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Season In Review: Toure' Murry

by Charlie Widdoes

Statistically Speaking: 51 games played (7.3 mpg). 13.5 points, 4.7 assists, 4.2 rebounds per 36 minutes.

Contributions: After leading the Rio Grande Valley Vipers to the D-League championship last year, Murry came to Summer League with the Knicks and turned out to be their most consistent performer, all while learning to play point guard. He then accepted an invitation to training camp and forced the coaching staff to give him a spot on a veteran-laden roster with his play over the course of the preseason.

At 6-5 with a wiry frame, his rookie season was all about acclimating to the speed of the NBA game. In that way, you’d have to call it a rousing success. His playing time was sparing, but when Mike Woodson called his number, he made his impact felt on both ends of the floor.

A look at some advanced lineup data proves that he belongs: Murry and Iman Shumpert formed the Knicks’ most potent 2-man combo (min. 10 games), holding opponents to 88 points per 100 possessions while on the floor together. By expertly turning defense into offense, they were responsible for a whopping +31.4 net rating when they shared the court. Murry and Carmelo Anthony were fourth on the list, making the soft-spoken rookie a surprising fixture among the team’s most successful duos.

Murry was also part of the two most successful 3-man lineups on the team this season, a sign that his defensive pressure and unselfish style were conducive to winning basketball. His assist rate (21.5) was in line with the other three veteran point guards on the roster and his rebound rate (6.9) was by far the best. His tools are evident, and through hard work with the coaching staff, he looked more and more comfortable over the course of the year.

Season Highlight: Like Cole Aldrich, Murry seized an opportunity to play extended minutes in the season-ending back-to-back games against Brooklyn and Toronto. With the Knicks eliminated from playoff contention, Woodson turned to his youngsters and Murry showcased his improvement with some highlight plays on top of his usual composed play. After dropping nine points (including two 3-pointers), five assists and three steals in Brooklyn, he put on a show in the season finale against Toronto at MSG, going for a season-high 15 points (6-for-12 from the field, 2-of-2 from 3).

Looking Ahead: Going into his first offseason as an NBA player, Murry will continue to refine his game with hopes of earning a moresignificant role next season. He adjusted well to running the point after playing off the ball through college, but can certainly keep working to master the nuances of the pick-and-roll. He only took 12 3-pointers this season, but he connected on five of them (41.7%), so expect him to focus on making the long-distance stroke more of a weapon moving forward.

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