One year after his own draft night, the New Orleans forward played the role of reporter as the next generation of NBA rookies filed into the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
While every other news outlet under the sun sent journalists to interview the top NBA Draft prospects on the red carpet at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on June 23, Complex took a different route — they sent New Orleans Pelicans forward Trey Murphy III to interview this year’s new draftees.
The 22-year-old had just finished his rookie season in the league, and Complex asked his agents at Excel Sports Management about doing something at the draft. The aspiring broadcaster and podcaster was happy to do it.
“Seeing what Draymond [Green], CJ [McCollum], and JJ Redick are doing is showing me something I really want to do,” he told Boardroom. “I feel like I can speak well, I’m knowledgable, and I’d get to talk about the game I love. I feel like I need to get some more stripes under my belt before I do a podcast, but it’s definitely something I’m looking forward to in the future.”
The 17th pick in 2021 out of the University of Virginia wasn’t invited to the green room, so he had to show out a little with an Alexander McQueen harness and a Dior tie with a Rolex Sky-Dweller watch.
“I definitely wanted to keep it a little more simple,” he said. “I didn’t want to outshine the draftees on their night. I wasn’t going to be selfish like that.”
Rather, it was the rising rookies who insisted they were more than ready to shine right away — per Murphy, his hardest-hitting question was whether the prospect could beat him one on one.
“There were 13 cappers,” he said, “13 people that said they’d beat me.”
His rookie season had more than its share of ups and downs, playing 62 regular season games and starting just once while being sent down to the Pelicans’ G League affiliate in Birmingham along the way. The biggest thing Murphy learned was how to stay consistent and maintain a strong work ethic, and those reps down in Alabama were ultimately important to his development while keeping his mindset the same. He learned a lot from New Orleans player development assistant and 13-year NBA veteran Corey Brewer and star teammate Brandon Ingram.
“Eventually, I played a lot better at the end of the year and it was very gratifying.”
Murphy ended up being an important bench piece in the Pelicans’ six-game first round playoff loss to the Phoenix Suns, playing 20 minutes per game and hitting nine of his 19 3-point attempts.
“I can’t even put into words how excited I was about the playoffs and was grateful to be there,” he said.
As Murphy develops, so will his team. With Ingram leading the charge and McCollum there for a full season along with Jonas Valanciunas and cult favorites like Herb Jones and Jose Alvarado, the Pels will look even tougher with a healthy Zion Williamson added into the fold.
“That’s a generational talent,” Murphy said. “So really excited to have him out there.”