This is the fourth 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.
There's no doubt that by far the most disappointing position for the Kings last season was shooting guard. Ben McLemore failed to progress in any meaningful way in his third season, Marco Belinelli had the worst season of his career, and James Anderson was James Anderson.
The Kings could desperately use some help on the perimeter, as there were times that production from this position was so bad or nonexistent that it felt like the Kings were playing 4 on 5 on both ends of the floor. Fortunately, this draft does have quite a few promising shooting guards that could be available for the Kings at the 8th pick.
|Jamal Murray||Fr.||35.2||20.0||.454||.408 (113/277)||.783||5.2||2.2||1.0||0.3||2.3||2.1|
|Buddy Hield||Sr.||35.4||25.0||.501||.457 (147/322)||.880||5.7||2.0||1.1||0.5||3.1||2.1|
|Denzel Valentine||Sr.||33.0||19.2||.462||.444 (104/234)||.853||7.5||7.8||1.0||0.2||2.7||1.7|
|Malik Beasley||Fr.||29.8||15.6||.471||.387 (55/142)||.813||5.3||1.5||0.9||0.2||1.7||2.2|
|Patrick McCaw||So.||33.7||14.7||.465||.366 (68/186)||.774||5.1||3.9||2.5||0.4||2.1||2.2|
|Dejounte Murray||Fr.||33.5||16.1||.416||.288 (34/188)||.663||6.0||4.4||1.8||0.3||3.2||2.6|
|Malachi Richardson||Fr.||34.4||13.4||.370||.353 (79/224)||.720||4.3||2.1||1.1||0.3||2.1||2.5|
|Malcolm Brogdon||Sr.||34.1||18.2||.457||.391 (75/192)||.897||4.1||3.1||0.9||0.2||1.4||2.1|
|Caris LeVert||Sr.||30.9||16.5||.506||.446 (29/65)||.794||5.3||4.9||1.0||0.2||1.7||1.2|
|Wayne Selden||Jr.||29.8||13.8||.474||.392 (74/189)||.612||3.4||2.6||0.7||0.3||1.9||2|
|Michael Gbinije||Sr.||37.9||17.5||.461||.392 (91/232)||.663||4.1||4.3||1.9||0.4||2.8||2.6|
|Isaiah Whitehead||So.||32.3||18.2||.379||.365 (81/222)||.760||3.6||5.1||1.2||1.4||3.5||2.3|
|Sheldon McClellan||Sr.||32.9||16.3||.504||.406 (56/138)||.838||3.2||1.6||1.0||0.3||1.3||1.8|
|Isaiah Cousins||Sr.||33.3||12.6||.406||.411 (65/158)||.670||4.5||4.5||1.4||0.3||2.4||1.7|
|Tim Quarterman||Jr.||28.8||11.2||.415||.343 (48/140)||.632||4.6||3.6||1.0||0.4||1.6||2.4|
|Daniel Hamilton||So.||31.9||12.5||.387||.331 (47/142)||.860||8.9||4.7||1.1||0.4||2.4||1.8|
|Ron Baker||Sr.||31.6||14.0||.424||.350 (64/183)||.793||4.8||3.2||1.5||0.6||1.5||1.4|
|Alex Caruso||Sr.||28.8||8.1||.502||.368 (28/76)||.785||3.6||5.0||2.1||0.4||2.4||2.5|
Jamal Murry and Buddy Hield are arguably the two best shooting guards available in the entire draft. The likelihood that one of them will be available by the time the Kings pick at 8 is slim but there is still a chance, especially as there are a lot of unknowns in the draft once you get past the first two picks.
Murray might have been one of the most talented scorers in all of college basketball last season, averaging 20 points a game as an 18 year old while shooting 45.4% from the field and 40.8% from three. Murray did well both creating shots for himself and also playing off the ball. Like Murray, Hield was also an offensive dynamo, except to an even bigger degree (which should be unsurprising given he was a senior while Murray was a true freshman). Hield's scoring was even more impressive given that Oklahoma faced the 2nd toughest schedule in all of college basketball. That means that he was going up against some seriously tough competition that knew to key in on him and he still managed to put the ball in the bucket at an incredibly efficient rate. Hield hit a ridiculous number of three pointers last season, making 45.7% of a whopping 322 attempts. For reference, Jimmer Fredette hit 39.6% of 313 attempts in his senior year against much worse competition. Both Hield and Murray do little but provide scoring and shooting right now though. Both have had question marks on the defensive end in their collegiate career, and at least offensively, it will be interesting to see how Hield adjusts to a smaller role in the NBA, at least initially.
Denzel Valentine is considered among the best of the second tier of shooting guards in this draft. That might be a bit surprising when you look at the numbers as Valentine has some incredible statistics across the board. Like Murray and Hield, he's an excellent and efficient shooter, making 44.4% of his threes. He's also one of the better rebounding guards in the draft with a 21.2% defensive rebound rate but by far his greatest skill is his passing ability. Valentine essentially played the role of Point Guard last season and it's easy to see why, as his 45.8% assist rate is probably better than most of the Point Guards that will be drafted, and he combined it with a relatively low 14.8% turnover rate. So why isn't Valentine rated higher? It mainly has to due with his lack of athleticism and extremely poor defensive fundamentals. You can tell by his low free throw rate that he doesn't like to attack the basket all that much and avoids contact, and Michigan St. hid him on defense all year. Can the Kings afford to have another poor defensive perimeter player, especially one that doesn't project to get much better? I guess it would depend on how much you value the other things that Valentine provides and if you think those skills will translate to the NBA.
Those three guys are the ones I'm most interested in, but there are some other interesting prospects available as well. Malcolm Brogdon probably deserves a look in the second round or even the late first, as he put together some outstanding numbers against the toughest competition in basketball. To top it all of he's a good defender as well and also possesses an incredibly low turnover rate for a guard, a sign that he doesn't make too many bad decisions. Daniel Hamilton is essentially a poor man's Denzel Valentine right down to the excellent rebounding and passing and low free throw rate. Dejounte Murray is the rare prospect who actually has a negative net rating, meaning his team did better when he was off the floor. I'm not sure why he's rated as high as he is, but he does possess good size for the position and is still young.
Coming Tomorrow: Point Guards