Earlier this summer, the Utah Jazz announced a new D-League partnership with the Idaho Stampede. It has now come to light that a player who spent time with the Stampede last season, Kevin Murphy, has been invited to Jazz training camp. It’s a nice, full-circle moment for Murphy and the team that originally drafted him in 2012, but it’s not a move that will impact Utah’s roster.
Murphy was selected by the Jazz in the second round of that draft with the No. 47 pick. At Tennessee Tech, he was a big-time scorer (and an efficient one to boot). He reminded many Jazz fans of Morris Almond, another great college scorer drafted by the team. Unfortunately, Murphy’s first run with Utah was similar to Almond’s.
He struggled with the speed of the NBA game and was a defensive liability on the floor. The size and athleticism of opposing defenses also made it difficult for him to display the scoring prowess he had displayed in college. In the summer following his rookie campaign, the team sent him to the Golden State Warriors as part of the deal that netted the Jazz the contracts of Richard Jefferson and Andris Biedrins, as well as several future draft choices.
Since leaving the Jazz, Murphy has played in a variety of locales as he chases his NBA dream. He’s had good moments with different Summer League squads and last season he was an all-league player for the Stampede, scoring in bunches as he once did in college. After a challenging start, he may be coming into his own as a professional basketball player.
Unfortunately, there probably isn’t a spot for Murphy on the Jazz’s roster. The Jazz are set on the guard line for 2014-15 with Trey Burke, Dante Exum, Alec Burks and Carrick Felix (Gordon Hayward will play some at shooting guard as well). The team is also expected to sign Toure’ Murry to a two-year deal in the coming weeks. Another thing working against Murphy is the fact that Utah has traditionally left their 15th roster spot open to maintain flexibility throughout the season.
Still, Murphy comes across as a quality individual and his return to the Jazz is nice to see. He may not be on the team’s roster to start the regular season, but he could receive a call-up at some point if he remains with Idaho; if he continues to put up points there, other teams around the league are always watching as well. All things considered, Jazz fans are undoubtedly hoping for the best for Murphy.