1) John Wall – I see him as a faster, much better defensive Derrick Rose and despite his lack of shooting would still risk playing Reke and him. Could be the best offensive and defensive backcourt in the league as they mature together. Superstars win championships and this is our best chance to have 2. Not worried about only having 1 ball – it worked for Jordan & Pippen (both 35% or less career 3pt), Shaq & Kobe, Drexler & Olajuwon, etc.
2) Derrick Favors – Used to be Turner for me, but that changed (see #3) and pairing a dominant big with a dominant small usually wins championships (Drex & Olajuwon, Kobe & Shaq, Billups & Wallace(s), Duncan & Ginobili, Pierce & KG, Kobe & Pau). For that reason, wish he could be #1, but Wall is much more of a sure thing.
3) Evan Turner – With his measurements and production, looks like Roy but without the 40’’ vertical (® NBArans). A very safe pick over Favors; however, not sure exactly what we would be getting with a poor man’s Roy. Still could be a great complement to Reke, but I’ll gamble that we can pick up a SG who gives us 80% of his production next year in the mid-lottery. If Favors sniffs his upside, there’s a much lower chance we find a big who can give us 80% of his production on both sides of the ball further down.
4) DeMarcus Cousins – Has the talent to be #2, but weight issues and legitimate questions about if he has the passion to reach is potential push him down. I am not too concerned about his character questions, but can easily see him being an up and down player you would not want to rely on as your #2 for a playoff series (think Bynum or Randolph).
5) Greg Monroe – Talented and tall enough to play center, which mitigates some of the athleticism concerns. His numbers were skewed downward by Georgetown’s slow pace. May not be the defensive shot blocker we want, but between Thompson, Hawes and Monroe there’s a good chance 2 develop into legit NBA bigs with one a starter. He also allows us to trade Landry for value and not risk overpaying him this summer.
6) Al-Faraq Aminu – A sheer potential pick with high bust potential. I’m actually hoping we don’t get him, but if we don’t trade down, 5 is a pick where you have to take a shot at a potential star. Aminu could certainly become another Gerald Wallace or Josh Smith, although he could also be another Julian Wright. At this point, I’d almost want us to trade down instead.
7) Wesley Johnson – Solid pick. Lowish upside. Will be 23 when the season starts, so will probably have a good rookie season, but I’m really unsure how much value we would be gaining over Casspi, Greene & Garcia. The fact that he came out of nowhere to have one good season at an older age scares me.
8) Daniel Orton – Some people probably just stopped reading, but this early before I have digested all the numbers, I’m going with my gut. Already a good defender with the size and wingspan to be a Center, he has the athleticism and potential to be a good offensive player too. He probably should have stayed in school another year, but while his offence is raw, he’s not raw in a Sene, Swift, Diop sense.
9) Xavier Henry – Agree with Smills. If we trade down, a good pick. Great shooter who can be a great defender. Will probably never be a player who can consistently break others down, but can be a better shooting Doug Christie.
10) Eric Bledsoe – Another boom or bust gamble from Kentucky. At this point I’ll risk it. Easily could be this year’s Westbrook. With a couple of good workouts and “he can really pass” stories, he’ll move up my board.
11) Hassan Whiteside – George and him are my late lottery upside picks. When in doubt, go for size. Really the last big I would even consider for the Kings.
12) Paul George – Upside, the smaller version. At this point, really hope we have traded back.
13 – Avery Bradley – Defense projects very well. Reke and him ravaging opposing backcourts is something to drool over.
14) Ekpe Udoh – Maybe too low, but not a fan of a older, poor rebounding, middling big. I just don’t see his game translating well to the NBA. Was a good system player for Butler, but I think the feel good story and shot blocking numbers are clouding people’s judgment.
15) Cole Aldrich – How many times were you watching games last year thinking the real piece the Kings were missing was a shorter Joel Przybilla? Um, yeah, me too. Almost guaranteed he drops off this list by draft time.