With Vlade Divac and the Kings reportedly "more than willing to move back into the teens" of Thursday's NBA Draft if they can get a proven player in the deal, it seems prudent to spend the last days before the Draft reviewing some of the prospects in the mid-to-late First Round selections. If I didn't get to your favorite prospect, feel free to educate in the comments:
PF Bobby Portis, Arkansas
Stats: 17.5 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 1.4 BPG, 53.6% FG, 73.7% FT, 46.7% 3P
A well-rounded, versatile bruiser of a PF with an exceptional motor, Portis has an all-around solid offensive game with decent post skills and range out to the three point line. He's also a capable defender and an above average rebounder (13.9 offensive rebounding rate, and 11.9 total boards per 40 minutes against a very tough conference). For fans who want Kenneth Faried, Portis fits that high-energy, always-fighting role, and with his great size, solid athleticism and well-rounded skills, he could be the long-term PF the Kings have been searching for.
PF Trey Lyles, Kentucky
Stats: 8.7 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 48.8% FG, 73.5% FT
Lyles had an up-and-down scoring season for the Wildcats, but was the teams' unheralded glue guy and agreed to switch from his natural PF position to playing against SFs on most nights so the team could play him alongside Karl Anthony-Towns and Willie Cauley Stein. He made the switch work on offense thanks to his great mid-range jumper (52.1% of his offense was on two point jumpers, and he made near 40% of them), but he also has some more advanced post moves that weren't utilized much in Kentucky. He's a smart defender, and with his length and solid athleticism he was able to stay with most of his smaller opponents. His 5.2 RPG isn't what you want to see in a PF, but again he was playing with two bigger rebounders clogging the paint. Lyles is a versatile, smart big man who will fit in well as a new-age stretch four. For Kings fans who have wanted Ryan Anderson (or at least a higher ceiling version of Patrick Patterson), Lyles could be that guy.
PF Kevon Looney, UCLA
Stats: 11.6 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 1.4 APG, .9 BPG, 47% FG, 62.6% FT, 41.5% 3P
Looney flashed some huge potential early in the season at UCLA and was hyped as a possible top-10 pick, but cooled off after mid-January. He is a bit of a tweener and is slightly below the idea PF size, but makes up for it with a 7'3.5 wingspan and above-average quickness and athleticism. His offensive game is balanced but inconsistent, with his biggest strength being his fiery determination on the offensive glass (12.9% offensive rebounding rate) and putbacks. He needs to improve his mid-range the most, with a paultry 25.7% two point jumper success according to hoops-math.com.
He'll also be exposed defensively at the NBA level against both SFs and PFs until he hits the weight room (currently listed at 222 pounds), but his length and quickness could help him become a solid defender in the long run. If Looney develops his offensive game like many hope, he could be considered the big steal of the class, but I personally don't see stardom in him.
PG Jerian Grant, Notre Dame
Stats: 16.5 PPG, 6.7 APG, 47.8% FG, 78% FT, 31.6% 3P, 33.6% Assist Rate
After missing most of his junior redshirt year, Grant led Notre Dame on a stunning Elite Eight run this season that barely came short against the powerhouse Kentucky squad that outmatched the Irish at every position aside from point guard. Grant has excellent size for the point, and was a stellar floor general with a 6.7 APG average and a 33.6% assist rate. He's also a smart defender, and shows good instincts on both ends of the court, but he's an inconsistent longrange shooter who shot just 31.6% from three this season. He's also older than most of the class at 22 years old. Grant offers much as a playmaker, but questions about his own offensive skills keep him from reaching the same draft tier as Cameron Payne.
SF Sam Dekker, Wisconsin
Stats: 13.9 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 52.5% FG, 70.8% FT, 33.1% 3P
A solid season turned into an excellent NCAA tournament run, where Dekker averaged 19.1 PPG and 5.5 rebounds a game. Dekker has good range on his jumpshot, plays with swagger, and has a good combination of NBA size, athleticism and court awareness. He's added on weight over the past year and no longer can be pushed around as easily as he once was, but he'll still need to bulk up to handle NBA small forwards. Dekker lacks the shooting consistency and ability to create his own shot that you look for in a top offensive option, but he's a well-rounded talent who should be an excellent role player/top bench player.
SG Devin Booker, Kentucky
Stats: 10 PPG, 2 RPG, 1.1 APG, 47% FG, 82.8% FT, 41.1% 3P
Booker is arguably the classes best shooter, and while he was more limited than most great shooters due to Kentucky's role heavy system (as was any Wildcat player), teams will love his excellent range, above-average court awareness and solid defensive instincts. He'll need to add more muscle, and he's not an exceptionally explosive player, but shooters with his consistent mechanics feel for the game will always find a place in the NBA. He seems an unlikely pick for the Kings regardless of draft spot, given the Kings last two 1st round selections.
SF Kelly Oubre, Kansas
Stats: 9.3% PPG, 5 RPG, 44.4% FG, 71.8% FT, 35.8% 3P
A smooth and athletically gifted wingman who came into the year with high expectations but proved much rawer than expected. He's got a well-rounded foundation, with a developing jumpshot, impressive rebounding numbers for his size (19.2% defensive rebounding rate) and promising defensive abilities, but he's a project player who won't make an immediate impact in the NBA. Seems much more likely that the Kings would opt for a more proven wing if they traded back, likely with either Dekker or the next player on this list.
SF Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Arizona
Stats: 11.2 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.2 SPG, 50.2% FG, 70.7% FT, 20.7 3P
A below average scoring talent with serious upside as a defensive stud, Hollis-Jefferson was the tough glue player that held Arizona together. He's one of the best defensive players in the class, with excellent size (6'7, 7'2 wingspan), athleticism (38 max vertical) and determination to lock down his man. His jumpshot is a liability at this stage in his development, but he attacks the basket hard and will thrill fans with his hustle plays. His grit, determination and defensive abilities would all be great adds for the Kings, but his inability to create any offensive pressure is worrying.
PG Delon Wright, Utah
Stats: 14.5 PPG, 5.1 APG, 4.9 RPG, 2.1 SG, 50.9% FG, 83.6% FT, 35.6% 3P
Like Grant, Wright is a tall, older PG (23 years old) who finished his career with great scoring totals and passing success (33% assist rate). Also like Grant, he's a below-average shooter, completing on only 38 out of 126 threes in his two years at Utah. His entire shooting repertoire is concerning for a player at his stage in development, but he's an otherwise complete player, with great court vision and excellent defense skills.
PF Christian Wood, UNLV
Stats: 15.7 PPG, 10 RPG, 2.7 BPG, 56.3% FG, 73.6% FT, 28.4% 3P
Wood is my personal favorite late First Round selection, and I'm honestly surprised at how little attention he has been getting. He's absurdly skinny at 220 pounds, but he has an excellent 7'3 wingspan and is very quick and fluid for his size. Wood doesn't have a large array of post moves, but had a lot of success attacking the basket with his size and length, completing 65.0% of his shots at the rim while ALSO shooting 44.8% on two point jumpers, according to hoop-math.com. Wood was determined to add a three point shot to his game, but while he shot 2.7 a contest, he only connected on 28.4% for the season.
Most intriguing about Wood's game is his 2.7 blocks a contest and an 8.2% block rate; with his developing offensive range, solid rebounding ability (22.6% defensive rate), AND success as a blocker, Wood could reach total Unicorn status. He needs to bulk up significantly to handle the NBA game, but I'm surprised an athletic, lengthy prospect like Wood isn't getting more hype. He's my vote for the steal of the draft.