A Royal Selection: Willie Cauley-Stein


Willie Cauley-Stein

Height: 7’0 Weight: 240

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The Player: After spending three seasons with the Kentucky Wildcats, Willie Cauley-Stein has finally declared for the NBA draft. For lottery teams that are looking for rim-protectors, energy guys, and maybe a potential Tyson Chandler in making, Cauley-Stein is a viable option.

Theres a lot to like in Cauley-Stein, his physical presence being the most obvious. Built like a redwood at 7’0, Cauley-Stein’s height, length, and quick feet give him the physical tools to be a dominant rim-protector.

Although offensively he has shown little production, there is potential seen in his game. For one, Cauley-Stein has great footwork in the post, the problem however has been his lack of touch around the rim. Cauley-Stein also has a solid mid-range stroke, but the results show that he rarely worked on improving it while at Kentucky.

So for teams that are looking at Cauley-Stein, expect to see defense but little offense.

Statistics: This season Cauley-Stein stats were solid, as he averaged 8.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks a contest for Kentucky. Throughout his tenure with the Wildcats, Cauley-Stein was expected to rebound and block shots, and for the most part he was successful by posting career numbers of 6.2 RPG and 2.2 BPG through three seasons.

In my eyes Cauley-Stein is an All-Star at the collegiate level, but his stats do not necessarily epitomize his true level of production. Through recent history, the Kentucky Wildcats have always contained a great number of former high school All-Americans in which this season seven of their players, including Cauley-Stein, are projected to be selected in this year’s draft. So when you are on a team with other collegiate superstars, there has to be some level of sacrifice from each player.

All in all, Cauley-Stein’s job on the Wildcats was to rebound and block shot, and his career numbers show that he fulfilled his role.

Draft Range: Realistically, the Kings have a good chance to draft Cauley-Stein. Through the mock drafts Cauley-Stein is projected to be picked around the 5-10 range.

Considering that the Kings are at the number six pick right now, makes a Cauley-Stein selection very possible. To add on, this Thursday the Kings held a workout session with Cauley-Stein, and if everything goes right Cauley-Stein might be wearing purple next season.

The Fit: There definitely is a place for Cauley-Stein on the Kings roster. Many fans would like to see Cauley-Stein play next to DeMarcus Cousins, but maybe the best place for him is as a reserve.

Cauley-Stein is a defensive talent, but he is solely a rim-protector at this point. Although having a defensive presence paired with Cousins makes sense, I think a post defender would be the better direction to take. Because Cousins emerged as a shot-blocker last season, there’s no great need for another one in the starting lineup, but there is on the bench.

Although the Kings are still searching for a player to pair up with Cousins, there is also a need in finding his backup. If Cauley-Stein were to be selected by Sacramento, I see being the backup center as his ideal spot for now on the roster.

Final Thoughts: Cauley-Stein seems ready as an NBA defender, but still needs a lot of polishing up on the offensive end. Although potential is there, Cauley-Stein still gets a majority of his offense off hustle points, which is fine for now considering the Kings new uptempo offense, but will need to add more to his repertoire later on.

Overall, at the professional level I see Cauley-Stein as a high energy guy and a defensive presence, but also an offensive liability. Until Cauley-Stein can develop an offensive game he will always be a one-dimensional player, which in the NBA today is becoming intolerable. On the other hand, if his offense starts to blossom, he will become something special.

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