Draft Express updated their mock draft on Tuesday, and the latest version included some major shakeups within the lottery.
They are the first reputable draft source to slot Emmanual Mudiay for the Kings 6th pick, and this is the first instance of Mudiay sliding out of that ‘top-4’ he’s been in for most of the season.
Via Draft Express -
The Kings would likely be thrilled to see a talent like Mudiay, considered a top-3 pick for most of the season, at this stage in the draft. While Darren Collison has done an admiral job at the point, it's difficult to see him as a starter on a playoff team in the loaded Western conference. Collison and Mudiay can play together regardless, and George Karl can finally start to in-still his fast paced, up-tempo offense with a big, strong athlete like Mudiay running the show. Defensively, the Kings could sorely use a long-armed athlete like Mudiay at the point of attack.
I’m sure someone, somewhere has created a better term for what I’m about to describe, but for our purposes here, I’ll just refer to it as the ‘drop’ spot.
What is the ‘drop’ spot? You’ll see draft specialists like Chad Ford or Jonathan Givony frequently reference a players draft floor. They are essentially predicting a spot in the draft that a certain player won’t drop past, because that team either loves that player, or because that player is the best player available by an obvious margin.
The Kings have been here before.
I would have liked to use old Draft Express mock draft versions for this exercise, but unless I’m missing them, I couldn’t find their archives anywhere. Instead, I’ll have to introduce all of you to my memory, please be nice.
For most of 2010, John Wall, Evan Turner, Derrick Favors, and DeMarcus Cousins were the consensus four best prospects in that draft class. The Kings had the 5th pick, the ‘drop’ spot, and when the Minnesota Timberwolves selected Wesley Johnson 4th overall, you knew what the Kings were going to do next. I’ve always had a hard time giving Geoff Petrie too much credit for selecting Cousins, because that pick was a no brainer.
The Kings were in a similar position for the 2012 draft. Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Bradley Beal, and Thomas Robinson made up the consensus top-4, and the Kings were once again selecting 5th. The Cavaliers shockingly selected Dion Waiters 4th, and Thomas Robinson dropped to the Kings. That one didn’t work out so well.
In 2013, I didn’t even consider Ben McLemore as an option for the Kings. Everyone had him ranked inside of the top-5, if not higher. Despite the fact that the Kings had control over Tyreke Evans’ free agency, and still had Marcus Thornton under contract, the Kings selected McLemore anyway, because he wasn’t supposed to be there.
Am I simplifying how some of this played out? Certainly. The larger point is that the Kings have a history of making the ‘safe’ selection, and the results are mixed.
Now that I think about it, ‘stop’ spot might be the more appropriate term. The Kings are habitual slide stoppers. If a prospect unexpectedly slides to their draft position, they've taken that prospect more often than not. You don't slide past the Kings.
This has been a four-prospect draft since March. Karl-Anthony Towns, Jahlil Okafor, D’Angelo Russell, and Emmanual Mudiay. Technically, the Orlando Magic are probably in the ‘drop’ spot this year selecting 5th, but they just drafted Elfrid Payton last year and Victor Oladipo in 2013. It’d be hard to justify selecting Mudiay, but stranger things have happened. ‘Drop’ spot, ‘Stop’ spot, I’ll keep workshopping this, and report back.
What good does history serve when an organization has gone through as much ownership, coaching, and front office turnover as the Kings have since Rick Adelman was fired in 2006? That’s a valid question. Maybe this means nothing other than a way to contextualize how I’d feel about hearing Emmanual Mudiay’s name called when the Kings are making their selection on June 25th.
As soon as the draft order was set, I mentally removed Mudiay from my radar. Part of that was relieving. If the Chinese Basketball Association had a league pass, I’d probably buy it, but they don’t, and I didn’t, so any opinion I have on Mudiay is going to be heavily influenced by reading what others think of him, and whatever nonsense I can find on YouTube.
Watch this and tell me you don't feel at least 2% better about Mudiay afterwards. Be honest.
See? YouTube is dangerous.
We’ll see how things play out, but I had a very familiar feeling when I saw Draft Express predict Mudiay to the Kings. He’s not someone I’ve spent the better part of the last month looking at, and he’s not someone I am particularly fond of considering what second and third hand opinions of him I’ve read, but I am expecting it to take me less than 30 minutes after the Kings select him to jump completely on board.
That’s how this usually goes, right?