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Kings nab Iowa's versatile Keegan Murray with 4th pick

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Sacramento Kings selected Iowa forward Keegan Murray with the fourth overall pick in the NBA draft.

A first-team All-American as a sophomore, Murray was the Big Ten’s leading scorer at 23.5 points a game and averaged 8.7 rebounds while playing alongside twin brother Kris.

Murrray called it a dream come true.

“Three years (ago) I was an unranked recruit going to Iowa and I’ll never forget that feeling,” Murray said. “I always have that chip on my shoulder no matter what. I know that greatness takes time and I know that I have a long ways to go in my development as a basketball player, so for me it’s being able to be the best version of myself when I get down there and see what happens.”

Murray was Sacramento’s only draft pick. The Kings had pair of second-rounders but traded away both.

The 6-foot-8, 225-pound Murray gives Kings first-year coach Mike Brown a versatile wing player to complement a core group anchored by point guard De’Aaron Fox and 6-foot-11 power forward Domantas Sabonis.

Kings general manager Monte McNair called Murray a dynamic player.

“One of the most prolific scorers in the country,” McNair said. “Blocks, steals, rebounds and impacts the game in so many ways. As we went along and certainly as we got into the final days, it was just apparent to us that if Keegan Murray was there that was going to the best course of action for us.”

Murray’s value vaulted after a stellar sophomore season at Iowa. He improved his scoring more than 16 points from his freshman year and made 66 3-pointers — 50 more than he had the previous season with the Hawkeyes.

The Kings have not made the playoffs in an NBA-record 16 consecutive seasons.

Brown, who has been a part of four NBA championship teams including most recently with the Golden State Warriors, was hired in hopes of bringing stability to a franchise that last made the playoffs in 2005-06.

Adding Murray, the highest draft pick in Hawkeyes history, should go a long way toward helping Brown get off to a good start with his new team, one that looks decidedly different than the one that began the season a year ago.

The Kings fired head coach Luke Walton and opted not to retain interim coach Alvin Gentry. Mid-season trades of 2018 second overall pick Marvin Bagley III and 2020 first-rounder Tyrese Haliburton shook up the roster, with Sabonis joining Sacramento as part of the Haliburton deal.

“They’re getting a winner first and foremost,” Murray said. “I’m very versatile. I hit a late growth spurt so I have a lot more room to grow in my game and I’m excited to get to that.”

Murray’s ability to score to score inside and stretch the floor with his 3-point shooting gives the Kings multiple options how to use their rookie. Murray showed that flexibility last year at Iowa when he was fourth nationally in scoring average while making 40 % of his 3-point attempts and grabbing 300 rebounds.

“What we liked about Keegan was that he has the ability to fit into so many different roles,” McNair said. “That’s really what stood out about him, one of the many things. I don’t think there’s any question Keegan’s going to have a positive impact on the team.”

The Kings drafted G League player Jaden Hardy 37th overall in the second round, then traded Hardy to the Mavericks, a person with knowledge of the deal said. The Mavericks are sending two future second-round picks to the Kings, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the trade hadn’t been announced.

Hours before the draft, the Kings dealt the No. 49 selection to the Cavaliers in exchange for the rights to forward Sasha Vezenkov and $1.75 million. Vezenkov was acquired in 2021 from Brooklyn as part of the three-team trade that brought All-Star center Jarrett Allen to Cleveland. The Nets drafted Vezenkov with the 57th pick in 2017.


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The Milwaukee Bucks capitalized on a rare opportunity to pick in the first round of the draft by taking NBA G League Ignite wing MarJon Beauchamp with the 24th overall selection. The 6-foot-6 Beauchamp averaged 15.1 points for the Ignite this season. That was the latest step in a circuitous path to the NBA that included stops at four different high schools and Yakima Valley College. Beauchamp shapes up to be the first opening-round pick the Bucks have kept beyond draft night since taking Donte DiVincenzo 17th overall in 2018.

Gonzaga's Chet Holmgren, Auburn's Jabari Smith and Duke's Paolo Banchero are set to make it a forward-heavy start to the NBA draft. The three top the list of players at the position and overall draft prospects, though it's unclear which might go No. 1 overall. All three possess size and open-floor potential with the ability to step outside. Iowa's Keegan Murray is another key name who is unlikely to have a long wait to be picked after the top three. Other names to watch include Baylor's Jeremy Sochan, Ohio State's E.J. Liddell and Wake Forest's Jake LaRavia. There's also a preps-to-pros prospect in Dominick Barlow from the Overtime Elite developmental program.

The Denver Nuggets selected Kansas guard Christian Braun with the 21st pick of the NBA draft. The 6-foot-6 Braun averaged 14.1 points and 6.5 rebounds for the Jayhawks last season. His 12 points and 12 rebounds helped Kansas beat North Carolina in the national championship game on April 4. He played the entire game. This is the first draft with general manager Calvin Booth as the primary decisionmaker for Denver. The Nuggets also acquired the rights to the 30th pick and final pick of the first round, UCLA freshman Peyton Watson from Oklahoma City.

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