Cowbell Kingdom Prospect Profile: Kawhi and Co.

Left - Kawhi Leonard, Right - Scotty Hopson

There’s been a seismic belief shift on what could happen when the Kings pick next Thursday.  A week ago, Kawhi Leonard looked like a lock to fill the Kings’ gaping hole at small forward.  That all changed when BYU’s Jimmer Fredette rolled into town and turned heads.  Today was Leonard’s chance to bring wandering eyes back his way.

Leonard must show that he is the complete package and a true upgrade over Omri Casspi, Francisco Garcia and Donté Greene.  There is no doubt the Kings like Leonard (they have sent scouts to visit him at least three times).  But with Jimmermania sweeping Sacramento, can Kawhi make the impact he needs to get back into the mix at pick number seven?

The Kings brought in an eclectic group of players of varying shapes and sizes.  Apparently, the Kings front office wanted to see Leonard perform against a variety of players.  Of the other players in town today, only Scotty Hopson is projected to be drafted.

Video and analysis after the jump.

Guards

Mickey McConnell - St. Mary’s

The senior out of St. Mary’s can really shoot the ball, hitting on an impressive 45.6 percent from three last season.  There’s no question McConnell is an athlete, the LA Dodgers drafted him last week in the 31st round of theMLB draft despite no college baseball experience.  But is he is an NBA athlete? Most draft experts think not.

Measurements:

  • Height:  5′-11.75″ w/o shoes.
  • Weight:  187-pounds.
  • Wingspan:  6′-1″
  • Standing Reach:  7′-8.5″

Testing:

  • Vertical:  25.5″ no step vert.
  • Strength: N/A.
  • Agility Drills: Lane agility- 11.62 seconds; 3/4 court sprint- 3.22 seconds.

Thoughts on Mickey McConnell:

McConnell may bear a strikingly similar physical resmeblance to Beno Udrih.  But as far as his game is concerned, I see a shorter version of Sarunas Marciulionis.  McConnell can shoot and looks crafty with the ball, but he has heavy legs and would struggle to stay in front of most NBA point guards.

 

Kalin Lucas – Michigan State

Lucas performed well in his four years at Michigan State.  Like McConnell, Lucas can shoot from deep, finishing his senior season shooting 39 percent from three.  The similarities to McConnell don’t stop there as Lucas is not expected to hear his name called draft night, unless he makes a huge splash in one of these workouts.

No pre-draft measurements are available (college height and weight only):

  • Height:  6′-0″
  • Weight:  180-pounds

Thoughts on Kalin Lucas:

Lucas has a quick first step and a nice pull-up, off-the-dribble, 18-20 foot jump shot.  Playing against McConnell didn’t hurt Lucas one bit as the smaller, faster player out of Michigan State ran circles around his counterpart.  On the defensive end, McConnell was able to use his weight advantage, getting inside against Lucas.  But in a real game, help defense would have prevented that from happening.  It would be nice to see Lucas match-up against someone a little closer in build to get a true test.  But overall, he looked like he was a capable bottom-of-the-draft point guard.

Scotty Hopson – Tennessee

Hopson finds himself in the same position that a lot of other prospects are in this summer -  a year of college eligibility left and no first-round guarantee.  This was a nice test for Leonard because Hopson is agile, athletic and has plenty of length.  The Kings have two first round picks and might be looking for an athlete like this to fill out their camp roster.

Measurements:

  • Height:  6′-5.5″ w/o shoes; 6′-6.75″ w/ shoes.
  • Weight:  205-pounds; 5.0% body fat.
  • Wingspan:  6′-11″
  • Standing Reach:  8′-6.5″

Testing:

  • Vertical: 33.5″ no step vert; 36.5″ max vert.
  • Strength: N/A.
  • Agility Drills: Lane agility- 8.54 seconds; 3/4 court sprint- 3.82 seconds.

Thoughts on Scotty Hopson:

I love his hair.  Not many people attempt the House Party look anymore (except maybe Brandon Jennings).  As advertised, Hopson is long and lean.  Hopson hit a few nice jumpers from the 20-foot range but he has an issue with falling forward into his shot which Leonard took advantage of when they were matched-up.  Overall, he looked bigger than his combine measurements.  But then again, his hair could have been playing tricks on me.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fJqNiU92pE

DeAndre Liggins – Kentucky

Yet another Kentucky product in for a workout and again, another underclassmen who might not be drafted.  Coach Calipari is known for his athletic and ball-dominant guards.  It’s hard to get a read on a player like this who played their college game in a system that doesn’t highlight role players.

Measurements:

  • Height:  6′-5″ w/o shoes; 6′-6.5″ w/ shoes.
  • Weight:  210-pounds; 5.4% body fat.
  • Wingspan:  6′-11.25″
  • Standing Reach:  8′-8″

Testing:

  • Vertical: 29.5″ no step vert; 32.5″ max vert.
  • Strength: N/A.
  • Agility Drills: Lane agility- N/A; 3/4 court sprint- 4.04 seconds.

Thoughts on DeAndre Liggins:

Not a bad showing for the Kentucky product.  Liggins hit a couple of nice jumpers from deep over the top of Leonard and he did a nice job of bodying up his man.  He has good size and a very long reach so he might be able to make a living as a perimeter defender either in the NBDL or NBA.

Small Forwards

Kawhi Leonard – San Diego State

Earlier in the week, we profiled Kawhi Leonard so there is really no need to re-invent the wheel, here is what we wrote:

Last season, the prerequisite for the position entailed two things – an ability to shoot from the perimeter and a defensive presence.  After struggling to 24 wins, small forward was exposed as the Kings’ biggest weakness last season.  It’s why Leonard is being so closely examined with Sacramento’s seventh pick.

He’s not the perimeter shooter (29.1% three pointers) the Kings need.  But Leonard does fit the mold of a defender.  Leonard has an incredible 7′-3″ wingspan and is armed with some of the largest hands the combine has ever seen.  His 11.25″-wide mitts are tied for the second largest measured hands since the combine started recording them.  Although his vertical leap, both standing (25.5″) and max (32.0), leave something to be desired, Leonard’s long arms and oversized hands have made him one of college basketball’s elite rebounders at 10.6 boards per game.

With Marcus Thornton, Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins primed to be the Kings’ primary scorers, Leonard might appeal as a starting small forward that can guard the NBA’s elite wing players.  Known for his high character and excellent work ethic, he would also be a welcome addition to the Kings as a Doug Christie type, who could sacrifice his game for the betterment of the team.

Measurements:

  • Height:  6′-6″ w/o shoes; 6′-7″ w/ shoes.
  • Weight:  227-pounds; 5.4% body fat.
  • Wingspan:  7′-3″
  • Standing Reach:  8′-10″

Testing:

  • Vertical:  25.5″ no step vert; 32.0″ max vert.
  • Strength: 3 reps on bench press (185-pounds).
  • Agility Drills: Lane agility- 11.45 seconds; 3/4 court sprint- 3.15 seconds.

Thoughts on Kawhi Leonard:

Interesting to watch Leonard against a player like DeAndre Liggins.  Although he was brought in to be the “star” of the workouts, he didn’t really separate himself from his competition.  Leonard looked lost on the offensive end, both with the ball and without it.  He took a few jumpers, got away with an offensive foul before getting his own rebound and botched a nice pick and roll set up by McConnell.  Leonard did dominate the glass and defensively he looked competent against an offensively limited Liggins.  I wouldn’t doubt the Kings asking Leonard to make another trip to Sacramento early next week to to get a better gauge on things.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUv4PdterFI

Jamine Peterson – NBDL New Mexico T-Birds

Jamine Peterson is such a team player that he’ll stick around for tomorrow”s workout too. After a nice sophomore season at Providence, Peterson left the college game and tried his hand at the NBDL. A dominant rebounder for his size, Peterson fared well in the NBDL, improving his perimeter and free throw shooting to get ready for a jump to the next level.

Measurements:

  • Height: 6′-4.5″ w/o shoes; 6’5.5″ w/ shoes.
  • Weight: 239-pounds; 10.7 body fat.
  • Wingspan: 6′-10.5″
  • Standing Reach: 8′-6.5″

Testing:

  • Vertical: 30.5″ no step vert; 37.5″ max vert.
  • Strength: N/A.
  • Agility Drills: Lane agility- 9.16 seconds; 3/4 court sprint- 4.02 seconds.

Thoughts on Jamine Peterson:

Jamine Peterson is coming back in tomorrow for another workout so I will reserve judgement until I see a little more. First impression tell me he is a Reggie Evans type instigator who lacks height but has nice strength and length.

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About: James Ham

James Ham provides coverage through news analysis and in-depth interviews with Kings players and staff. James is also one of the producers behind the award-winning, independent documentary "Small Market, Big Heart". James graduated UC Davis with a degree in history and is happily married with two children.