While neither Jordan Murphy nor Amir Coffey saw their dream of getting drafted in the NBA become a reality, both have found homes on NBA teams, hoping to earn a roster spot the hard way.
Murphy and Coffey both had the opportunity to showcase their abilities over the weekend, with Murphy debuting for the hometown Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night and Coffey playing for the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.
Murphy and the Wolves have begun the summer 3-0 start with wins over the Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers and the Milwaukee Bucks. Murphy has averaged almost 13 minutes per game through the three games thus far, scoring 6.3 points per game on 6-16 shooting total over the span. Murphy played his best game on Monday night, scoring 10 points and grabbing four rebounds.
The Clippers have gotten off to a 1-1 start, with Coffey playing significant minutes in both games so far. Coffey is averaging 12.5 points per game and has been a top contributor for the Clippers this summer. Coffey is shooting 33 percent from the field in his two games, a number that likely will need to continue to climb to find a steady roster spot in the NBA.
While Coffey has struggled with his shot, his length and ability to drive to the basket earned him a two-way contract with the Clippers on July 9.
Murphy emphasized the need to adapt his game to the different style in the NBA, one that values the 3-point shot over the patented bully ball Murphy played in college. He has attempted a 3-point shot in each game, but has only converted on 1-4 thus far.
“I think I’m way ahead of where I should be,” Murphy said about his outside shot on July 1 after his first practice in a Timberwolves uniform. “Obviously I have a lot of confidence in it in my game right now.”
Murphy spent early mornings and late nights in the gym to elevate his game in hopes of making the roster. During that first practice, Murphy spent time defending on both the perimeter and in the paint, something that he will need to do much more often in the NBA than he did in college.
Murphy is confident not only in himself but his team as they continue to play in the Summer League. Along with Murphy and several other undrafted free agents, second-round pick Jaylen Nowell and current NBA players Josh Okogie and Keita Bates-Diop are on the roster.
“I think we have a really talented group,” Murphy said. “We’ve got some NBA players on our team and some guys that could make rosters elsewhere.”
Murphy and the Timberwolves are back in action at 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 10 against the Miami Heat. After playing the Washington Wizards on Tuesday night, Coffey and the Clippers play again on Thursday, July 11 against the Sacramento Kings.