First fanpost here. Despite the cards that the Kings have been dealt, Geoff Petrie is still in one of the best positions he‘s been at in a long time as far as improving this team. Although there are holes everywhere, I think the biggest complaint with our Kings team has been the defense. Through the use of the later round picks, the team should specifically seek to improve the perimeter defense (there's already enough talk about the fourth pick) .
I'm going to draw from a quote in Pete Carril's book, "Take from the Strong", to bolster my argument:
"Use your assets: You have to take advantage of what you have. Marilyn Monroe and Sophia Loren did that, and we do it, too. If you have a fast team and you don't run, you're being stupid. And if you have a slow team, you must take the run out of the game."
I know the quote doesn't directly relate to defense, but hear me out: this Kings team is an offensive minded team any way you look at it. I know that people have been calling for a defensive minded coach, but I feel like the Kings can't improve upon their defense until they add the "assets" of defensive minded personnel. Hawes shows he wants to play defense, but he's not the best help defender at the moment when there's a breakdown in the perimeter. Add to that the fact that Beno and Cisco aren't exactly the quickest players at their positions.
If there is anything to learn from watching the Rockets play D for Rick Adelman, it's that all he needed was the defensive minded personnel to show he can teach defense; guys who have it in them to play defense. In another quote from his book , Carril put it best (with my emphasis on certain things):
Defense is not a variable. It's a constant. Defense has to be deeply embedded in your attitude. It's something you can do well every time -- both the individual and the team. Skill is a variable. Work is not a variable. It's an attitude. Defense is head, heart, and legs.
So my focus will be on players with defense in their attitudes. Now because of Petrie's fondness for players with the ability to shoot, I decided to pick defensive players who also have the ability to shoot the ball well. That way we can have the best of both worlds, and Petrie is happy. These are guys that, I feel, can also step in and help improve the team right away (not drastically, but every bit helps).
With the 23rd pick, I picked number twenty three for Pitt, Sam Young: he provides toughness, defense, and athleticism, which are all lacking on our team right now. Specifically, his athleticism can improve our rebounding at the small forward position, as he's a very good rebounder at his position with 6.3 rebounds a game this season. He also gives us that potential defensive stopper that we lost in John Salmons, but Young seems stronger, more tough minded, and is just as athletic if not more; those same attributes will make him fun to watch on the fast break, as he's strong enough to finish through contact if there is any.
He's a very good shooter (specifically with the catch and shoot) and has a quick release, which helps to set up his drives to the basket as evident in the highlight clip here . Lastly, he can make big shots as shown in his impressive performance throughout the NCAA tournament. Overall, he was very consistent this season and in the NCAA tournament, which helps me to believe that his game will translate to the NBA right away. I think he's in a good position to continue making those big shots for this team, as he won't be a main option. He could even make an impact the way Courtney Lee has for the Magic. The way mock drafts appear right now, this would be my guy at 23 if he was available.
With the 31st pick, I would pick fellow number twenty three from Florida State , Toney Douglas. As the 2009 ACC defensive player of the year, he would be a great way to improve the perimeter defense (specifically at point guard). He has a good combination of strength, quick lateral movement, and toughness that can help to pressure the ball. I think the need is even more apparent when looking at the performances of Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose, and Aaron Brooks in the playoffs. Rondo wasn't even able to stop Rose from getting in the paint; now I love Rubio, but don't try and tell me it never crossed your mind that the worst case scenario would be Rubio unable to hold his own on the defensive end because of the quickness factor. I know it did for me (I'd still take him if we have the chance though). The NBA's future at point guard shows that speed kills, and I feel that the Kings need to prepare now in weathering that storm (especially while they still have the best chance to do so).
Like Young, Douglas is also a very good shooter as seen in the highlight video here: his shooting ability was highly touted recently by Draft Express, as his Points Per Possession were rated second best among all point guards. As can be seen in following videos, he can make the catch and shoot, pull up mid range with the floater or jump shot, and can even come off screens to make the jumper (which I like). I immediately thought of a slight comparison to Mike Bibby as far as how he gets his jumper off, while other comparisons I've heard include a defensive minded Jameer Nelson and Ben Gordon; the Ben Gordon comparison brings me to my next point, which is the question of whether Douglas is a point guard. I don't really think of this as a big deal, as I feel Garcia could have the ball handling duties off the bench while Douglas plays off the ball. Plus, we have one of the best assistants in basketball today as far as helping to develop a players skillset in Coachie. Hopefully he can help to develop Douglas's point guard skills even more so. Overall, I think that he can be the Mario Chalmers of the second round this year for us, and I hope that he's available.
And these are my choices; they've remained so for a little while now, and they were not going to change regardless of what pick we got. If we picked Griffin, Young would only enhance the rebounding and athleticism that Griffin would have added. If we picked Rubio, Douglas was insurance in case Rubio couldn't handle the speed of a point guard; if Evans and Jennings (or Beno) were not playing defense for a night, Douglas would be the antagonist.
Defense is what I focused upon, which is why I stayed away from a Nick Calathes who lacks the foot speed to possibly defend at the next level. I actually had Jerel McNeal as my second round pick earlier this year, but once I watched him, I didn't like his flat footed jump shot and his offensive skill set enough in spite of his good defense (he is a solid passer from what I saw). Omri Casspi was another guy I liked because of he's tough, athletic, and he runs the floor well; however I don't think he's ready with his current skillset and build , and I'd rather have the other guys I mentioned. I didn't really go for any bigs at these spots either because I think Petrie will look outside the draft to get them (Kyrylo Fesenko? I like Ike?).
Overall, I hope Petrie and company have taken a hard look at these guys and are strongly considering them. We may have potentially lost the chance at a star player in this years' draft, but that does not eliminate the chance we have at making the team fun to watch again. I know I'll still be here. Defense wins championships, right? You've got to start somewhere. And there's always next year (John Wall!).