The Sacramento Kings concluded their pre-draft process today, bringing in a group headlined by Lehigh’s C.J. McCollum and Steven Adams out of Pitt. With the draft just three days away, this was the last workout for all players involved.
This was McCollum’s second visit to Sacramento, joining UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad and New Mexico’s Tony Snell as the only three prospects to get a call back. The Kings brought in defensive minded Myck Kabongo to give McCollum a solid test and by all accounts, he impressed once again.
- Age: 19
- Position: Center
- College: Pittsburgh
- Height: 7-0
- Weight: 255 lbs.
- Chad Ford’s Top 100 Ranking: 11
- Quick Breakdown: A high-risk, high-reward pick with tremendous speed and agility for a big man.
Analysis: The giant New Zealander has been turning heads this draft season with his incredible work ethic and aggressive play. The 7-footer out of Pitt boasts a tremendous 7-foot-4.5-inch wingspan and is physically ready to play at the NBA level. He is still rough around the edges, but the size, strength and athleticism are there.
“Steven Adams is just a bulldog,” C.J. McCollum told media members. “He destroys everything. He just dunks everything.”
Known for his hustle and post play, Adams showed an ability to step away from the basket and hit the 15-18-foot jumper, although it wasn’t pretty. The 19-year-old shoots one handed, even on long jumpers and will need an overhaul at the next level.
Adams has been holding strong around No. 10 in most mock drafts. He definitely has an NBA frame, but whether he can perform at a consistently high level is still in question.
- Age: 21
- Position: Guard
- College: Lehigh
- Height: 6-3
- Weight: 197 lbs.
- Chad Ford’s Top 100 Ranking: 8
- Quick Breakdown: Possesses a quick first step, good shooter and is at his best in transition. Strong rebounder, but isn’t overly athletic.
Analysis: McCollum is the most intriguing player the Kings have brought in this draft season. Is he the next Damian Lillard or Steph Curry? No one will know for sure until he steps foot on an NBA floor. What we do know is that he is an incredibly bright young man both on and off it.
“I’m pretty even keel right now,” the confident McCollum told media members. “This is what I worked for all of my life. This is what I expected. I expected to be in this position. I kind of dedicated my life, dedicated my soul to this game.”
It’s hard not to like this kid. He is a jack-of-all-trades guard that has shown an incredible ability to adapt at the college level. When his coach needed more rebounding, he stepped up. When his coach needed him to run the point, he made the necessary adjustments.
McCollum will be the first ever draft pick out of Lehigh University on Thursday night and he thinks he has done enough to convince teams he can play at the next level. He is also reading and listening to what people are putting out there about him as a player.
“I’m my own biggest critic,” McCollum said. “No matter what you guys print up about me or say, I hold myself to a higher standard. I’m not ashamed of my game. I know what I’m good at and what I’m not good at and I know what to expect from myself.”
Whether the Kings select McCollum or not depends greatly on how the six picks go before them, but it is obvious that Sacramento is intrigued by the 21-year-old college graduate.
“C.J. is a very polished individual,” head coach Michael Malone said after today’s workout. “Very smart kid and he’s a very talented player. He can really shoot the ball and he proved that he could handle the ball very well today.”
Coach Malone was quick to say that the Kings will keep all options open going forward. Outside of McCollum, Adams, Trey Burke and Shabazz Muhammad, the Kings have not seen many of the projected top ten picks. If a talent like Ben McLemore or Anthony Bennett falls into their lap at seven, there is no telling what direction the Kings will go.