3 Underrated Blazers who could make a massive impact this season

Matisse Thybulle, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Amanda Loman/Getty Images)
Matisse Thybulle, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Amanda Loman/Getty Images) /
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Kris Murray could play an underrated role for the Blazers this season.
Kris Murray, Portland Trail Blazers, Credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

Underrated Blazer No. 2: Kris Murray

Murray’s draft scouting report pointed to a player ready to step into an NBA role right away. The fact that the Blazers were still entertaining the idea of taking a win-now approach around Lillard is part of the reason general manager Joe Cronin went for a projected sure thing rather than a raw player with upside.

Murray is a 23-year-old combo forward who spent three seasons playing in the Big Ten at the University of Iowa. He averaged more than 20 points a game on 57 percent true shooting during his junior year to go along with 7.9 rebounds and 1.2 blocks a night.

At 6-foot-8 and 213 pounds with a 7-foot wingspan, the Cedar Rapids, Iowa native has an NBA-ready body to go along with multiple seasons in one of the most difficult and physical conferences in college basketball.

In his 2023 NBA Draft Guide, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer described Murray as a “Low-maintenance scorer who doesn’t need touches to exert great effort…Knockdown spot-up 3-point shooter…Does all the little things well…Kris will be a plug-and-play contributor.”

For a Blazers team that should get its young, inexperienced players major minutes this season, Murray could be end up playing a key role as one of the “old” and “experienced” players from that group.