Even without a 1st Round pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft, the goal remains the same for the Sacramento Kings; find someone who can help this team moving forward.
That’s certainly easier said than done when you’re talking about second round picks, a majority of whom will be fringe roster players. And while a potential diamond-in-the-rough selection may take many months before he’s ready to be a bench-level player, that’s still a worthy target for Thursday. Even in an odd and unique draft scenario, with a ton of odd, unique, and flawed players to consider, the goal should be the same; snag a rotation player. If the Kings can add one future rotation player to this roster, that’s a win for this draft, full stop. You can never have enough promising young guys in your system when your franchise players can barely buy alcohol.
This draft class will be a big test for the Sacramento scouting department that has added and kept only one 2nd rounder in Vlade Divac’s tenure (Frank Mason), but they’ve certainly done their homework; holding 17 workouts for 101 players is impressive. They’ll walk into Thursday with the 40th, 47th, and 60th overall selections, as well as a ton of questions. Will they draft and expect to roster three rookies? Will they use a two-way contract on a player? Will they move up/down/in/out of the draft? Will they trade for a player who can defer his contract and stay overseas?
Will Vlade sneak into Boston’s warroom and snatch back the 14 th pick so that the Kings could add Brandon Clarke , the near-perfect missing piece in this big man core? Even if you thought this draft was utterly boring without a lottery selection to dream about, Thursday’s going to tell us something about this franchise moving forward.
Below are the biggest names Sacramento met with over the last month. Each player’s name is linked to their Sport Reference stat page. The Kings might not follow their old drafting rule—one would hope Vlade won’t pass on a preferred second round talent just because they didn’t workout for Sacramento—but it’s likely at least one of the gentlemen below will be a King by the end of the draft.
Jordan Bone, 6’3” 179 lbs., Tennessee
Bone is a hyper-athletic demon who can bust out smooth moves to create space, and he finished with an impressive 7.1 assists per 40 (30.3% assist rate) and a 2.9/1 assist-to-turnover ratio for one of the better offensive teams in the country. Playing alongside Grant Williams (who initiated a lot for Tennessee) showcased Bones’ abilities as an off-ball shooter, and he improved his shooting tremendously as the season went on. I expect it’ll take time for Bone to adjust to playing against guys nearly as fast as him physically/faster than him mentally, but snagging Bone to play behind (and sometimes with) DeAaron Fox is one of my favorite draft outcomes.
Ky Bowman, 6’1” 189 lbs., Boston College
Tough, athletic player stuck in the hard-spot between a PG’s size and a SG’s skillset. Proven shooter (38.8% career from deep on 221 makes) who scored at all three levels for the Eagles. Would likely be best served as a secondary initiator role at the next level. While he’s a tad undersized, his explosiveness shouldn’t be ignored.
Justin Robinson, 6’2.5” 181 lbs., Virginia Tech
Speedster point who helped direct Virginia Tech to three straight NCAA Tournament bids. He can get down the court in a hurry (something we know the Kings value in their floor leaders) and finished the season averaging 5 assists per game with a 34.5% assist rate (albeit with a less than stellar 1.78/1 assist-to-turnover ratio). He’s also a dead-eye shooter who finished his career with 151 made threes on 38.5% shooting.
Tyus Battle, 6’7” 204 lbs., Syracuse
An athletic wing who can get down the court in a hurry and attack the basket at will. Per hoop-math.com, he shot 60% at the rim this season—not a spectacular number, but the fact that only 19% of those attempts were assisted shows he can create at the basket. The concern for Battle is his jumpshot, as he made a middling 38% of his two-point jumpers and only 33.5% of his 534 career three-point attempts. Still, dudes who average 17+ points per game in major conferences tend to get NBA looks.
Brian Bowen, 6’7.5” 200 lbs., Sydney Kings
Former five start recruit who spent the season playing with Andrew Bogut in Australia. It’s hard to properly armchair scout Bowen’s time in Sydney—he played just 15.4 minutes per game while shooting 45% from the field and 34% from distance—but with his five-star athleticism, the workings of a real shooting ability, good size and length (6’7.5 with a 6’10 wingspan), and an ignited determination to prove he belongs, Bowen is an alluring prospect with significant upside.
Terence Davis, 6’4.5” 192 lbs., Mississippi
A do-it-all senior guard who is younger than most in his class (22). He can shoot (37% from deep on 175 attempts this season, and 73rd percentile for all jump shots in the half-court), run as a secondary play-maker (4.5 assists per 40), and play tenacious defense (3% steal rate and 2.1 thefts per 40). His excellent quickness and length (6’9 wingspan) grant him defensive range beyond his size. Aside from a high turnover rate (3.6 per 40, 16.8% rate), there’s nothing to dislike in Davis’ stat spread. If you’re looking for a crash course in the talented Rebel, check out their March 5th game against Kentucky, where he finished with 25 points, 12 boards, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 4 threes in an almost-upset. The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie notes in his latest mock draft that Davis “particularly impressed in Sacramento” as part of his meteoric draft rise, so if he lasts till 40, don’t be surprised if he’s the Kings’ first selection.
Kyle Guy, 6’2” 168 lbs., Virginia
The upside for Guy is obvious; he was the primary scorer for the Champion Cavaliers and has a career 42.5% mark from deep with 254 made threes. He moves well off the ball and burried shots with or without a hand in his face (80th percentile for guarded catch-and-shoot shots, per Synergy). He’s not going to kill you with mistakes, and when your NBA skill is shooting, you’re always going to get a real look. But he’s an undersized two guard and isn’t likely to ever be a neutral NBA defender. Worked out with the Kings twice, so don’t be surprised if he’s snagged at pick 60.
Cody Martin, 6’6” 192 lbs., Nevada
Martin’s a smart player who can do a ton of things on the court. He can pass, dribble, and shoot at a relatively high collegiate level, and having a wing who can rebound (5.2 boards per 40 minutes), cruise coast-to-coast with the ball, and dish the rock (5.7 dimes per 40 and a 2.6/1 assist-to-turnover ratio) is extremely valuable in the modern game. He shot only 29.4% from distance in his junior season, but that percentage jumped to 35.8% on 95 attempts in his senior year. He might not have a ton of upside, but what he does now is valuable in the NBA, and he’s got the competitive edge that you’d want for a 2nd round dice-toss.
Zach Norvell, 6’5.5” 206 lbs., Gonzaga
Offers combo-guard skills with a proven shooting ability. Provided much needed gravity for a big-led Gonzaga team, and shot 37% on 262 three point attempts. He’s somewhat of a streaky player, evidenced by a brutal run to end the season when he averaged 9.6 points on 27% shooting in the Zag’s last 5 games. Had a role as a secondary playmaker—4.1 assists per 40 minutes, and a 2.15/1 assist-to-turnover ratio—and could be more of a combo guard in the NBA. He fits the mold of the guards Sacramento has been eying; above-average shooter, solid ball-handler, and positional versatility.
While competition level is a real concern, Oni’s length (6’10.75 wingspan), pop (38.5 max vertical leap) and shooting ability (37.1% from deep, 46.3% as a spot-up shooter) will get him real looks in the second round. He was a major disappointment in the NCAA Tournament against LSU, but he had a much more solid contest in December against Duke that showcased the positives of his skillset (scoring ability, passing instincts, tenacity on the glass) and some of the weaknesses (5 turnovers, with a 14.5% turnover rate on the season).
Quinndary Weatherspoon, 6’4” 207 lbs., Mississippi State
Senior who was productive all four years of his Bulldog career; he’s got NBA level fluidity and pop that comes paired with a 6’9 wingspan. He’s more of a PnR/attack-the-rim slasher, and 43.3% of his shots came at the rim, per hoop-math. Still, he proved he could be a three-level scorer—39.6% from deep this year on 139 attempts—and aside from a 1/1 assist-to-turnover ratio, there’s not a ton to dislike from his profile. If he dedicates himself to becoming a 3-and-D type wing, he could be a real steal.
Justin Wright-Foreman, 6’1” 185 lbs., Hofstra
If the Kings are looking for a bench flamethrower, JWF might be their pick; he averaged 24.4 and 27.1 points in the last two seasons, and shot 42.5% on 110 made threes this season. Synergy Stats has him above the 90th percentile for PPP in pick-and-roll, transition, and on spot-ups. He’s another gunner-SG-in-a-PGs-body type player, and averaged just 3.1 assists per 40 (17.4% assist rate with a 33% usage rate).
Jordan Caroline, 6’6” 240 lbs., Nevada
Caroline has the size, strength, length (6’9 wingspan) and athleticism of an NBA forward, and snagged 10.9 boards per 40 minutes in his senior year. He might not have a ton of untapped potential, and he’s not a real individual creator, but his deep shot took a nice step forward in his final year at Nevada (36.8% on 125 attempts). He’s not a great defender, and will get attacked whenever he’s on the court until he proves otherwise.
Zylan Cheatham, 6’8” 217 lbs., Arizona State
Cheatham has a lot of the skills Sacramento has favored in their recent big men picks. He’s got a crafty dribble, smooth footwork, and aware passing instincts to be a real grab-and-go threat. He’s impressive in transition (91st percentile for PPP when you consider both made baskets and completed assists, and a 2.1/1 assist-to-turnover ratio), a hyper-determined rebounder, and a versatile defensive player with the quickness and length to potentially contain an array of forwards (and some taller guards) that the Kings have struggled with in recent years.
Jaylen Hoard, 6’9” 213 lbs., Wake Forest
The first one-and-done player in Wake Forest’s history. The 6’9” forward is a fluid and bouncy athlete, and posted an impressive 13.1 PPG and 7.4 RPG in his freshman season. But he’s a longer-term upside play, as his shot hasn’t yet materialized; he shot just 23.8% on all half-court jumpshots this season, per Synergy, and sank just 22.6% of his 53 three point attempts.
Dedric Lawson, 6’8.5” 233 lbs., Kansas
Lawson’s abilities as a low-post scorer (19.4 PPG), glass cleaner (10.3 RPG), and shooter (39.3% on 89 three point attempts) helped the Jayhawks weather an unstable season. He’s got length (7’2 wingspan) to cover up for only-ok size for a power forward (6’7 without shoes), but if he doesn’t get drafted, it will be because he’s a below-average NBA athlete. Without great instincts defensively, there’s a big question as to how he’ll defend at the NBA level.
Jalen McDaniels, 6’10” 192 lbs., San Diego State
The Kings should not draft McDaniels.
Isaiah Roby, 6’8.5” 215 lbs., Nebraska
The bouncy Cornhusker has the length (7’1 wingspan), footspeed, and hops to make him a promising swing forward, even if his inconsistencies as a shooter (33% from deep this season on 84 attempts, and 29.7% on all jump shots in the half-court, per Synergy Sports) might keep him from being a real answer on the wing.
The biggest allure for Roby is his abilities on the defensive end, where he was just one of four players this season to snag 40 steals and 60 blocks (the list includes noted defensive titans Brandon Clarke and Matisse Thybulle). He’s active and a quick help defender, and assuming he builds on the 214 pounds he weighed at the combine, he could provide a switchable bench defender... something the Kings desperately need more of.
Dean Wade, 6’10” 225 lbs., Kansas State
Stretch big with a proven shooting ability; 43.7% on 2-point jumpers, and a 41.8% mark from deep (2.2 attempts per game). Not a rim protector or exceptionally prolific rebounder (8.1 per 40 minutes and a 16.6% defensive rebounding rate), but a smart player who proved he could keep the ball moving and score at a high level. He’s a smart defender, but it’s unclear what his role could be defensively. Missed nine games this season with a foot injury.
Kris Wilkes, 6’8” 209 lbs., UCLA
The Bruins best player this season, averaging 17.4 points and 4.8 rebounds a contest. He was primarily used as a spot-up shooter, but his career numbers from deep (34.3% on 364 attempts in his two years at UCLA) aren’t spectacular. He was also a mediocre-at best defender on most nights, which was a shared issue across the UCLA roster from the beginning of the season on through Steve Alford’s firing. Perhaps Wilkes has real NBA talent masked behind the UCLA chaos of the last two seasons, as he’s certainly got the size (nearly 6’8 in shoes), length (6’11 wingspan), and athleticism of an NBA player.
Tacko Fall, 7’7” 289 lbs., UCF
With a 10’2” standing reach and a 8’2.25” wingspan, Tacko is the life-size version of our 10-year-old selfs played with a nerf hoop on our bedroom doors. The upside is obvious; rim protection, high-point rebounds, and offensive put-backs. The downsides to Fall are just as stark; he’s not an NBA-level athlete and would be left in the dust on both ends of the court, and he had the second slowest 3⁄4 court sprint time in the last decade. At some level, his length will compensate for this, but teams will absolutely try to get Tacko into space until he proves he’s quick and cerebral enough to handle it.
Simisola Shittu, 6’10” 227 lbs., Vanderbilt
Shittu has the size, frame (if not yet the bulk), and solid fluidity and athleticism all teams would want in a big man project. He can dribble and lead the break, and he’s an unselfish player who can move the ball when the right play presents itself. He’s got the size and determination to create space in the post, and should be a solid rebounder if he’s willing to battle with NBA physicality. He’s NOT a shooter, and he’s NOT a rim protector—indeed, it’s not clear what role Shittu will play on either end at the next level, but it’s also hard to take too much away from his one year playing for a decimated Vanderbilt team.