The NBA Draft is becoming more and more like the MLB Draft with all the unknown players. These days, it’s pretty much one-and-done college players and international guys who most of us have never heard of. Fortunately Chappy still keeps up on his scouting and put together a mock draft for us, but I’m going to zero in on the Kings and Warriors. I’ll start with the Kings, mainly because they pick first out of the two teams. Also because at number seven, there will be fewer players off the board, so it’s easier to narrow down the search.
# 7 pick – Sacramento Kings: If ONLY one of the following names is available at number seven, it’ll be Brandon Knight, Kemba Walker, Kawhi Leonard, or Jimmer Fredette. I’d like to think those names are also in order of preference, but of that, I’m not so sure. The main area of need for the Kings to address in the draft is the point guard position. The verdict is in from last season and it looks like Tyreke Evans would be more effective off the ball. Marcus Thornton is locked in as a building block for the team as well, but after the opening tip, there’s no reason both of those guys couldn’t play with a third guard on the floor. Brandon Knight is the top PG in the draft, but also widely considered to be long gone before the Kings make their pick. That’s why it’ll likely come down to whoever is available between Walker and Leonard. Personally I hope it’s Walker. The Kings desperately need a small forward, but they need to get a veteran who can step in right away. They simply can’t afford to roll with Francisco Garcia and Omri Casspi at the three this season. Leonard’s defense and rebounding would be much-needed, but unless he can produce right away, it’s going to leave a gaping hole at the wing. The wild card pick would be Jimmer. Most people think he’s a stretch at number seven, and some even question whether he can be effective in the NBA, but the Maloofs may not be able to resist the fanfare that is Jimmer Fredette. One of the greatest draft picks in Kings history was also a reach of sorts, taking the iffy Jason Williams at the same slot back in 1998, which in a way, kickstarted the Kings into contention. Maybe a quick little white guy who can pull up from 28 feet on a fast break is what a team needs to get over the hump. In all seriousness though, I really think his shooting is exactly what the doctor should be ordering for them. They are awfully short at long range shooting, and adding Fredette would seemingly help extend the defense. With guys like Evans and Demarcus Cousins, who are already elusive in traffic, Jimmer could be the most impactful selection should the team go in that direction. It will probably take a perfect storm to happen, but I would welcome the consolation, should the other two more highly-touted guards, Knight and Walker, go off the board.
# 11 pick – Golden State Warriors: It’s a lot tougher to call who the Warriors are even considering, let alone who they may take at number eleven. Most of the chatter out of Oakland these days is in regards to how many trades they propose with Monta Ellis, or how many trades are proposed to them for Stephen Curry. The Warriors obviously need size, but they try that every year and it never really seems to work out. It’s been 10 years by my count since the W’s had a successful selection at power forward or center – that’s if you count Troy Murphy (which I do). The list of name since then includes Andris Biedrins, Ike Diogu, Patrick O’Bryant, Brandan Wright (acquired by draft day trade), Anthony Randolph, and Epke Udoh. Most don’t expect the W’s to break this lineage either, with Bismack Biyombo the most popular choice. If not Biyombo, it will likely be another international big man. However, guys like Klay Thompson and Alec Burks are getting a lot of hype of late, probably due to the likelihood of an opening down the road at the shooting guard position. Monta Ellis’s departure seems more like a matter of when, not if, so the front office seems poised to find a bigger replacement to plug into the lineup once that happens. I think the team would be best served trading the pick for a veteran big man. I don’t think this year’s #11 pick would make the Ellis-Biedrins-Udoh for Dwight Howard offer any more enticing, but maybe it would be enough for the 76ers to throw in Marreese Speights or Thaddeus Young in that Ellis for Iguodala deal. If they don’t trade the pick, I expect Jerry West to put his stamp on the first draft pick of his Warriors tenure, whoever it may be.