The knock on Troy Murphy coming out of Notre Dame was that he was limited athletically, but four years into his Warriors career the stats tell a rare tale of brawn and skill: At week's end the 6'11", 245-pound power forward ranked fifth in the league in rebounding (10.9 per game) and second in three-point accuracy (47.9%). The rebounds come as no surprise--his knack for double doubles earned him a six-year, $58 million extension from Golden State last summer--but the three-pointers have been two years in the works. "I tried them my rookie year, but I shot mostly with my arms," says Murphy, who was 11 for 40 from beyond the arc during his first three seasons. "You have to really work on your legs and do a little half-squat to get the ball up in the air."
While Murphy was averaging a career-high 16.1 points through Sunday, he has yet to regain his explosiveness in the paint after missing 54 games last year with right foot and ankle injuries. He has compensated by hitting 23 of 48 threes, mainly while trailing on the fast break. Next year he's hoping to incorporate the long ball into his half-court game, up-faking to set up dribble-drives to the basket a la Dirk Nowitzki. But Murphy doesn't want to forget that he's in the NBA primarily to bang and board. "I try to add a new thing every summer," he says. "But I definitely don't want to be somebody who falls in love with shooting threes."