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By the numbers: 2017 Small Forward Prospects

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The Kings have no Small Forwards on their roster at all, but a lot of good options to choose from.

NCAA Basketball: ACC Conference Tournament-North Carolina vs Duke Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

This is the third of a five part series in which I analyze the 2017 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.

After Ron Artest was traded, the Kings had a void at Small Forward for so long that it ended up becoming a meme on this site. “But can he play Small Forward” was the question we would ask whenever anyone was connected to the Kings, whether through trade, draft or free agency.

That void was eventually filled by Rudy Gay, but he’s likely on his way out now that he’s officially opted out of the final year of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent. Now the Kings are once again left with no Small Forward on the entire roster. Fortunately they have two lottery picks and several good options to choose from.

Basic Stats

Name Class MPG PPG FG% 3P% FT% TRB APG STL BLK TOV PF
Name Class MPG PPG FG% 3P% FT% TRB APG STL BLK TOV PF
Josh Jackson Fr. 30.8 16.3 .513 .378 (34/90) .566 7.4 3.0 1.7 1.1 2.8 3.0
Jayson Tatum Fr. 33.3 16.8 .452 .342 (40/117) .849 7.3 2.1 1.3 1.1 2.6 3
Jonathan Isaac Fr. 26.2 12.0 .508 .348 (31/89) .780 7.8 1.2 1.2 1.5 1.5 2.2
Justin Jackson Jr. 32.0 18.3 .443 .370 (105/284) .748 4.7 2.8 0.8 0.2 1.7 1.4
OG Anunoby So. 25.1 11.1 .557 .311 (14/45) .563 5.4 1.4 1.3 1.3 1.6 2.1
Tyler Lydon So. 36.1 13.2 .472 .392 (49/125) .836 8.6 2.1 1.0 1.4 1.7 2.5
Semi Ojeleye Jr. 34.1 18.9 .488 .424 (73/172) .785 6.8 1.5 0.4 0.4 1.4 1.8
Devin Robinson Jr. 26.4 11.1 .475 .391 (43/110) .723 6.1 0.6 0.9 0.8 1.1 2.3
Jaron Blossomgame Sr. 34.3 17.6 .498 .255 (24/94) .713 6.3 1.5 0.8 0.9 1.7 1.6
Dillon Brooks Jr. 25.3 16.1 .488 .401 (57/142) .754 3.2 2.7 1.1 0.5 2.1 2.8
Dwayne Bacon So. 28.8 17.2 .452 .333 (57/171) .754 4.2 1.7 1.0 0.1 2.0 1.6
V.J. Beachem Sr. 34.2 14.5 .422 .361 (87/241) .836 4.1 0.9 0.9 1.1 1.1 1.3
Deonte Burton Sr. 29.5 15.1 .456 .375 (42/112) .675 6.2 1.8 1.7 1.4 2.3 3.0
Malcolm Hill Sr. 33.3 17.2 .434 .355 (65/183) .784 5.1 2.9 1.2 0.4 1.9 2.1
Jamel Artis Sr. 34.3 18.2 .475 .392 (74/189) .734 4.9 3.3 0.4 0.3 2.6 1.9

Advanced Stats

Name PER TS% FTR ORB% DRB% AST% STL% BLK% TOV% USG% ORtg DRtg Team SoS
Name PER TS% FTR ORB% DRB% AST% STL% BLK% TOV% USG% ORtg DRtg Team SoS
Josh Jackson 24.1 .559 .403 8.7 17.4 18.2 3.1 3.5 15.9 27.2 110.7 96.0 8th
Jayson Tatum 22.0 .566 .381 4.8 19.7 12.4 2.3 3.2 15.0 26.0 111.3 97.8 12th
Jonathan Isaac 24.6 .614 .461 7.7 25.0 7.5 2.4 6.2 13.3 20.3 122.2 93.6 40th
Justin Jackson 21.3 .555 .220 4.8 10.8 15.8 1.3 0.8 9.5 25.7 121.0 102.2 6th
OG Anunoby 23.8 .611 .393 8.5 16.1 11.0 3.0 5.5 15.2 20.8 118.5 99.4 36th
Tyler Lydon 20.3 .597 .391 7.7 19.2 10.8 1.7 4.7 13.6 18.0 121.3 102.7 57th
Semi Ojeleye 26.4 .623 .512 8.2 15.0 9.3 0.8 1.6 8.6 25.8 132.0 98.0 88th
Devin Robinson 20.1 .576 .338 7.3 18.5 4.8 1.9 3.0 10.1 20.0 118.4 93.5 7th
Jaron Blossomgame 23.0 .559 .380 5.9 15.5 9.7 1.4 2.9 9.7 25.8 115.5 107.1 27th
Dillon Brooks 25.6 .585 .299 4.9 9.6 23.1 2.5 2.2 13.0 31.6 116.0 97.9 50th
Dwayne Bacon 20.8 .544 .282 4.0 12.0 11.6 1.9 0.4 11.4 29.4 110.3 103.4 40th
V.J. Beachem 16.8 .544 .165 2.2 11.4 4.8 1.6 3.2 7.7 21.9 108.8 105.0 28th
Deonte Burton 21.0 .526 .263 4.4 18.6 11.4 3.3 4.8 13.8 28.3 100.9 95.4 3rd
Malcolm Hill 22.3 .567 .469 3.5 14.8 18.4 2.1 1.2 11.0 26.2 116.6 100.8 44th
Jamel Artis 21.2 .596 .383 4.4 11.8 22.8 0.7 0.8 14.5 27.2 114.5 113.5 26th

It’s really easy to see why Josh Jackson is widely considered the best wing prospect in this entire draft. He does a little bit of everything. He rebounds well, he passes well, he plays defense and he can score, all as a freshman playing one of the toughest schedules in college basketball. He does have his flaws however, and not just the off-court issues that he’s dealing with. Jackson’s upside lies in his evolution as a shooter, and while he was able to showcase some competency there (his 37.8% from three was respectable if not great) he one of the worst free throw percentages of any wing or guard in the entire draft at just 56.6%. Still, Jackson is one of the safest bests in the entire draft to become a valuable player.

Jayson Tatum is a player that doesn’t really seem to excite people but he’s very good. He made most of his shots inside the arc and while he wasn’t afraid to shoot it from three, only made 34.2% of his 117 attempts. He’ll need to become a far more reliable outside shooter in the NBA. Tatum gets a bum rap as an ISO-player and potential ballhog but he actually showcased some decent vision. And even with his knocks on defense, Duke was a better team defensively with him on the floor. They also were slightly worse offensively, so he’ll need to become a bit more of a team player and less reliant on those ISOs.

Jonathan Isaac’s numbers jump off the table because they don’t look like that of a wing, they look like a bigs. He’s by far the best rebounder of this group, and his 25% defensive rebound rate is better than most centers and PFs in this draft. He’s also got a decently high block rate at 6.2%, also the highest of this group. He could evolve into the perfect modern day four, especially if his outside shot comes around to be more consistent (and his 78% from the line is a promising sign). But Isaac is athletic enough that he can guard multiple positions. Florida State was better on both ends of the court when Isaac played. He was a low usage player and likely won’t ever be a go-to guy, but he could be a great supporting star who excels on defense.

Justin Jackson had a fantastic year in college and helped lead his team to an NCAA championship, but he’ll probably work better as a “3-and-D” roleplayer in the NBA. Nobody in this draft class shot more threes than Jackson, who launched 284 attempts, just over 7 a game. His 37% success rate was solid for such a high volume. Jackson also shows promise as a secondary playmaker, posting one of the higher assist rates and a very low turnover rate. I do think he will need to become a far better shooter and defender to justify so much time spent on the perimeter though. He barely got to the free throw line at all last year, with only V.J. Beachem having a lower free throw rate. UNC was also much better defensively when he was off the court. He might be more of a shooting guard in the NBA as he doesn’t possess great NBA wing size.

OG Anunoby is a guy like Isaac who might be more of a 4 than a 3, but he doesn’t rebound nearly as well as Isaac does. He’s also not a great outside shooter, making only 14 threes all season and shooting just 56.3% from the line.

Outside of the lottery there are still some solid options. Semi Ojeleye looks like he’ll be able to contribute in at least one way. He’s an outstanding shooter, making 42.4% of his threes on 172 attempts, the highest percentage of any wing. Ojeleye’s low steal and block rates could have something to do with SMU playing a lot of zone defense.

Dillon Brooks was a big time shot maker at Oregon, and while he’s undersized for the position and would be more of a roleplayer in the NBA, posted a fantastic 23.1% assist rate for his position. He was a terrible rebounder though, and is probably more suited to play off-guard in the NBA.

Both Devin Robinson and Tyler Lydon were low usage players who excelled at spot-up three point shooting, and Robinson has the added benefit of more upside on the defensive end.

The Kings could find a long term answer at Small Foward among these guys, particularly at 5, but even if they don’t choose a wing early, there’s still a lot of solid options for depth in the later parts of the draft.

Coming Tomorrow: Shooting Guards