Murphy's quick-trigger shooting from anywhere inside the gym is the last component of head coach Willie Green's rotations and what the front office believes can be a championship contender. Now back in the rotation following surgery, Murphy III might have unintentionally had time to figure out the last piece to what could be an All-Star career: his body.
Trey Murphy III still learning sources of All-Star powers
The 23-year-old Murphy III shared, “The biggest thing that I learned (during the rehab process) was I learned a lot about my body. You know, the things I need to do in order to feel like I'm right. Different parts of my body. Before I got injured I didn't know anything about the medial or lateral side of my meniscus and how it's a cushion for my joints and all that stuff. I didn't know anything about all that. I think it was a good learning process. It was good to learn more about my body. Being able to talk to people and compare and contrast different things.”
‘Trigga Trey' believes Jordan Hawkins and he should be in the conversation for the most lethal sharpshooting duo in the NBA, and for good reason. Murphy finished 19th in total 3-pointers made last season. CJ McCollum was 13th and Hawkins is sitting at 15th currently. Hawkins, a rookie, will have to sacrifice some minutes for the veteran but should have more space to operate when they share the floor. Everyone, even All-Stars Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, has more space when Murphy is hunting a shot. It's a well-earned respect for the Virginia alum.
Murphy was already muscling through Team USA's prep camp before the FIBA World Cup. That tournament wasn't the most memorable trip for Brandon Ingram, but Murphy had hit another milestone. He'd been in the gym, and weight room, for most of the offseason. The league was officially on notice. All expectations were that he'd make another developmental leap and help lead the Pelicans to another playoff berth. Then the injury occurred.
Mind-over-matter rehab approach impresses Pelicans
It was just another obstacle to overcome for a player who took the long road to NBA lottery pick status. Willie Green shared that Trey Murphy III has been “working his tail off.”
“Him and Coach Corey Brewer and the medical staff, we’ve been working to get him back. He’s been doing everything he’s supposed to do and more. He’s been itching to get on the floor. So it's great to have him back tonight. He looked pretty solid tonight for his first game, and it was fun. It’s a tough team. We knew that they were going to come out and play tough, especially in the first half, off of a back-to-back. Sometimes those games can be tough. We did what we needed to do in the second half to win the game. That’s the important part for us,” Green added.
When it comes to unlocking the Pelicans' championship potential around a Williamson-led core, Murphy was as much philosophical as tactical in describing how “our games aren’t very similar but it really works well together.”
“It's almost like a yin and yang type of situation. Guys have to hop off me in order to get to him, and if they hop off me, I’m going to get a three, and if they don’t hop off, then he gets a layup. Pick whatever poison you want, you’re probably gonna lose anyway,” Murphy further explained.
As for Monday's NBA In-Season Tournament Quarterfinal against the Sacramento Kings, well, it's a perfect gimmick for bold predictions. Murphy III would not speculate, but he said he is “super excited” about it.
“This is going to be a test for (the Pelicans). It is going to show what we are made of. Also, we're getting really close to full strength now so I really think this team can go far and that this playoff atmosphere will help us down the road, later on in the season and the playoffs,” the Pelicans youngster shared.
After a 20-game hiatus to start his third season, Murphy III's also got a body better built for the long grind of a playoff run. Knowing how to better use those talents will push him closer towards NBA All-Star status. It also boosts the NBA Finals odds of the Pelicans substantially.