Tier 3: Plan B options that should be available
These are the most realistic options for the Sacramento Kings, as the Tier 2 players might not be available at the 24th pick. The Kings will likely be able to choose from at least four of these five guys, as they are unlikely to go before pick 24.
7. Dariq Whitehead, Duke: The former projected top-five pick had a rough freshman season at Duke, suffering a foot injury that set him back. Although he was not able to showcase his full potential coming off an injury, Whitehead is an impressive prospect. With a 6’6″ frame and 6’10” wingspan, he is a versatile defender that can score from all three levels. He is an impressive shot-creator with a great jump shot, as he shot 42.4% from deep at Duke. Even through injuries, Whitehead has a great feel for the game and will be a steal as a late first-round pick.
8. Colby Jones, Xavier: After a breakout sophomore season at Xavier, Colby Jones has shown NBA scouts that he is possibly the most well-rounded prospect in this class. The 6’5″ SG/SF is league-ready, as he has all the tools needed on offense and is a versatile defender. He is an impressive shooter with room for improvement, but his work ethic tells us that will not be a problem. He is a smart two-way player that would flourish in the Kings’ system.
9. James Nnaji, Nigeria: While there is a chance Nnaji will not be available at pick 24, his wide draft range suggest he could go anywhere in the 20s. The 6’10 big man has a 7’7″ (!!!) wingspan with the potential to be special. He is a force in the paint and a very impressive defender. Nnaji can hold down the interior and step out to guard the perimeter, as his versatility could prove valuable to many teams. He has limited basketball experience, reminding me of Joel Embiid as a prospect but with less skill on offense.
10. Rayan Rupert, France: Rupert is an intriguing international prospect, as he is possibly the best defender in the draft. The 6’6″ forward has a 7’2″ wingspan with all the right tools to be a lockdown defender in the NBA. The biggest question mark is his offensive versatility, as he has not shown much consistency as a scorer. He can develop into an impressive two-way talent, but for now, he is strictly a lockdown defender.
11. Jaime Jaquez Jr., UCLA: Coming off an impressive senior season at UCLA, Jaquez’s draft stock has risen into the first round. The 22-year-old wing has shown he can score from anywhere, primarily on the block and mid-range. He is a smart, hustle player, averaging 8.2 rebounds per game with just a 6’6″ frame. His 6’10” wingspan helps him on defense, but his lack of lateral quickness hurts him and will continue to at the next level.