One of the questionable roster positions on the Laker team is the small forward spot. Both guard spots and the power forward slot seem well stacked. Nick Young struggled as a starter, but excelled as a sixth man for the Laker roster. Xavier Henry is a possibility to start at the slot as well.
However, there is a shot for Kevin Murphy to make the roster.
The Lakers are desperate for a player who can knock down three-point shots and play great man-defense. Danny Green fulfills this role for the Spurs well. Shane Battier made a career of it. Beloved Trevor Ariza was critical in that role leading up to a championship.
Kevin Murphy was a #47 pick by the Utah Jazz in 2012. According to Draftexpress, he stands at 6’5″ (without shoes) with a near 6’7″ wingspan. He has bounced around a bit, from the Utah Jazz, to the NBDL, to the European leagues in France and back to the NBDL. There’s no doubt that he plays at a high level of competition, and he’s knocking on the door to make it onto a roster.
Kevin Murphy‘s game is prided on his perimeter shooting abilities. Out of Tennessee Tech, he finished as a senior, averaging 20 points per game and 5 rebounds per game. He averaged 25.5 points per game and 5 rebounds per game playing for the Idaho Stampede, shooting 51.6% from the field and 38.6% behind the arc.
During the Vegas Pro League, he excelled from midrange. He was opportunistic attacking the basket, but when he did drive to the hoop, he drew fouls or finished well at the hoop. He has average ball-handling ability, often using straight-line drives to get the hoop. His perimeter shooting abilities were best done in catch-and-shoot situations. An average athlete at best, he showcased his skills very well. When he got over 10 minutes of playing time, he averaged 13.7 points per game on 45% shooting from the field; 31% shooting behind the arc.
Unfortunately, he’s not a great ball-handler. His ability to create shots is average at best, but he averaged an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1:2.5. That simply won’t work at the NBA level.
Defensively, he was average at best. He had a few good plays challenging shots and getting into passing lanes, but there was nothing dynamic that stood out on the floor. He forced one turnover per game indicated by his steal rate. His rebounding ability isn’t worth mentioning.
Overall, Kevin Murphy is a player that can make it to training camp. His perimeter shooting from midrange is worth it. It’s up to him to step up his ball-handling abilties and become a great positional defender. If he’s able to do that, he may just make it onto an NBA roster, even if the Lakers aren’t the team.