The NBA Draft is 23 days away and pre-draft workouts have begun. The last time we did a mock draft roundup, Kentucky Center Willie Cauley-Stein was almost unanimously selected for the Sacramento Kings. While there's a bit more shakeup this time around as various sites have shaken up their order, it still appears that Cauley-Stein is a favorite to go to Sacramento should he be available.
After the first five picks are off the board, things will start to get interesting. Five of the next six teams in the draft -- the Kings, Pistons, Hornets, Heat and Pacers -- all have playoff aspirations next season and if the right offer comes along, these picks can definitely be had. Should the Kings keep this pick, their choices will likely be between Cauley-Stein, Winslow, Hezonja and, if he somehow slides, Mudiay. Cauley-Stein is the overwhelming favorite in Sacramento. The Kings desperately need rim protection and Cauley-Stein is the best defender in the draft. Winslow, Porzingis and Myles Turner are also possibilities if they are on the board at this point.
The bold emphasis in Ford's explanation is mine. Whether Ford has actual sources within Sacramento's organization or not, Cauley-Stein makes a whole lot of sense for Sacramento. Trill is both one of the more seasoned players in the draft and a great fit next to Sacramento's high usage players like DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay. The Kings have been trying to find a long-term partner for DeMarcus Cousins for a while now, and Cauley-Stein could be that guy. While he doesn't provide floor spacing, he does provide defense, athleticism and can also be useful as a pick and roll finisher on offense.
For what it's worth, Cauley-Stein has been reportedly working on his jumper heavily this offseason in preparation for the draft and he's known as a hard worker in general. He improved his Free Throw Percentage from 37.2% as a college Freshman to 61.7% last year as a Junior. That's still not a great number but it's a remarkable improvement in the span of two years and with more work that number can grow even more respectable.
While Cauley-Stein might indeed be the player Sacramento hopes to land later this June, there's no guarantee that he'll even be available when the Kings pick. The New York Knicks are reportedly looking hard at him as a possible selection for the 4th pick, and DraftExpress currently has the Orlando Magic taking him with the 5th pick with Emmanuel Mudiay sliding to the Kings.