The first stretch four the Bulls have had under Thibodeau, Murphy’s long-range shooting ability—as well as his favorable rookie contract, being a second-round draft pick—are what make him a virtual lock to be on the regular-season roster. But the development of other, weaker aspects of his game is what will eventually get him on the court.
The son of a former NBA player — Jay Murphy, who played in Thibodeau’s native New England; one of the younger Murphy’s representatives is Massachusetts-based Frank Catapano, who helped Thibodeau get his first NBA job with the then-expansion Minnesota Timberwolves, under the late Bill Musselman — Noah’s fellow Florida product not only impressed in summer-league play with his toughness (breaking his nose and playing through it), but upon his return to Chicago, arriving at the Berto Center in excellent shape.
Murphy, not the most explosive athlete, still has a ways to go as both a rebounder and defender, which are essential, at least in terms of effort, to playing for the Bulls, but his work ethic and outside marksmanship, where he’ll make his money in the league, aren’t a question thus far. Because of his unique skill set, it’s feasible to envision him earning a role in time, if not as a rookie.
Make sure to check out all the Bulls previews, each spotlighting this season's expectations for individual players and head coach Tom Thibodeau: