Height: 6’5 Weight: 200
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The Player: A year ago Emmanuel Mudiay was ranked one of the top high school prospects in his national class, now he is days away from receiving the opportunity to play basketball at the highest level. Originally committing to SMU, Mudiay instead decided to take his talents to China to play professionally.
There’s a debate whether that was the right choice for Mudiay, choosing to play overseas rather than take the traditional method of playing college ball in the US. Although we may never find out the answer to that question, we all can agree that Mudiay has game.
Mudiay already has all the physical tools needed for a point guard. Standing at 6’5 and weighing around 200 pounds, Mudiay has the size and also the athleticism to help him at the professional level. Mudiay also has the talent to be efficient in the NBA as well. He has playmaking ability, which helps both him and his teammates get involved in the offense, as well as high potential as a defender.
Overall, Mudiay has the physical presence and the skillset to be an elite guard in the NBA, but it all leans on him reaching his true potential.
Statistics: Last season Mudiay was limited to a small sample size of just twelve games, but when he was laced up on the court he was efficient. Through those twelve games with the Guangdong Southern Tigers, Mudiay averaged 18 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per contest. Mudiay also was promising on the defensive end as well by averaging 1.6 steals a game.
When looking at Mudiay’s season, it seemed pretty solid across the board, but there were still concerns. For one, Mudiay struggled to make jump shots. He did make 48% of his total shots last season, but also made just 34% of his three point attempts and 57% of his shots from the free throw line. Mudiay also turned the ball over at a high rate as well. Averaging 3.3 turnovers a game, Mudiay needs to work on improving his ball security, or else players in the NBA will tear him apart.
For the most part, Mudiay’s statistics reflected on what kind of player he is. Mudiay is an all-around offensive talent that can facilitate, score, and even rebound at the point guard position, which has at least me convinced of how high his potential really is.
Although he struggles in shooting and ball security now, you can’t expect a 19 year old to perfect every aspect of his game, therefore he needs to be given the appropriate amount of time to improve on the drawbacks of his game.
Draft Range: Since his days in high school Mudiay has always been projected a future top NBA draft pick, and that just might be the case. In the majority of the mock drafts that are available to the public, they show Mudiay being available to the Kings at #6, and even some saying the Kings will select him.
So the idea of Mudiay coming to Sacramento is very possible, but the Kings will not get the chance to workout with Mudiay before the draft, as he has only had workouts with teams with the top four picks in the draft. Because of this, it might leave the Kings hesitant when it is time to select a player, and would rather use their pick on someone who they have already had a workout with beforehand (Willie Cauley-Stein?).
The Fit: A lot of Mudiay’s game is compatible to what the Kings are looking for. The Kings are looking to run a more fast-paced brand of basketball, so they need players that can run the floor, be a playmaker, and also contribute defensively. Mudiay is mostly known for his playmaking ability, and is also very efficient running the offense in transition.
On the defensive end he has great potential. Mudiay already has an NBA body and great length at the point guard position, which can help him overpower his opponents even at the professional level. Mudiay’s size also bring versatility as well. Mudiay is 6’5 and weighs around 200 pounds (bigger than Ben McLemore), so he has the capability to also hold his ground against shooting guards too.
Overall, Mudiay seems to be close to an ideal fit for what the Kings are looking for. On the offensive side of the ball, his ability to play the pick-and-roll and run in transition is what George Karl and the Kings are looking for in their ideal point guard. On the defensive side, he brings versatility because of his size, length, and athleticism, which Karl will definitely utilize when setting up his rotations.
Final Thoughts: If the Kings do decide to take Mudiay with their draft pick, I would be very content about it. The best part of the Mudiay’s game that I like is his transition game. He runs the floor very well, and instead of having a score-first mentality, he looks to see if his other teammates are running as well, and rewards them if they do. With Mudiay, his playmaking skills and his ability to run an up-tempo offense are already there, and therefore would immediately help the Kings offense next season.
The only knocks you can say in Mudiay’s game is his poor shooting and his turnover rate, which are struggles that the Kings also have on their roster, but hopefully he can improve on both those inefficiencies as his career progresses. I see Mudiay having a similar game to Jason Kidd, and a little bit of Tyreke Evans. If he lives up to those comparisons, I think the Kings will be very satisfied on taking a chance with Mudiay.