New Orleans Pelicans: Trey Murphy III is a legit defender
I was excited when the New Orleans Pelicans drafted Trey Murphy III, as he seemed like a guy who was tailor made to thrive in NOLA.
He fills a couple of immediate needs for the Pelicans as a long wing who can knock down 3-point shots at a high rate, but what was most impressive to me was his defense against some of the other top young players.
Murphy III had some marquee matchups with Patrick Williams, Evan Mobley and Jonathan Kuminga and looked great defensively against all three.
If Murphy III can guard up, it may be the key to the Pels unlocking their own version of small ball with 3M3 at center next to Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram in situations where the Pels want to run or need a bucket.
Murphy III is stronger than advertised, has great length and is dedicated to getting better as a defender, so his ceiling is higher than people might have thought when he was selected with the 17th pick.
Speaking of the 17th pick…