This is the third of a five part series in which I analyze the 2016 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 for international leagues, 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.
While the Kings have actually had some real depth at Small Forward for the first time in years since Rudy Gay and Omri Casspi joined the team, it might not be all too long before Kings fans are asking once again "but can he play SF?". Rudy had a miserable year with the Kings last season and will be able to enter free agency after next season (if he isn't traded before then) and while Omri Casspi improved, he'll also be a free agent in a year and probably looking at a big raise.
As such, it might be wise for the Kings to start looking towards the future when it comes to the Small Forward position. There are a couple of absolutely top-flight prospects at the position in this draft but unfortunately they'll be well gone by the time the Kings pick. Still there are other quality players to be had in the first round and the lottery, and the Kings need all the help on the perimeter they can get.
|Ben Simmons||Fr.||34.9||19.2||.560||.333 (1/3)||.670||11.8||4.8||2.0||0.8||3.4||3.2|
|Brandon Ingram||Fr.||34.6||17.3||.442||.410 (80/195)||.682||6.8||2.0||1.1||1.4||2.0||2.1|
|Jaylen Brown||Fr.||27.6||14.6||.431||.294 (30/102)||.654||5.4||2.0||0.8||0.6||3.1||3.2|
|Taurean Prince||Sr.||30.6||15.9||.432||.361 (53/147)||.774||6.1||2.3||1.3||0.7||2.7||2.5|
|DeAndre Bembry||Jr.||37.3||17.4||.479||.266 (34/128)||.657||7.8||4.5||1.4||0.8||2.0||2.4|
|Jake Layman||Sr.||30.9||11.6||.500||.396 (57/144)||.832||5.3||1.1||1.1||1.0||1.7||1.9|
|Dorian Finney-Smith||Sr.||31.8||14.7||.436||.366 (71/194)||.733||8.3||2.1||0.9||0.8||1.9||2.2|
|Jarrod Uthoff||Sr.||30.8||18.9||.448||.382 (66/173)||.813||6.3||1.1||1.0||2.5||1.2||1.5|
|Damion Lee||Sr.||33.6||15.9||.428||.341 (61/179)||.843||3.9||2.0||1.5||0.0||1.7||2.1|
|Georges Niang||Sr.||33.2||20.5||.546||.392 (56/143)||.807||6.2||3.3||0.9||0.6||2.6||3.2|
|Derrick Jones||Fr.||21.5||11.5||.589||.205 (8/39)||.594||4.5||0.8||0.9||1.3||1.2||3.1|
|James Webb III||Jr.||30.5||15.8||.494||.248 (27/109)||.684||9.1||1.1||1.4||0.6||1.6||3.0|
|Troy Williams||Jr.||26.2||13.3||.513||.347 (26/75)||.691||5.8||2.0||1.1||0.8||2.7||2.2|
|Elgin Cook||Sr.||31.9||14.8||.472||.333 (21/63)||.773||5.1||2.3||1.4||0.3||2.1||2.8|
|Alex Poythress||Sr.||23.6||10.2||.601||.304 (7/23)||.706||6.0||0.3||0.6||0.7||1.2||3.6|
|Brannen Greene||Jr.||12.4||5.4||.524||.492 (31/63)||.840||2.1||0.8||0.3||0.0||0.9||1.1|
|James Webb III||24.5||.565||.441||9.2%||27.0%||7.7%||2.6%||2.5%||10.2%||25.4%||115.5||94.2||115th|
I voted for Brandon Ingram with the #1 pick in our Sactown Royalty Community Mock Draft Board but after spending an hour picking up the remnants of my jaw looking at Ben Simmons' numbers, I think I've made a mistake. I don't think I've seen numbers like this for a wing prospect since I've started blogging, and that includes the much hyped Andrew Wiggins. Simmons not only has crazy size and athleticism for a Small Forward, he's also got a ton of skill. He rebounds better than almost all his peers on both ends of the court, he gets to the line so much that he almost averages as many FTA as FGA. To top all of that off he's also got the Assist Rate of a Point Guard and the highest steal rate of any wing player in the draft. And he's only 19! Of course, Simmons isn't without his flaws, and I think it's fair to point out that for all his numbers his team didn't necessarily win much and didn't even make the NCAA tournament. However when you look at who his teammates were, that's not a huge surprise, as that LSU team might not have another NBA quality player on their entire roster.
Simmons' biggest flaw is clearly his shooting, as he spent almost no time on the perimeter last year and suffered when teams backed off of him and forced him to shoot jumpers. The NBA is definitely a league in which having a reliable shot is incredibly important, but Simmons does so many other things well that it's not hugely important that he can't shoot right now as that can definitely develop. If Simmons actually had a reliable shot, he'd probably be one of the most hyped draft prospects in history, and there'd be absolutely no questions about him being the #1 pick like there are now. Still, I'll be pretty shocked if the 76ers don't select him next Thursday.
Ingram is a lot more specialized than Simmons. He also has some great size and length for his position, but he's more of a shooter and scorer than Simmons is. Ingram spends more time on the perimeter than most of his peers, in large part because he was so efficient out there, hitting 41% of his 195 three point attempts. That's a skill that should instantly translate in the NBA. However, he'll definitely need to get much stronger and more aggressive in the NBA. His Free Throw rate is pretty low, partly because of how much time he spends on the outside, but also because he doesn't have the strength to really attack the basket and take contact right now.
Of course, the Kings don't really have a shot at adding either Simmons or Ingram to their roster unless they traded DeMarcus Cousins, but there are still guys they do have a shot at. The next highest rated wing is Cal's Jaylen Brown. I'm not really a fan of Brown personally, although I know there are a lot of people here who are. The numbers don't exactly stand out for Brown either. He was an inefficient scorer both in the paint and from range. He did get to the line quite a bit but only made 65% of his attempts, not a great number for a wing player. He does possess some passing instinct with a decent assist rate, but he also was rather turnover prone. His 31.4% usage rate in College is also a little alarming, but he was tasked with being a large part of Cal's offense. How Brown would handle a smaller role on a team like the Kings would be interesting, and perhaps he could become more efficient if he wasn't the sole focus of other team's defenses. He's also got good physical tools on defense and possesses enough ballhandling skills that he could probably spend some time at Shooting Guard as well. I wouldn't be surprised to see Brown's name called for the Kings on draft night, but I do think he'll be more of a project than someone that's ready to contribute in the here and now.
Baylor's Taurean Prince would probably be a bit of a reach for the Kings at the 8th spot, but he's the kind of 3-and-D player the Kings could look at if they traded a little bit further down in the first round. Prince took more of an offensive role with Baylor last year as a senior and it hurt his overall efficiency, but that should go up in a more focused role in the NBA. Prince possesses the size and skill to both guard and play multiple positions in the NBA and will likely make a great roleplayer, either as a starter or off the bench. He reminds me a little bit of Boston's Jae Crowder, although I think Crowder is a more gifted scorer.
Like Prince, DeAndre Bembry also looks like a solid roleplayer. The biggest thing Bembry has going for him is his ability to make smart plays for others with a 24.1% assist rate and a comparatively low 11.2% turnover rate. Bembry needs to become more consistent as a jump shooter however. While he shot a lot of threes last season, he didn't hit them at a high rate, and that will limit his effectiveness in the NBA.
Jarrod Uthoff has some weird stats for a wing prospect. His shooting efficiency is pretty good but he's also got the highest block rate among all wings by a long shot and even more so than most Power Forwards and Centers in this draft. That's not a fluke either as Uthoff's block rate was above 6% in both his Freshman and Sophomore years as well. He could be interesting as a small-ball 4 off the bench if he can translate that rim protection to the NBA.
I feel like I've seen Alex Poythress' name a lot over the last few years of doing draft research, and looking at his Mock Draft history on DraftExpress, I can see that he was once projected to go as high as 7th back in 2012, and it's been all downhill ever since. It's not that Poythress doesn't possess skill, but he's a one-dimensional player that also suffered from an ACL injury back in his junior year. What really alarms me about Poythress is his 2.5% assist rate. When I first saw that I thought I had a typo in my stats but I went back and checked and it really is that low. At this point, I think Poythress' ultimate ceiling is someone like Carl Landry, an undersized PF who will have to make a name for himself as a bench scorer and scrappy player on defense.
Finally, Brannen Greene can sure shoot the ball. It seems like that was all he was asked to do and he did a fairly good job of it if you call 74.7% True Shooting Percentage fairly good. He won't get drafted but man I would have liked to see someone like that in the now defunct Reno Bighorns' Grinell system.
Coming tomorrow: Shooting Guards