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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Florida Cruses Past Wisconsin on a Perfect Night From Murphy

Today was a recover day after 24 hours of hoops the day before. The slate of games tonight was underwhelming and with Otto Porter held out tonight against Liberty, the Wisconsin vs. Florida game was just about the only watchable game at 7pm. Florida got ahead quick with Erik Murphy scoring ten quick points without missing a shot.

After watching Ryan Kelly and Kyle Wiltjer last night and comparing them, Murphy has also thrusted himself into the discussion of best stretch power four men in the country. Kelly and Murphy are both seniors so they will be automatically eligible, making the debate between them more relevant.

The comparison was brought up on social media outlets tonight and the general consensus was Murphy is the better player. It certainly is easy to jump from that conclusion after Murphy finished the night scoring 24 points on a perfect 10 of 10 from the field. From a scoring standpoint, Murphy is better. From a college standpoint, it may be debatable. But looking towards the NBA, I like Ryan Kelly.

For one, Kelly is about 6 months younger. And funny enough, they both averaged 25.9 minutes last year. Kelly grabbed one more rebound and we all know that rebounding translates. Neither are even good enough to be considered average rebounders at the forward position in the NBA, but Kelly has a bigger body and is less of a reliability.

Kelly also had more variety in his offense last season. Murphy's 3-pt shots accounted for over 50% of his shot attempts while Kelly's was at a more modest 41%. Kelly is able to operate in the post more in college. Murphy on the other hand, lacks the strength down in the paint. So far this year, Murphy is putting the ball on the court more with Beal gone and being more patient with his offense, but he still isn't posting anyone up in the NBA. Kelly got to the line 6.7 times per 40 while Murphy only went 2 times. Kelly can play physical - Murphy cannot.

I also believe Kelly is the better coached player and better team guy. Kelly averaged more assists than Murphy for one. But just watching Kelly play, he does a better setting up teammates, setting picks, and is a step ahead of Murphy on defense. Not only can Kelly maintain position better defending the post, but he also shows good awareness and moves his feet well. He has that typical Duke "know how" and ability to be in the right place to draw charges. When you play below the rim, that is your best defense.

Neither player will ever become an NBA starter and even a rotation spot is questionable, but if Im on the clock looking for a stretch 4, Kelly is my guy.

Notes from the game:

- Boynton has moved to point guard this year, a unique situation for a guy who has the most active points scored among BCS players. Florida has made the transition easy for him, giving him plenty of pick and roll opportunities and surrounding him with other ball handlers like Mike Rosario. Boynton isn't asked to make many plays for his teammates. They all can make plays for themselves. Obviously, Boynton is not a point guard but his ability to put the ball in the basket makes him a decent prospect.

- Patric Young was the same old Patric Young. He looks good in pregame warm-ups, but once the game starts, isn't much of a factor. Florida actually tried to get the ball into him a lot. Young just doesn't have the natural touch around the hoop or great hands in receiving the ball. He didn't score his second basket of the game until late in the second half.

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