Erik Murphy was selected by the Chicago Bulls with the No. 49 pick in Thursday night's 2013 NBA Draft, and it seems like he couldn't be happier to be heading to the Windy City and teaming with Joakim Noah.
Bulls baby!— Erik Murphy (@e_murphy33) June 28, 2013
Lauren Embree, Murphy's longtime girlfriend, was excited, too:
ERIK TO CHICAGO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So so happy for youuuuuuuuu!!!! Omg so happy for you babe!!!!!!!!!!!— Lauren Embree (@lembree888) June 28, 2013
And it makes sense for Murph to be excited: He's heading into a really good situation with the Bulls. Murphy told Only Gators' Adam Silverstein that he was somewhat surprised by the pick, because he hadn't worked out for Chicago, but explained that he was also closer to Noah than any other Gator he hadn't played with, and is excited for the opportunity.
Noah was also kind of happy:
Murph and turph!!!!!!!!— Joakim Noah (@JoakimNoah) June 28, 2013
Murphy was a deadly stretch four with an ability to step outside and rain threes in college, but he's going to need to be more than that to remain on an NBA roster. Fortunately for him, he's headed to a team that needs a player like him, and one that can camouflage some of his weaknesses. The Bulls are strong down low, with Noah, Carlos Boozer, and Taj Gibson often controlling the boards, but don't have a forward who can space the floor as a threat from beyond 18 feet. Murphy isn't a great rebounder or defender, and has below-average athleticism for an NBA big, but playing him with Noah or Boozer or Gibson allows Chicago to have a little of both worlds on the floor, and Murphy could be lethal from the corner in an drive-and-kick attack run by Derrick Rose.
Murphy is the 35th Florida player selected in the NBA Draft, the 16th Gator selected since Billy Donovan became Florida's head coach in 1996, and the 10th Gator taken since 2007.
Sadly, if expectedly, Kenny Boynton and Mike Rosario did not become the 36th and 37th Gators drafted on Thursday night. Concerns about size likely hurt both players, while worries about Boynton's shot and Rosario's athleticism probably also impacted scouts' projections for them. While both players might get a chance to catch on as undrafted free agents, it is more likely that they will both begin professional basketball careers outside the United States — and Rosario already has, helping the Ponce Leones to the best regular-season record in the Puerto Rican Baloncesto Superior Nacional as a shooter coming off the bench.
With just one player coming off the board in the 2013 NBA Draft, and doing so late in the second round, it's clear, once again, that Florida's 2012-13 success was accomplished largely without NBA-ready talent, which is testament both to Donovan's coaching, and to those players maximizing their talents on the collegiate level.
Given the NBA-ready talent on the way, Florida's future is looking even brighter than its brilliant last few years.