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March Madness Preview: NBA Draft 2021 Prospect Watch

The best month of the sports year is here, and the 2021 NCAA Tournament is full of potential future NBA stars.

Welcome to the best time of the sports year! If you’re just tuning in to the college basketball season, I’ve got great news for you - a whole bunch of the top 2021 NBA Draft prospects are playing in the NCAA Tournament this year. According to the composite Big Board our buddy Brett Huff runs, 18 of the top 30 consensus players are tipping off on Friday or Saturday, so there will be plenty of chances to watch future NBA players.

But before we get into the top players, let’s take a moment and appreciate all the NCAA players who kept this sport going this crazy, crazy year. While the players we’re going to be discussing today will all play professional basketball in one league or another, a majority of the players who participated in college basketball this year won’t. And unlike most years—where it’s only moderately difficult to enjoy a billion-dollar sports league that doesn’t directly pay the players for the entertainment they provide or even let them receive pay for the use of their name and likeness—the COVID-19 pandemic made this season even more of a moral conundrum. Hundreds of games were canceled or postponed. Teenagers had to upend their lives to follow safety protocols just to play the dang game. The Stanford Cardinal, a preseason sleeper in the Pac-12, opted to play their games in Santa Cruz and live out of a hotel in response to Santa Clara County’s ban on contact sports. And the Kansas Jayhawks and Virginia Cavaliers - both ranked squads who made the NCAA Tournament - had to pull out of their conference tournaments due to positive COVID tests within their programs.

I’ll take nothing away from the young men and women who chose to play in any collegiate sport this year, but it’s really easy for me as an Armchair Scout to whisper “there shouldn’t be any unpaid sports happening this year” and then fully enjoy watching Cade Cunningham, Evan Mobley, and Jalen Suggs dominate. This is a top heavy draft class to be sure, but those three (as well as Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga of the GLeague Ignite program) combine to make this one of the most exciting, top heavy NBA Draft classes in recent memory. So cheers to all the players, coaches, and support staff who helped make this season possible - now pay your players, god damnit.

Now that the Madness is upon us, join the 1st Annual Kings Herald Bracket Challenge on ESPN! -  (The password is ZeroPicksGiven).

Here are some NBA prospects to keep your eye on during the tournament run, roughly ranked according to my ever-changing Kings-Centric Big Board. As we get further into the Madness, I’ll dive into more prospects, so if I haven’t covered your draft sleeper, leave a comment! All stats come from Synergy Sports, sports-reference.com, Tankathon.com, or hoop-math.com.

Cade Cunningham

Forward/Supercomputer Playing Basketball, Oklahoma State, 6’8, 220 lbs, 19 Years Old at Draft (YOAD)

Next Game: Friday, March 19 vs. Liberty, 3:25 p.m., TBS

In case you haven’t heard, Cade Cunningham is pretty freaking good - per 40 minutes, he’s averaging 20.2 points, 6.3 rebounds,3.6 assists, and 1.4 steals while shooting 45% from the field, 41% from deep (2.2 made threes a game), and 85% from the line. He’s basically a supercomputer stuffed into a Cowboys jersey, and can do pretty much anything on the basketball court; he’s an insane, instinctual passer, shoots 64% around the rim in the half-court, and has become a knock-down sniper from deep.

There’s been a lot of chatter lately about his turnover numbers, and while 4.2 a game would be a concern for any initiator, it ignores his role as the one-and-only-full-stop engine on an otherwise cellar dwelling Big 12 team. The Cowboys are a scrappy, high-motor squad that has fully accepted Cunningham as the star they all orbit… a good outcome, because they otherwise lack surefire-NBA-calibur players at the moment (although Kalib Boone might have a case in a few years). And yet, Oklahoma State is 9-5 against currently ranked teams, and Cade averaged 23, 7, 3, and 46% shooting in those games. And anyone worried if Cade has the chops to be a top option in the NBA needs to watch him handle Big 12 defenses that were FULLY locked on him - opponents regularly triple-team him, but he keeps finding ways to get around them. He can absolutely become a leading scorer in the NBA.

Don’t be surprised when Cade drops 40 on Liberty in the 1st round. If we’re lucky, we might get a Oklahoma State/Tennessee matchup in the 2nd round - watching Cunningham vs. Keon Johnson, Jaden Springer, and WorldEnder Yves Pons will be an Armchair Scout’s heaven.

Cunningham is a basketball demigod waiting to be unleashed by NBA teammates and spacing; given his instincts, unique combination of skills, and combination of size and versatility, he should be at the top of every team’s draft board. He’s the 1st pick in an excellent, top-heavy draft class that has at least four guys I’d have taken #1 last season.

Evan Mobley

Big, USC, 7’0, 210 lbs, 20 Years Old at Draft (YOAD)

Next Game: Saturday, March 20 vs. winner of Wichita State/Drake, 1:30 p.m., TNT

Mobley has all the skills, physical tools, and basketball awareness to become a star big man in the modern NBA. He’s averaging 16.8 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 3.0 steals, and 58% from the field for the Trojans this season, and flashes everything squads want for a new-age big; he’s versatile in the paint, a damn great playmaker for his position, and he can cover ground insanely quick for his size. Once Mobley gets into an NBA weightroom and bulks up, there's a real chance he becomes a true, hyper-switchable defensive anchor at the next level.

His efficiency as a shooter has varied over the course of the season (he’s currently at 31.4% from deep and 69.5% from the line), but his stroke is smooth, his release point high, and it’s clear he knows it’s an area of focus going forward. His insane 7’5 wingspan slows down his shot, but also keeps it out of the range of defenders; he’s in the 88th percentile for shots off the dribble this year (27 attempts) and 68th percentile in jump shots in the halfcourt (78 attempts).

The major criticism all season of Mobley’s game has been his low shot volume; while USC is an alright offensive squad, it’s insane that Evan has only averaged 10.4 field goal attempts per game this season. Can he be an offensive focus and leading scorer of an NBA team in a few years? Absolutely - everything he does on offense is scalable, and a smart NBA coach can unlock so many offensive options through Mobley. His run in the Pac-12 Tournament backs up that optimism; against Utah and Colorado, he had 26 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists in both games. He has to know the Trojan’s only hope in the NCAA Tournament is for him to start staring on offense.

Jalen Suggs

Guard, Gonzaga, 6’4, 205 lbs, 19 YOAD

Next Game: Saturday, March 20 vs. winner of Norfolk State/Appalachian State, 6:20 p.m., TBS

Jalen Suggs is the best Gonzaga prospect ever, playing on the best Gonzaga team ever, and is the biggest reason why I’m picking the Bulldogs to win the Championship (a sentence I hoped I’d never have to write). Suggs is averaging 14.3 points, 4.5 assists, 5.5 rebounds, and 2.0 steals a contest while shooting 51% from the field and 35% from deep. He's crafty with the basketball, tosses some absolute DIMES, and can get hot from deep in a heartbeat. His skillset is tailor made to be a lead guard at the next level… although with his 6’4 size and total willingness to do whatever necessary to fit in with a hyper-deep Gonzaga team, I’m convinced that he could learn to play on an NBA squad that already has primary initiators in place...

If you like watching fun basketball, make sure you watch a Gonzaga game or two over the tournament. Given the Zag’s title-favorite status, it’s fair to say that Suggs may be the Tournament’s most important player (although there is a case that sharpshooter senior Corey Kispert, a lottery-talent to many draft experts, is the real Gonzaga MVP).

Moses Moody

Wing, Arkansas, 6’6, 205 lbs, 19 YOAD

Next Game: Friday, March 19 vs. Colgate, 9:45 a.m., truTV

Arkansas is a gritty, physical, high-scoring squad (coached by our old friend Eric Musselman), and Moses Moody makes it all work for the Razorbacks. He’s averaging 17.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.1 steals per game while shooting 44% from the field, 38% from deep (with 2 made 3s a game), and 82% from the line (5.9 FTA per game); with an insane 7’1 wingspan and strong instincts on both end, he’s the classes' top 3-and-D prospect outside of the top tier of players.

While Moody is somewhat of a streaky scorer (he went on a big cold streak to open Conference play), he’s such a well-rounded player that he always finds ways to contribute even when his shot isn’t falling. And since the beginning of February, he’s been on fire - 18.8 points, 6.6 rebounds, 42% from deep, and 84% from the line. If Arkansas keeps the offense going through him, he has a chance to be a March Madness star - but that’s no sure thing, considering he had 20 points in the first few minutes of the SEC Conference semifinal loss to LSU, only for Mussleman to run almost nothing through him the rest of the half.

Make sure you watch the Razorbacks this March: their opening game against Colgate, the number two scoring squad in the nation, is my absolute favorite game in the 1st round. In my opinion, outside of the top 5 players in this draft class, Moody has the best combination of high floor and high ceiling.

James Bouknight

Wing, UConn, 6’5, 190 lbs, 20 YOAD

Next Game: Saturday, March 20 vs. Maryland, 4:10 p.m., CBS

Bouknight is a scoring dynamo, capable of lighting it up from all three levels and throwing down vicious dunks on unsuspecting defenders. The springy sophomore averaged 19 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.9 assists (albeit with a 0.6/1 assist-turnover ratio) per game this season, and shot 45% from the field, 30% from deep, and 81% from the line. He’s got insane athleticism and body control that let’s him play far above his 6’5 size.

 

While the Huskies are a 7th seed, they’d likely be higher if Bouknight had been healthy all year; when he missed time due to an elbow injury, UConn was just 4-4, but when James played, they were 11-3. The Huskies are my sleeper pick for a surprising Final Four spot… Bouknight’s Big East tournament run wasn’t the stuff of legends (he averaged just 12 points on 32% shooting), but he’s capable of going supernova at any moment. He’s got all the tools needed to become a March legend.

Scottie Barnes

Forward, Florida State, 6’9, 225 lbs, 19 YOAD

Next Game: Saturday, March 20 vs. UNC Greensboro, 9:45 a.m., truTV

Scottie Barnes is one heck of a confusing player; if you made a basketball player in the laboratory to test my draft preferences, you couldn’t have come up with a more complex prospect. He’s a 6’9 tank with insane defensive versatility, capable of floating on the perimeter with guards and handling his business down low against bigs. He’s a damn ball-hawk, snagging an incredible 2.4 steals per 40 minutes, and despite going maximum effort at all times, he’s yet to foul out of a game this season. He could very likely be a defensive culture setter for a young squad from day one.

On offense, he’s played as a jumbo initiator for Florida State this year, averaging 6.8 assists per 40 minutes. Synergy notes that when you consider both his individual points and assists in the halfcourt, his points per possession would rank in the 93rd percentile across all collegiate players. But his offensive value outside of his playmaking is more of a question mark, and he needs to continue to develop as a shooter (just 29% from downtown, and 33% overall on catch-and-shoot shots) and prove he can score in the halfcourt. Fortunately, he’s been on hot streak to enter the tournament; in his last three games, he’s averaging 16.3 points per game on 70% shooting. If he can keep it up and help lead the Seminoles to a few wins, there are some sweet potential Sweet 16 matchups against either Michigan, LSU, or St. Bonaventure.

Franz Wagner

Forward, Michigan, 6’8, 205 lbs, 19 YOAD

Next Game: Saturday, March 20 vs. winner of Mount St. Mary's/Texas Southern, 12:00 p.m., CBS

Wagner is a jack-of-all-trade, secret-master-of-them-all type player whose versatility and instincts will make him a quick fit in the NBA next season; 12.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.4 steals, 1.1 blocks, and 49% shooting from the floor and 38% from deep. He’s not a high-volume scorer (and will need to carry a bigger workload in the tournament, as Isaiah Livers is out with a foot injury), but he’s got a big bag of tricks and everything in his game seems immediately scalable at the next level.

If you want a full breakdown of Wagner’s NBA ceiling, I implore you to check out Jake Rosen’s fantastic article. Here’s hoping we get Scottie Barnes vs. Franz Wagner in the Sweet 16!

Other Potential 1st Round Prospects to Watch:

  • Keon Johnson, Wing, Tennessee, 6’5, 186 lbs, 19 YOAD (Friday, March 19 vs. Oregon State, 1:30 p.m., TNT)
  • Jaden Springer, Combo Guard, Tennessee, 6’4, 205 lbs, 18 YOAD (Friday, March 19 vs. Oregon State, 1:30 p.m., TNT)
  • Corey Kispert, Wing, Gonzaga, 6’7, 220 lbs, 22 YOAD (Saturday, March 20 vs. winner of Norfolk State/Appalachian State, 6:20 p.m., TBS)
  • Kai Jones, Big, Texas, 6’11, 220 lbs, 20 YOAD (Saturday, March 20 vs. Abilene Christian, 6:50 p.m., truTV)
  • Greg Brown, Power Forward, Texas, 6’9, 205 lbs, 19 YOAD (Saturday, March 20 vs. Abilene Christian, 6:50 p.m., truTV)
  • Ayo Dosunmu, Wing, Illinois, 6’6, 200 lbs, 21 YOAD (Friday, March 19 vs. Drexel, 10:15 a.m., TBS)
  • Cam Thomas, Off-Ball Guard, LSU, 6’4, 210 lbs, 19 YOAD (Saturday, March 20 vs. St. Bonaventure, 10:45 a.m., TNT)
  • Day'Ron Sharpe, Center, North Carolina, 6’11, 265 lbs, 19 YOAD (Friday, March 19 vs. Wisconsin, 4:10 p.m., CBS)
  • Jared Butler, Guard, Baylor, 6’3, 190 lbs, 21 YOAD (Friday, March 19 vs. Hartford, 12:20 p.m., truTV)
  • Davion Mitchell, Guard, Baylor, 6’2, 205 lbs, 22 YOAD (Friday, March 19 vs. Hartford, 12:20 p.m., truTV)
  • Chris Duarte, Wing, Oregon, 6’6, 190 lbs, 24 YOAD (Saturday, March 20 vs. VCU, 6:57 p.m., TNT)
  • Terrence Shannon Jr., Wing, Texas Tech, 6’6, 210 lbs, 20 YOAD (Friday, March 19 vs. Utah State, 10:45 a.m., TNT)
  • Nah'Shon Hyland, Guard, VCU, 6’3, 170 lbs, 20 YOAD (Saturday, March 20 vs. Oregon, 6:57 p.m., TNT)
  • Miles McBride, Guard, West Virginia, 6’2, 200 lbs, 20 YOAD (Friday, March 19 vs. Morehead State, 6:50 p.m., truTV)
  • Tre Mann, Guard, Florida, 6’5, 190 lbs, 20 YOAD (Friday, March 19 vs. Virginia Tech, 9:15 a.m., CBS)
  • Aaron Henry, Wing, Michigan State, 6’6, 210 lbs, 21 YOAD (Saturday, March 20 vs. BYU, 6:40 p.m., CBS)
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RORDOG
March 18, 2021 12:06 pm

I know that the FO won’t evaluate players this way, but I’ll probably be evaluating all these prospects based on how they’d fit in as the fifth starter with Fox/Hali/Barnes/Holmes. It feels like Wagner, Moody, Ja. Springer, Kispert, and Keon Johnson are the best fit outside of the top 5 guys.

Kingofkings2410
March 18, 2021 12:42 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

I’d put Barnes ahead of any those players by a pretty wide margin

MidtownMike
March 18, 2021 1:20 pm

He has Barnes in his starting lineup. He would either fit in the SF or PF role with the draft pick.

Kingofkings2410
March 18, 2021 2:17 pm
Reply to  MidtownMike

I was referring to picking Scotty Barnes in the draft.. rather than picking any of the dudes that rordog thinks would be a good pick.

BigDrewbot
March 18, 2021 2:59 pm

we should collect every Barnes (except Matt Barnes)

richie88
March 18, 2021 3:14 pm
Reply to  BigDrewbot

Matt Barnes was previously collected.

BigDrewbot
March 18, 2021 3:51 pm
Reply to  richie88

d’oh – meant to add Matt Barnes again! 🙂

MidtownMike
March 18, 2021 3:06 pm

haha oh okay

RORDOG
March 18, 2021 1:57 pm

cool.

keith_kar
March 18, 2021 2:14 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

Barnes is gonna be a King next season? Seems highly doubtful to me. We’ll see though.

RORDOG
March 18, 2021 2:25 pm
Reply to  keith_kar

We’ll see. Reading between the lines, it sounds like the Kings aren’t getting any offers for Barnes that will help them compete next season. That 4-man lineup has been excellent so far this season (+15.6 Net Rtg in 247 MP). I’m just curious about how good this team could be if they added a wing in the draft to fill the 5th starter spot and moved Buddy to 6th man.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
March 18, 2021 2:50 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

If Barnes were to stay, I think someone with the maturity and game like Kispert could be a welcome piece to the starting lineup.

Fox, Hali, Kispert, Barnes, and Holmes with Buddy off the bench could be…something?

RORDOG
March 18, 2021 4:15 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Yeah it’s basically a thought exercise more than trying to build a big board. It’s interesting to think about how they could build a playoff caliber team starting next season. The most straightforward way would be to make Buddy the super 6th man and find a player in the draft that fits with those 4 starters. They’d still need to fill out the bench, but it’s not that hard to find competent role players in free agency.

MidtownMike
March 18, 2021 4:28 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

Yup, if they get a competent coach they are closer than many think.

I’m okay with keeping everyone if we can resign Holmes, but I’d want to strategically start playing youth and stop all minutes for cojo immediately

Wilson
March 18, 2021 3:38 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

Yes, Buddy to the bench, please. Our bench hasn’t been very good and Buddy could help.

richie88
March 18, 2021 3:22 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

I’ll evaluate prospects based on their fit w/Fox & Hali, but their fit w/Barnes & Holmes won’t affect my evaluation of them.

Last edited 4 months ago by richie88
murraytant
March 18, 2021 5:57 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

After top 5 who are really the top 5, IMO the next best are Bouknight, Moody, S. Barnes and Wagner. I think Kispert is Wally Szerbiak. Not sure at all about the two Tennessee guys. ( Springer and Johnson)
Can S. Barnes score? Can Wagner score? Can Bouknight defend? Moody is a poor man’s A. Edwards. Are either of the Tennessee guys better than Moody or Bouknight?
Cam Thomas from LSU is rated lower but was top freshman scorer.
I also look at who can a guy guard.
Top 5 are solid and some of the next 5 are interesting.
Kings have 3 picks second round- Sac, Memphis and LAL.
Right now- outside of top 5- Bouknight, Moody, S Barnes

Want-to-be-gm
March 18, 2021 8:17 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

First of all, the Kings are in no position to draft by need. They just need to get the best player available as they see it. Second, I doubt anyone on this board is in any position to start recommending players. These advance scouts have been watching almost every move all these guys have made since 8th grade and often they miss so let’s just wait and see what happens. Even then it may take 2:years to judge how well each team performed.

Otis
March 19, 2021 6:41 am
Reply to  Want-to-be-gm

It feels like, at this point, you’re still struggling to understand the concept of a sports message board.

Want-to-be-gm
March 19, 2021 9:40 am
Reply to  Otis

I never pegged you for the touchy-feely type. If that’s your new persona, congratulations I guess.

RORDOG
March 19, 2021 8:00 am
Reply to  Want-to-be-gm

Did you take the time to read anything I said before you formed your opinion about what I said?

BestHyperboleEver
March 19, 2021 11:55 am
Reply to  Want-to-be-gm

By this rationale there’s zero reason to discuss anything here, since nobody on this board has the experience or resources of the people in the org. But what else are we going to do? Work? Be productive members of society? Screw that.

Want-to-be-gm
March 19, 2021 4:10 pm

I think you meant than to be light but it’s actually very deep.

By thine own palace or thy world’s a jail

1951
March 18, 2021 12:08 pm

After listening to Amick and CD you better focus on where and when to watch the prospects projected to go in the 7-12 range!

TheGrantNapear
March 18, 2021 12:14 pm

Sounds like Vivek is Viveking again and wanting to hold onto Buddy and HB and not tank, per reports. Hoping this is posturing. This team isn’t making the playoffs.

Falconsfury
March 18, 2021 12:16 pm
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

per Howard Beck (SI):
One of the things I heard was that essentially they’re only going to trade Barnes and Hield if they’re blown away by an offer. Not because they overvalue them, but because Vivek Ranadive wants to be competitive. He doesn’t want to tank.”


andy_sims
March 18, 2021 1:05 pm
Reply to  Falconsfury

That’s a very different thing than what’s asserted in the comment to which you replied. Thank you for having information based on something that has actually happened.

1951
March 18, 2021 2:30 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

There are multiple reports and reporters discussing this and what was written in the first comment has been suggested.

Last edited 4 months ago by 1951
andy_sims
March 18, 2021 2:49 pm
Reply to  1951

I’m gonna go ahead and file that under “some guy says that the Kings are working on something significant.”

Last edited 4 months ago by andy_sims
1951
March 18, 2021 4:01 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Okay. I give reporters like Sam Amick more credit than that but that’s just me.

RORDOG
March 18, 2021 4:25 pm
Reply to  1951

To me, this feels like the front office leaking info about Vivek meddling to get him to back off. Something similar happened after Bogi signed the offer from Atlanta. There were leaks that Vivek wasn’t letting McNair do his job. Ultimately, McNair prevailed. Hopefully, things play out similarly this time around.

murraytant
March 18, 2021 5:59 pm
Reply to  Falconsfury

Bless Howard Beck but despite what Vivek wants, functionally, the Kings are indeed tanking.

Amonk81
March 18, 2021 9:34 pm
Reply to  Falconsfury

I’d like to take a moment here to say…..

…Fu&& off Vivek. Still can’t figure out you’re the reason the Kings are consistently atrocious?

Guess Kings will have to get lucky and win despite V but it’s a low percentage. Frustrating. The ego of this guy

KingBob
March 18, 2021 12:43 pm
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

He’s gotta put a competitive product on the floor for all those cardboard fans that attend each game.

Kingofkings2410
March 18, 2021 12:39 pm

Outside of top 5, gotta target Scottie Barnes. Top 4, grab kuminga. Gotta be one of those 2 if Kings are picking between 3-7

reydarly
March 18, 2021 11:45 pm

I completely agree on Scottie Barnes outside the top 5. We have a top 10 offense as currently constructed. We dont necessarily need more scoring, though you can never have too much. If we make no moves at the deadline he is the best choice outside the top 5 for us. He has defensive versatility, tenacity, high BBIQ, and playmaking.

RobHessing
March 18, 2021 1:00 pm

Last place bracket happily submitted – thanks for setting this up!

andy_sims
March 18, 2021 1:03 pm

A lot of good options, regardless of where Sacramento ends up in the lottery. Cunningham and Mobley would obviously be fantastic, and while what Suggs does is less of a need here, you don’t pass on that kind of talent. If Ohio State wanted him to play quarterback, that’s a strong positive for this Buckeye.

The additional appeal for me with Cunningham is that while he’s clearly got playmaking skills, that wouldn’t need to be a priority for him as part of the offense with Fox & Haliburton running things. He’d still end up being a de facto point forward at times, and you can’t have too many guys who can make great passes.

Moody, Bouknight, and Barnes all seem like they’d be easy to work into lineups, and have a lot of upside.

Hard no to Mo Wagner’s younger brother, Fritz or whatever. The last interior big that came out of that school that was worth a shit was Chris Webber. I’ll allow arguments for Mo Taylor, but they’ll need to be awfully convincing.

I think there will be excellent choices available, but I’d still appreciate a harder lean into the tank.

rockbottom
March 18, 2021 2:18 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Johanna Howard anyone !

Kingofkings2410
March 18, 2021 2:27 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Definitely agree about Scottie Barnes, he seems like a great fit next to Fox and Hali. He would shore up some defensive deficiencies but not hamper the offense by any means. I’m not as high up on Cunningham as many many folks are (For the Kings specifically).. the reason is because he has play making skills, however, his defense and toughness is lacking. We have 2 good ball handlers in Fox and Hali. We need an athletic 6-8/6-10 tough small forward. Scottie Barnes or kuminga, nobody else.

andy_sims
March 18, 2021 2:50 pm

Solid observations, all.

Kingofkings2410
March 18, 2021 3:32 pm
Reply to  Bryant

Cunningham will probably a very good scorer in the league but he probably isn’t going to be a very good defender. The kings need a very good lock down defender to disrupt some of the great offensive players in the west alone, not to mention the East. Booker, doncic, Leonard, James, mccollem etc. That’s one the glaring weaknesses of the kings. They have to have somebody who can take on those assignments. I get trying to do that as a committee but somebody on the team needs to be a great defender to slow a great offensive weapon down. Nothing against your take on Cunningham, I just believe he won’t be ideal for the Kings.

BestHyperboleEver
March 18, 2021 3:49 pm

I don’t see any reason to believe Cunningham won’t be an above average defender in the NBA. While he doesn’t quite have Kuminga’s physical attributes, his awareness advantage could very easily make him a better overall defender in the NBA.

murraytant
March 18, 2021 6:05 pm

If Kings get #1 and don’t pick Cunningham, I can hear it already. I agree with fit comments. There are some players- Luka, Cade, Trae Young , Harden that require a special team around them. He does not fit here.
Hope not to have that choice, in a way. Kuminga would be great, Green as well and Mobley too Not as sold on Suggs.
Question on Barnes- can he shoot? He is unique other wise. ((Hmm……maybe like Hali?)

Want-to-be-gm
March 18, 2021 8:22 pm
Reply to  murraytant

Those guys can play on any team. They don’t require a special team around them. Have you been watching Harden lately. That’s the kind of thinking that probably cost us Luka. Great players like Luka can adapt to any situation.

BestHyperboleEver
March 19, 2021 11:51 am
Reply to  murraytant

I think this comment pretty off. Trae certainly forces some accomodations at other positions, though his offense makes it more than worth it. The other 3 guys mentioned are easy fits anywhere in the league.

MidtownMike
March 18, 2021 1:19 pm

Not the ideal thread for it but a draft pick is involved soooooooo….

If we DID trade Barnes for whatever prospects and the Boston 1st would A) Sacramento trade Buddy plus the Boston 1st to NOP for Ball and B) would NOP do that?

How it fits in this thread is, what’s the value of say the 20-24th pick plus Buddy and his contract vs Ball and his new contract.

Thoughts?

vladefather
March 18, 2021 3:30 pm
Reply to  MidtownMike

I’ve thought about that trade and get caught up on what’s Ball’s added value? I like the player that he has become and see a great deal of growth left with him. But we have Fox and Hali, and I doubt Ball will want to come off the bench.

kgdobter
March 18, 2021 3:45 pm
Reply to  vladefather

But at least he wouldn’t have to duck Fox anymore.

MidtownMike
March 18, 2021 3:55 pm
Reply to  vladefather

With his size, defense and new shot I legit think he could play the SF spot for us.

Fox
Hali
Ball
Bags (?)
Holmes

vladefather
March 18, 2021 4:07 pm
Reply to  MidtownMike

I never thought about slotting him in as SF. That’s an excellent idea. His defense could make up for a little of the size lost.
But it looks like the Knicks will push for him in the off-season, potentially moving his salary near Buddy levels.

MidtownMike
March 18, 2021 4:30 pm
Reply to  vladefather

Which is why you would have to trade for him now

vladefather
March 18, 2021 4:08 pm
Reply to  MidtownMike

How much would you pay Ball in free agency?

MidtownMike
March 18, 2021 4:30 pm
Reply to  vladefather

I think because of his name alone he is going to command around a 15’ish mil a year price tag

If his shot stays then he gives you a legit 3 and D PLUS playmaking. I think it’s worth it and would really really consider trading buddy for a bag of chips at that point haha

Last edited 4 months ago by MidtownMike
Want-to-be-gm
March 18, 2021 8:25 pm
Reply to  MidtownMike

I can provide some information on the value of late first round picks.

Over the past 20 years, late first round picks (21-30), have produced 9 all stars and 5 players who had multiple all star appearances. Those 5 players are Rajon Rondo (4), David Lee (2), Tony Parker (6), Michael Finley (2), Kyle Lowery (2). So out of 200 players drafted, less than 5% ever made an all star appearance. Something to consider when trading for a late first round pick.  200 draft picks in the late first round, have produced only 9 all stars. 

rockbottom
March 19, 2021 8:36 am
Reply to  Want-to-be-gm

Jimmy Butler was no. 30 as well as late firsts Gobert, Parker, Randle, Lavine and Middleton ! Plus a few 2nd rounders like Jokic and I Thomas ! All All Stars ! Every draft produces some stars late ! Gold is where you find it ! All time classic is Ginoble at 58 !

christkills
March 18, 2021 4:07 pm

I really like Wagner’s game. He’s not good enough to justify a top 5 pick in this draft but if the Kings pick in the 6-12 range I think he would be a great pick. Versatile, tall, good length and improving size, good ball handling and improving three point shooting. Plus, the dude has a tantalizing defensive game. And he can slot in comfortably as a three or a four. With him, fox, halliburton and holmes I think you have a very solid core to build with.

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