Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Aaric Murray

Aaric Murray made himself a lot of money tonight and not just because he had 17 points in the first half against Cal-Poly. Murray made money by showing up, playing on national TV and letting NBA teams know he was alive.

Here's all you need to know about him - he's 6'11 250 with a 7'3 wingspan. He's athletic enough to get 2.5 blocks a game and he shoots 74% from the free-throw line. The 21 points and 7 bounds a game is just a cherry on-top - Murray's skill-set, in and of itself, is incredibly valuable at the next level.

The standards for NBA C's are different from other positions in that there are no standards. It's like with doctors - if you were picking between them, you would want to avoid the guy with money problems and a drug history, but if you were lying on the street bleeding to death, you would just need a doctor.

That's how NBA teams are with C's. The Dallas Mavericks are the perfect example, as they field a three-headed "monster" of Sam Dalembert, Brandan Wright and Dejuan Blair at the position. Dalembert has got the size and he seems like a genuinely pleasant guy but, at best, his offensive game can be described as "competent". Wright is 210 pounds and Blair is 6'5. If you added them up into one player, they would be an elite center. As is, the Mavs are bleeding points at the 5 position on offense or defense.

Murray is big enough to stand in front of the rim on defense and not get pushed around and he's skilled enough to force teams to guard him on offense when he's standing away from the rim. That's all he would need to do to improve Dallas significantly.

There are a ton of red flags surrounding him - he's 24, he's playing for his third school, he's had drug issues and, worst of all, he doesn't "love the game".

That is one of those things guards have convinced the world is true but really isn't. Guards need to love the game because they have to differentiate themselves, because what's really the difference between one small player and the next. A true big man differentiates himself just by showing up in shape.

None of which is to say that Murray doesn't "love the game". That's one of those things that's very easy to say from the outside but can only really be judged from the inside. How are you going to tell someone else how they feel about something?

Even if everything said about him is true, that doesn't mean he can't change over time. While some people might have had it all figured out when they were 20, 21 and 22, I certainly didn't. I would hate to be judged in my mid-20's by the way I acted when I was in college.

People who say people never change are the ones who have never changed themselves. Just because you didn't have any personal growth in your 20's, don't assume that someone else can't.

When Aaric Murray is a professional, none of this stuff will matter. Either he will be a professional about his business or he will be out of a job soon enough. The only thing he has to do is show up on time and be agreeable - when there are millions of dollars on the line, he'll probably be able to manage it.

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