Erik Murphy comes from a basketball family. His father Jay played in the NBA for the Los Angeles Clippers and Washington Bullets. His mother, Paivi played professionally in Finland. His brother, Alex is a redshirt sophomore at Duke. Erik Murphy knows the game of basketball.
It’s Murphy’s pedigree and shooting ability that made the Chicago Bulls select him with the 49th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. In his senior season at the University of Florida, Murphy had a field goal percentage of fifty-one while shooting 47% from three-point land. He’s a “Bulls” kind of guy.
Unfortunately, under Tom Thibodeau rookies don’t typically get much playing time. In the preseason Murphy had more fouls than points. In eight preseason games the former Florida Gator averaged 2.4 points, and 3.4 rebounds while shooting 24% from the field, 23% from three, and 50% from the free throw line.
For now Murphy is the twelfth man off the bench, but history has proven that if he works hard, he’ll be rewarded. Six-foot, ten-inch three-point shooters don’t exactly grow on trees.
SS: How’s your transition from college to the pros been so far?
Erik Murphy: It’s been good. It’s been a hard experience, obviously. It’s good to have another guy that’s a rookie with you, Tony [Snell]. You can go through it together and help each other out. It’s been a lot of fun.
SS: What’s been the toughest thing to pick up so far?
Erik Murphy: Just the system, learning all the new plays and adjusting to the quickness in which things are happening. I think I’m doing a good job and continuing to learn as I go. The same with Tony, I think we’ve been doing well.
SS: Is there a guy on the team playing the mentor role for you?
Erik Murphy: All the vets have been great. Everybody does their part and gives me the advice that they want to give me. All the vets have been really good with all of that.
SS: You had a bunch of games on the road before you actually came back to Chicago. Were you nervous when you had your first game at home?
Erik Murphy: Yeah we played a couple games on the road and went down to Brazil before we came back here. I wouldn’t say I was as nervous as I was excited. It’s a cool feeling to be in here and finally get to play in front of the home crowd.
SS: What was Brazil like?
Erik Murphy: Brazil was fun. We had a lot of obligations so we didn’t have too much free time to get out and see stuff but it was still an amazing experience to go down there and play in front of those fans. I’ve never been down there before and I’m sure it was the first time for a lot of the guys. Just to have the opportunity to go down there was amazing.
SS: What’s it like playing with D Rose?
Erik Murphy: He makes it pretty easy. He’s unbelievable. He’s a special player. He’s so good. The game comes so easy to him and he makes everyone around him better and that’s what you look for in a great player.
SS: For those that haven’t seen you play, what’s the best part of your game?
Erik Murphy: I think my ability to shoot the ball. I’ve been struggling a little bit shooting the ball but I’m not worried about it. It’s my biggest strength for sure. I’m always confident in my shot and I’m just going to continue to shoot when I’m open.
SS: Did Coach Thibs give you the green light to let it go?
Erik Murphy: He tells me when I’m open to shoot it, so.
SS: What part of your game do you need to improve most?
Erik Murphy: I think everything can improve. It’s not one specific part. I need to continue to get better in a lot of areas. I told you my biggest strength is shooting the ball and I can improve that, too. I’m going to try to improve in every area that I can.
SS: You’re playing with another Florida guy, what’s it like playing with Joakim?
Erik Murphy: It’s amazing. I’ve known him for a couple of years before this all happened through that Florida connection. He used to come back all the time in the summers so I developed a relationship with him. To end up on the same team as him is pretty cool. He’s a great guy and he works like none other. Everybody in here sees that and he gives off great energy all the time.
SS: I asked Tony what his rookie duties were, what are yours?
Erik Murphy: At the Berto practice facility, have some soap and shampoo in the shower. I make sure that’s all there and taken care of. Little things, if somebody asks for something I’ll do that but nothing crazy so far. It’s been pretty good so far but it’s real early still.