By Antonio R. Harvey | OBSERVER Staff Writer
Sacramento Kings Coach Mike Brown pretty much summed up rookie Keegan Murray’s offensive difficulties over the last seven games.
After scoring 21 points in a 122-115 home victory against the Golden State Warriors on Nov. 13, Murray has made 8 of 37 shots from the field. Overall, he is averaging 10.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.0 assists.
“What everybody has to remember is that Keegan is a rookie. He’s going to go through his ups and his downs,” Brown said after the Kings’ practice Nov. 27. “He’s probably played more games now at this point in the year than he did his whole last year in college and we’re only a fourth of the way into the season.
“So, to get used to the number of practices, number of games, [and] life off the floor as a rookie in itself is an experience.”
Murray did a little better in the Kings’ 122-117 loss against the Phoenix Suns at Golden 1 Center on Nov. 28. He made 5 of 11 shots to end with 11 points in 22 minutes. He said at shootarounds the morning before the game that he’s still confident in his shooting abilities.
“I’ll always have 100% confidence in myself,” Murray said. “I’ll never waver no matter if I go 0 for 7 or 7 for 7. … I know that my shot will fall eventually.”
During the Kings’ recent road trip, Murray made 1 of 8 against the Memphis Grizzlies, missed all five attempts from the floor against the Atlanta Hawks, and made 1 of 8 shots in a 122-104 loss against the Boston Celtics.
After leaving the University of Iowa to enter the NBA draft, Murray participated in draft workouts and meetings with several teams. The Kings selected him with the No. 4 pick and sent him to play in the California Classic in San Francisco and the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. He was the MVP of the latter.
All this led to the Kings’ training camp, practices, preseason, and an eventual spot in the starting lineup in his first professional game on Oct. 23. He had early success, but is learning that adversity has a place in the league alongside opportunities.
As of Tuesday, the Kings were on a three-game skid after winning seven in a row.
Brown said Murray will get through this bump in the road.
“He’s gonna play good and he’s gonna play bad. We just have to keep encouraging him, he’s gotta keep working and, trust me, I am going to keep coaching him,” Brown said. “I am not going to let up on him because he can handle it.”