Monday’s 5:00pm ET deadline marks the point at which NBA teams must trim their roster to 15 players, as well as a pair of optional two-way contracts. In order to make room on their depth chart over the weekend, the Portland Trail Blazers parted ways with prospect Cam Oliver, a young forward who could represent a long-term development opportunity for the Sacramento Kings in their final two-way deal.
Oliver has a couple of minor connections to the area, most notably as a graduate of Grant Union High School, as well as his two years spent under the tutelage of former Kings Head Coach Eric Musselman at the University of Nevada. Although he was initially an unheralded recruit, Cam managed to put up some impressive numbers in the NCAA, averaging 16 points and 8.7 boards, while knocking down 38% of his shots from deep as a sophomore. The Sacramento native also showed out at the NBA combine, earning high marks from many scouts, including our own Bryant West:
Oliver offers up those NBA unicorn skills; deep-shooting threat (1.9 threes a game), rim protection (2.6 blocks per game and a 8.3% block rate) and great explosive athleticism. His handles (3 turnovers per 40, 14% rate) will need significant improvement before he can handle a big offensive role, and he’s got a ton of developing to do on both his offensive and defensive awareness - someone with his athleticism shouldn’t have shot a paltry 32.8% on post-ups when facing Mountain West competition. Scouts who’ve watched him full time point to inconsistent effort as one of his biggest flaws, but if he finds stronger motivation in the NBA, he’s got the toolset to be a very solid and well rounded stretch 4.
Bryant’s assessment matches up with the strengths and weaknesses he’s displayed in both the G League and over the past two summers in Las Vegas. Oliver is a combo forward who relies on his springboard athleticism more than proper technique, allowing him to guard both 3s and 4s, although not consistently. His vertical leap keeps him floating above the rim, resulting in highlight reels on both sides of the floor:
Oliver’s NBA-ready frame, at 6’8” and 225 pounds with a 7’1” wingspan, represents a missing element on the current depth chart. His body is built to handle the rigors of guarding rangy wings in the league, unlike the undersized Bogdan Bogdanovic, the undeveloped Justin Jackson, or the oversized Nemanja Bjelica; although the mental side of his game has yet to catch up to his physique. Cam’s rebounding ability would also be a boon to the current options at wing, as he averaged 7.1 boards in the G League last season, a welcome addition to the 3rd worst team on the glass last season.
The Kings shouldn’t feel rushed to fill their second two-way contract prior to the start of the season, but Cam Oliver’s local connections, positional versatility, and freakish athleticism isn’t matched by many. His raw skill set may not be mature enough to make an immediate impact on the floor, but a low-risk investment in his future as an NBA player would be well worth it for Sacramento.