Murphy set for NBA stage
Published: Thursday, June 27, 2013 at 8:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 at 8:50 p.m.
Like most basketball players growing up, Florida forward Erik Murphy dreamed of playing in the NBA.
When: Thursday night at 7:30,
TV/Radio: ESPN, AM-850
Where: At Brooklyn, N.Y.
Winter evenings in his native Rhode Island were spent watching his favorite team, the Boston Celtics.
“It was always my goal, my dream,” Murphy said. “I always watched the (NBA) draft growing up. To be able to be in that situation is special.”
Murphy will take another step toward realizing that goal tonight in the NBA draft. He’s hoping to become the 35th player in UF history to be drafted. Murphy will watch the draft in his native South Kingstown, R.I., with his family.
The last month-and-a-half for Murphy has been a whirlwind of round-the-clock workouts. He began training in Las Vegas, but has traveled to several different cities to take part in NBA pre-draft workouts, including Chicago, Orlando, Cleveland and Indianapolis.
“It’s been crazy,” Murphy said. “A lot of traveling, a lot of workouts. It takes a toll on you a little bit physically.”
Most NBA draft websites project the 6-foot-10 Murphy as a second-round pick, based on the combination of his size and shooting ability. He led the Southeastern Conference in 3-point field goal percentage (45.3 percent) as a senior.
“Every workout, the feedback has been pretty positive,” Murphy said. “As far as the draft, I don’t have any idea where I will end up. A lot of things can change in the next 24 hours. The draft can be very unpredictable.”
NBADraft.net projects Murphy will go 39th overall to the Portland Trail Blazers, while Draftexpress.com projects Murphy going 42nd overall to the Philadelphia 76ers. ESPN.com NBA draft analyst Chad Ford has Murphy getting picked 54th overall by the Washington Wizards.
“He's in our second round,” Ford said. “Again, stretch-fours (power forwards) are in vogue. He did a great workout in Vegas in front of a bunch of NBA teams. I was there. He shot the lights out. And he has a skill that translates.”
Ford also mentioned Utah, Philadelphia, Detroit and the Los Angeles Lakers as possible second-round destinations for Murphy. Indiana and Minnesota also have shown interest.
“He'll be a role player,” Ford said. “He'll be a specialist. But he's the type of player that I see as a really valuable second‑round pick and a guy who can make a roster.”
NBA director of scouting Ryan Blake also views Murphy as a potential second-round pick.
“He shot the ball incredibly well at the combine,” Blake said. “You’re talking about one of the best shooters in the country, let alone the best shooting big man. I think he’s got even more upside than (former Gator forward and current San Antonio Spurs 3-point shooting specialist) Matt Bonner. He can be as mobile and as effective.”
NBA draft prospects don’t look as promising for Florida guards Kenny Boynton and Mike Rosario. The former McDonald’s All-American guards aren’t currently projected in the top two rounds of the NBA draft. Boynton has had a handful of workouts, most recently with the Portland Trail Blazers. Boynton finished second on the UF career scoring list with 2,033 points, but had an inconsistent senior season.
“Probably going to have to get a passport and look in that direction,” Ford said when asked about Boynton. “Kenny obviously came out of high school with a lot of credentials and a great rep. I just don’t ever think his game came together in a way that translated to the NBA. He’s stuck between positions and doesn’t really do one thing well enough that screams NBA.”
Rosario led the Gators in scoring (12.5 ppg) as a senior and scored 25 points in UF’s 78-64 NCAA Tournament win over Minnesota.
“He's going to have to fight his way through summer leagues and through training camps and the D‑League to get on a team right now,” Ford said. “Not generating a ton of interest.”