Predictions and Expectations That Willie Cauley-Stein Will Have This Season


With the 6th overall pick in last year’s draft, the Sacramento Kings selected Willie Cauley-Stein. To be honest, I wasn’t too ecstatic about the pick at first. With players like Justise Winslow, Emmanuel Mudiay, and Stanley Johnson still on the board, I thought they all would have been better suited picks for the team at the time.

But after seeing how Vlade Divac has constructed this roster after drafting the seven footer from Kentucky, he definitely fits with the personnel that the Kings currently have. Even though on paper Cauley-Stein does fit well with the team, how effective should Kings fans expect him to be in his rookie year?

Honestly, I think Cauley-Stein will have a solid season. The reason why I think this is because of the role he will play for his team. For the past few seasons, fans have wanted a shot blocker to pair up with DeMarcus Cousins, and Cauley-Stein is just that, as the majority of his focus will be on defending the paint, as well as the perimeter of the court occasionally.

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Another reason why I’m convinced Cauley-Stein will be productive is because of how motivated he is in playing his role. Too many times NBA rookies have the delusion that they will be coddled by the team they get selected by, therefore having a false sense of entitlement when it comes to their role.

For Cauley-Stein, it’s a different story.

Willie already knows that the Kings have a dominant big man in Cousins, thus he understands that his job is to compliment Cousins’ game. This means like I mentioned before being a dominant defender, while on offense cleaning up the boards and occasionally scoring in the paint.

Last reason why I think Cauley-Stein will find success this season is because of the familiarity he has in his role already. Cauley-Stein’s role with Sacramento is almost identical to the role he had with the Kentucky Wildcats.

Basically playing defense, running the floor, and rebounding is what both Kentucky and Sacramento expect(ed) him to do, which he has at a high level (at least collegiately). Because of that, he won’t have as hard of a time getting acclimated to the NBA compared to other rookies that might be given different roles for their new teams.

Overall, I wasn’t too thrilled with the Kings investing their top draft pick on Cauley-Stein, but now I am definitely a fan. Mostly because of his motivation and familiarity with the role he will have for his new team.

I’m also a fan of Cauley-Stein because of the freakish length and athleticism that he has been blessed with. I mean 7’0″ tall, 240 pounds, with legit speed and hops. His physicality has him destined to be a dominant shot blocker and more.

For the past couple of seasons, it has been brutal for fans to watch Kings rookies under perform in their first year in the NBA, but for Cauley-Stein I think he will be fine. He will definitely face struggles this season, but he will also have his highlights as well. All in all, I think Cauley-Stein will finally break the curse that has been instilled upon Kings rookies in recent past.

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