"Welcome to this weeks Royal Roundtable, and the beginning of our cumulative staff draft board. Every Sunday from today until the draft, you can check out the A Royal Pain team debate what the Kings draft board should look like come June 25th. Without further ado, what should Kings do if they luck into the first overall pick?"
Tony Xypteras (@TonyXypteras): Depending on what you’re watching or whom you’re reading, this draft feels pretty wide-open right now. Granted, we still have about 6 weeks until the June 25th draft, but there isn’t a lot of consensus among draft ‘experts’. Most seem to have some combination of Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor inside the top-3, but after that it’s looking like a free-for-all.
Let’s say the Kings win the lottery. Let’s say they land the number one overall pick. Who should the Kings select?
Raf Wong (@RafNation): At this moment, if I were the Sacramento Kings, I would select D’Angelo Russell with the first overall pick. The reason I feel Russell is a worthy pick for the Kings at #1 is because I believe he will become a top-tier point guard in the NBA. The NBA is a point guard driven league, and the Kings do not have anyone that is all-star caliber at that position. With that said, if the Kings have the opportunity to potentially find a star point guard, they must take it. Russell has all the physical tools to becoming a great point guard at the professional level. His size, length, and overall skillset as a player give him a great basis by which to be great, but what makes Russell such an enticing pick is his natural instincts.
What highlighted Russell’s career at Ohio State was his ability to score the ball, but he is much more than that. He is also a playmaker (a need that the Kings also have to fulfill). When watching Russell, it appeared as though he was always looking for the best play possible, whether it was for him or others. His season stats epitomized this mindset. He averaged 19.3 points and 5.0 assists. I feel Russell is the right choice for the Kings if they land the first overall pick.
Tony Xypteras (
I’m glad you mentioned D’Angelo Russell, because I wouldn’t have. I’d go with Karl Towns if I had control over the 1
I’m a sucker for rim protection. It could be an ‘absence makes the hear grow fonder’ situation where the Kings haven’t had a player like Towns in so long that I am irrationally excited to see that type of player slotted next to DeMarcus Cousins. That frontcourt would be something special. I think Towns is athletic and agile enough to guard the quicker power forwards. I know that would be a concern for a lot of folks. You could argue that between Cousins and Towns, they would be occupying each others space and they’d get into each other’s way, but I can’t imagine that being an issue. Both players are so skilled from the high posts, with good passing instincts and a rare ability to beat their defenders off the dribble that I think it would work.
Towns didn’t show much of anything as a jump shooter at Kentucky, but according to scouts who watched him in high school, he has a decent jumper. John Calipari has a way of convincing players to do exactly what he wants them to do and nothing more. Towns played down low because that is where Calipari wanted him, but I think he can be a much more dynamic offensive player than that.
Kyle Robert (
I’m going to continue to beat the drum for my favorite player in this draft, Justise Winslow. He has the skills to be a great player at the next level. Offensively, he can get wherever he wants to on the court. He has a James Harden like ability to get to the hoop. He can create contact and find himself at the free throw line. He can be a lock down defender with the ability to guard multiple positions. He will have the size to guard Kevin Durant or LeBron James but the speed to stay with Stephen Curry and Mike Conley.
For next season, his defense will have an impact right away as he develops his offense up to NBA standards. With Rudy Gay finally getting minutes at power forward, Winslow can find minutes immediately. Also, the way the NBA is currently heading, wings can impact a game much more than a bigs. Winslow has a chance to be the best player in this class and someone a talent deprived team like the Kings need to jump on.
I agree that rim protection is a need for the Kings. However, that is something easily found in free agency, especially in the 2015 free agency class. Marc Gasol, DeAndre Jordan and Brook Lopez headline the class among bigs, but Tyson Chandler, Roy Hibbert, Robin Lopez and Omer Asik can be had at a reasonable deal and fit into the Kings salary cap.
If Towns is the next Duncan or Duncan like player like some have said, I may regret this, but id rather address rim protection in free agency, then grab Winslow like I suggested or D’Angelo Russell. Russell is an elite level guard who can dominate with the ball in his hands and play off of Darren Collison or Ray McCallum.
Tony Xypteras (
I like Winslow a lot. He’d definitely land inside my top-5, if not top-3, but 1
overall? That is a tough sell.
I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that a DeMarcus Cousins – Rudy Gay – Justice Winslow trio is incredibly exciting to think about. That team would create matchup issues all over the court, but I can’t take him over Towns. Are we sure Gay wants to move to power forward full time? Are we sure that is where the Kings want him full time?
I hear you on addressing rim protection in free agency. That is certainly doable provided you can land one of those guys. What I find special about Towns is that he’s more than a rim protector to me. Willie Cauley-Stein is probably my favorite player in the draft, but I can admit that he is a player that you are drafting solely on his defensive / rim protecting ability, and that is a guy who’s skill set you can find in free agency. Town is more versatile than that to me, and that is why I think he’s special.
I don’t see a consensus here yet. Hmm. Connor may be the Russell, Winslow, Towns tiebreaker. Or he could turn this thing completely upside down and choose Jahlil Okafor.
Connor Schumock (@ConnorSchumock): Personally, I feel the best player in the draft just happens to be a perfect fit for the Kings. Drafting Kentucky big men has worked out well for Kings in the past and that is why they should take Karl Anthony Towns with the 1st overall pick. Though limited in his playing time, KAT showed just how dominate of a force he can be.
The Kings have two major needs this off-season and those are rim protection and 3-point shooting. Towns blocked over two shots a game while playing only 21 minutes in his lone college season. His block percentage of 11.5% was also one of the highest in the nation. Towns is still a bit raw offensively but averaged 19 points per game per 40 minutes. His 55 perfect shooting percentage and 81 percent free throw percentage shows just how effective he can be. The most encouraging aspect of KAT’s game is his developing mid-range shot. As his range develops he will be able to stretch the floor for DeMarcus Cousins while providing rim protection on the other end.
Towns comes from a winning culture at Kentucky, and though his opportunities were lacking at times due to Calipari’s rotation, he flashed his limitless potential when he did step on the floor. The Kings have a giant hole at the power forward position and with the number 1 pick in the draft the Kings can fill that hole with the best player available.
Tony Xypteras (@TonyXypteras): As the self-appointed Royal Roundtable moderator, I’m calling it. We have two distinct votes for Karl Towns, one for D’Angelo Russell, and one for Justise Winslow.
Congratulations, Mr. Towns. And with a little luck, we’ll see you in Sacramento next month.
A Royal Pain Staff Draft Board
- Karl-Anthony Towns, Kentucky, PF/C
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