This is the first in a three part series in which I analyze the 2012 NBA Draft by position. As a source I used DraftExpress's mock draft and for statistics I used both DraftExpress and Sports-Reference. All statistics used are for the prior college basketball season. Because of the lack of advanced statistic information and difference in playstyle, I have only included NCAA players in this analysis. For information such as player position, school, height, etc. please click on the player's name and it will take you to their DraftExpress page with all that information.
If there are positions that the Kings have some decent depth at, both in terms of quality and quantity, it's in the backcourt. However that could change this summer as Tyreke Evans and Toney Douglas are Free Agents and if new ownership wants to make a big change, some of the most attractive trade assets on the team include Marcus Thornton, Isaiah Thomas and Jimmer Fredette.
Because of this great unknown, I am keeping a much more open mind to adding another guard through the draft as we really don't know what this team will look like under new management. For example, new management might want to eliminate some of the redundancy the Kings teams of the last few years have had in favor of more complementary pieces. The Kings have employed many guards whose talents are primarily the same thing: scoring. The Kings have not had a "traditional" Point Guard since Mike Bibby (and even he was used in a non-traditional way thanks to his excellent scoring prowess).
|Tim Hardaway Jr||34.8||14.5||0.437||0.374||0.694||4.7||2.4||0.7||0.4||1.9||1.9|
|Tim Hardaway Jr||17.7||0.538||0.24||0.8||14.8||13.0||1.2||1.4||12.2||23.7|
In terms of guards the Kings could select with the 7th pick, there are only 4 that really stand out: Ben McLemore, Trey Burke, C.J. McCollum, and Michael Carter-Williams.
Ben McLemore will likely be out of the picture by the time the Kings draft and will probably be gone by the time Orlando picks at #2. He's by far the most efficient scorer on this list, with an excellent True Shooting % of 63.3%. He projects to be a big time scorer in the NBA as well, where there will be improved spacing. McLemore will need to improve his own ball handling as well as creating his own shot. He has one of the lowest assist rates of any of the guards in the draft, and that's primarily because he spends a majority of his time playing off the ball.
Trey Burke on the other hand, spends most of the time with the ball in his hands, and saw most of his success because of it. Burke was named Player of the Year after leading Michigan all the way to the Final Four. He was Michigan's primary scoring threat but he was also a willing passer, as evidenced by his 37.3% Assist Rate. More impressive for how much time he had the ball in his hands is that his turnover rate is surprisingly low at just 11.9%. Burke actually reminds me a little bit of current Kings starting Point Guard Isaiah Thomas because he can score from anywhere, is devastating in the Pick and Roll, and is proven as a leader.
C.J. McCollum probably wouldn't be a top 10 pick in most drafts, but he probably is in this one. McCollum has been Lehigh's star for four years, and it shows with his absurd Usage Rate, which is by far the most of any other guard in the draft. To be fair, it should be noted that McCollum's statistics are skewed by the fact he played just 12 games this season due to a broken left foot. Still, there's no doubt McCollum has a knack for scoring while also being able to dish the ball. I liken him to Lou Williams or Jerryd Bayless.
Michael Carter-Williams is the best playmaker next to Pierre Jackson, but Carter-Williams has the added bonus of being much taller than most other Point Guards at 6'6. He's also probably one of the worst shooters in the draft. He makes up for his lack of offense by setting up those who can score, as well as poking lose the ball. His steal rate of 4.7% is top among all guards, and that was while playing Syracuse's vaunted zone defense. In the NBA he should be able to make use of his excellent size and athleticism to become a formidable individual defender. He will need to be paired with really good scorers though. I could foresee a pairing with him and Marcus Thornton working well.
There are a couple of other players that stick out to me, but not with the 7th pick. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope might have the coolest name in the draft, and he's also an intriguing Shooting Guard thanks to his mix of scoring ability and ability to crash the glass like a big man. Speaking of crashing the glass like a big man, Jamaal Franklin has a ridiculous rebounding rate for a 6'5, 191 lb. Shooting Guard. Franklin does most of his damage by getting to the rim or to the line, and still needs to work on his shot, but he's got a very interesting all-around game. Pierre Jackson is the best distributor in the draft, but he's even smaller than Isaiah Thomas. Phil Pressey is winner of the "stereotypical NBA Player Name from 1954" award.
Of course, there are a few European guard prospects that intrigue me, but we'll talk about those in a later post I will do on all the major international prospects in the draft.
Coming Tomorrow: Wings