Realistic player comparisons for Trey Murphy III

Trey Murphy III, New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Trey Murphy III, New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

After a fantastic second season in the league, everyone is buzzing about the potential of New Orleans Pelicans forward Trey Murphy III. At 23 years of age, it feels like the sky’s the limit for Murphy. But, realistically speaking, just how high is that sky? To find out, we took at look at some data to find player seasons in NBA history similar to the one Murphy just had.

Whenever you compare players to each other, you lose a bit of nuance. However, player comparison is still a necessary evil as it helps provide people with some understanding of what kind of player a prospect could someday become. So, how do we go about it?

While comparing players is an incredibly imperfect science, there are some resources that give you a better chance of identifying accurate comparisons than others. One of those tools is Cerebro Sports’ 5-metric suite, which (among other things) allows you to compare players based on the similarities in their scores in these five skill statistics.

Their five skill metrics are Pure Scoring Prowess (PSP), 3-Point Efficiency (3PE), Floor General Skills (FGS), Around The Rim (ATR), and Defensive Statistical Impact (DSI). To learn more about what all these metrics measure, check out this page right here.

These metrics are based on a soft scale of 0-100, meaning that 0 is the worst and 100 is the best. Although, outlier talents could theoretically surpass that 100 mark in certain skills. For instance, in 2022-23, Stephen Curry (the greatest shooter ever) had a 3PE score of 104.

With that established, here is what Murphy’s 5-metric suite looked like during his sophomore season in the NBA (keep in mind, this excludes the Pelicans’ play-in game):

Murphy III 2022-23 5-Metric Suite (31 games)

PSP: 74

3PE: 87

FGS: 52

ATR: 59

DSI: 82

We then took those numbers and did a global search for all NBA players since 1980 who had a PSP score between 68 and 80, a 3PE between 80 and 92, an FGS between 48 and 60, an ATR between 50 and 62, and a DSI between 78 and 90.

We also filtered out for usage rate to account for offensive load. Murphy had a usage percentage (USG%) of 16%. So, we looked for players with a USG% between 15% and 25%. We also had a minimum games played threshold of 25 to avoid any noise clouding our sample.

Overall, we found five player seasons in NBA history (outside of Murphy’s) that fit within these parameters. That list of player seasons goes as follows: Cameron Johnson (age-26), TJ Warren (age-25), Kelly Oubre Jr. (age-26), Terrence Ross (age-28), and Wesley Person (age-25).

Now, initially, none of these names may jump out at you. However, think about this. All these players were in their mid/late 20s when they had these seasons. Murphy posted similar outputs at age-22. He’s still young and has plenty of time to improve before he reaches his mid/late 20s.

Plus, these comparisons do make sense when you think about Murphy’s role on the Pelicans this past season. He was a two-way forward who played primarily off the ball and provided value with his shooting and length – not too different than the list of players we just named.

Murphy still has the chance to level up his game some more. But at this point in time, it makes sense that his player comparisons are comprised of role players.

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