If they fall: Dante Exum, Noah Vonleh and Julius Randle
With the draft just a day away, the Sacramento Kings are primed to make a big splash. They have been actively fielding offers for the eighth overall pick, but blockbuster draft day trades rarely come to fruition. There is talent at No. 8, but there is also uncertainty. Who do the Kings like? Who will make it all the way to down to eight when the Kings are on the clock? And lastly, if someone tumbles in the draft, will Pete D’Alessandro forego his trade plans and jump on a player the Kings thought would be out of their range?
The top two are set. Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker will both be off the board when the Philadelphia 76ers step to the stage with the third overall pick. Outside of those two, there are talented players that can go anywhere from three to eight.
The game we’re playing today is easy. Would the Kings take them if they fell and how would they fit in with the team that Sacramento is building?
What if Dante Exum falls to the Sacramento Kings?
Jonathan Santiago: That’s an easy one. I take him without any hesitation. Exum may be raw, but he’s a player with star potential written all over him. The thing I like most about Exum is his shiftiness. Guards need to be capable of playing at different speeds to keep the defenses off balance and Exum fits the mold. He doesn’t have great form on his shot, but I think that can be easily fixed with proper coaching as long as he puts in the effort. He’s also a 6’6, point guard. It’s not very often you find playmakers that size with the kind of upside Exum has.
James Ham: It’s funny that we like Exum without even meeting the kid, but we didn’t like a very similar player in Michael Carter-Williams last season. If Exum makes it to eight, the Kings run to the bank and deal the pick. The Australian born point guard has major upside, but like Ben McLemore, he is a long way from being an NBA regular. It wouldn’t matter who the Kings frontline consisted of, the pairing of B-Mac and Exum would be a disaster. Trade the pick.
What if Noah Vonleh falls to the Kings?
JS: That’s a tough one. I am a fan of the skill-set that Vonleh possesses. He’s athletic, long and can potentially function as a stretch four at the next level. However, he’s a player who’s really made a name for himself through workouts ahead of this year’s draft, rather than for his play during his one season at Indiana. Vonleh has all the measurables that would suggest he can be a pretty good player in the league, but that only gets you so far. Even though he’s a project like Exum, I don’t think he has the same kind of star potential as the Australian guard. Because of that, I would rather trade the pick than draft him if were on the board when the Kings are officially on the clock.
JH: Vonleh is a late riser in the draft process and I am always leery of drafting “that guy”. Teams have seen a different side during the draft season out of the 18-year-old from Indiana. After looking like a post player in his one year of college, Vonleh is being talked about as a stretch four. I don’t buy it. This is another long term project and a major boom or bust pick in this draft. Lots of teams are clamoring for this kid and I say let them have at it. Trade the pick.
What if Julius Randle falls to the Kings?
JS: I’d take him without any questions asked. Even if say Aaron Gordon or Marcus Smart are still on the board, I think Randle would be the best player available of the bunch. He’s already a very good scorer for a player who just completed his freshman season at Kentucky. Randle definitely has more room to grow because he’s just 19. I’m not as leery about his own foot issues as I am about Joel Embiid’s, but then again I’m also not a doctor. He may not be the best fit next to DeMarcus Cousins because both players need to have the ball in their hands on offense to be successful. But again, he’d likely be the best player available on the board if he’s there for the taking when the Kings pick eighth.
JH: Man, this kid has career 18 points and nine rebounds per game written all over him. There are question-marks with his health, but Randle is a skilled big man in the mold of Zach Randolph. He has handles and all kinds of tools to succeed at the next level. While he is not a great fit next to DeMarcus Cousins, I don’t think you can pass up on a talent like this. Keep the pick and send thank you cards to seven other general managers.