murphy, 170-204 Hamilton
Free-throw attempts are an area where Murphy could take a hard look at Hamilton and try to emulate his ability to get to the stripe. It involves a knack for contact, and an arsenal of pump-fakes and dribble moves, but Kevin could truly excel here when he gains a feel for the league and its players.
3P%: 41.6 Murphy, 34.7 Hamilton
This is where Murphy gets a a respectable nod, showing prowess from three-point range at 41.6 percent; almost a full seven percent above Hamilton.
3PM-A: 79-190 Murphy, 68-196 Hamilton
Murphy made eleven more three-pointers on six less attempts in his final season in college. Again, this shows Kevin's marksmanship from deep.
MPG: 34.5 Murphy, 32.1 Hamilton
There's a two minute difference in playing time between Murphy and Hamilton; not quite enough to salvage a difference.
All in all, Kevin Murphy is an exciting young player with statistics to back up my comparisons of him to Richard Hamilton. Of course, Rip is a special player with a championship under his belt, but the similarities are there. Poetically and factually.
We won't be able to get a real grasp for the player Murphy is in the NBA until he sees a serious bump in playing time. Until then, I can't wait to stand back and witness his ascension.
Can Kevin Murphy be as good as Richard Hamilton? Absolutely.
... All he needs is a mask!
Follow me on Twitter @BrooxAnderson.
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