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Bryant West’s 2022 NBA Draft Big Board

The 2022 NBA Draft is finally here, and our resident armchair scout Bryant West is here to break down his top 20.

The 2022 NBA Draft is finally here! While the Orlando Magic, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Houston Rockets hold the first three picks, it’s our own Sacramento Kings who may truly kick off the draft. Most prognosticators rank Jabari Smith Jr., Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero, and Jaden Ivey in some order as the top 4 picks, but does Monte McNair agree? Will the Kings stay pat at 4 if Ivey is left on the board? Will they trade down, trade up, trade out? Will they shock us all and draft someone other than Ivey or Keegan Murray at #4? McNair has surprised us before, and has a history of keeping his draft secrets close to the vest. I have no earthly idea what Monte McNair will do when the Kings are on the clock, and I think that this year, that’s the best way to approach the draft.

In my opinion, there are four top tier prospects in this class, and since the Kings sit at #4, I believe their pick should be simple enough. They shouldn’t overthink team fit and needs as opposed to talent. While Smith Jr. and Holmgren are both strong two-way fits for the Kings, Banchero and Ivey are less so on defense. Meanwhile, guys like Dyson Daniels, Jeremey Sochan, and especially Murray, are strong prospects who both fit the Kings needs now and have a ton of room to grow. Fit limitations—especially when you’re playing in basketball hell—may not be so simple to overcome as they would for most other non-Kangz rebuilding squads. That said, I truly believe the top four prospects all have star upside, and the Kings should swing for stars when they have the opportunity to do so.

The 2022 draft may lack a traditional automatic #1 overall pick, but the talent from spots 1 through 4, and then from 5 through the end of the lottery, seems as deep with NBA talent as any recent draft class outside of 2018. While I’ve been fairly concrete in my top 5 for a month now, I’ll admit that the rest of the lottery was much harder to rank this year than most years. It feels almost an insult to rank one of the top four prospects at #4, and any of the other lottery-level talents at #14 or lower. And should the Kings trade back from pick #4, I could see a real case for Monte to aim for pretty much anyone in the top 14 of my big board.

Below are my Top 20 KingsCentric rankings. Note that if a player's name is in purple, you can follow that link to a full player profile. Thanks for reading!

Tier 1

1. Jabari Smith Jr., Forward, Auburn, 19 years old, 6’10

Smith is an absolutely elite deep shooter and tough shot maker who backs it up with tenacious, physical defense. Shot 42% from three on a poorly-spaced Auburn team, and showed he could knock down shots off the catch, off the dribble, and off of movement. At 6’10 and with a 7’1 wingspan, his turnaround shot and quick catch-and-shoot release gives him an incredibly safe offensive floor, and what he did at Auburn can translate immediately to the next level. He’s got some clear weaknesses on offense; a lack of burst, touch, and coordination on drives and around the basket limits his three-level scoring, and he must improve his handle and playmaking instincts. But he’s the best shooting big prospect I’ve scouted, and backs it up by being an excellent, switchable defender, especially on the perimeter. While I wouldn’t draft him #1 for every team, I think he’s the best talent and the best fit for the Kings, and that the Kings are the best fit in the top 4 for Smith as well. 

2. Chet Holmgren, Big, Gonzaga, 20 years old, 7’1

One of the most unique prospects in recent years, Holmgrem has the highest two-way upside in the draft class and would be a great fit next to fellow Gonzaga Bulldog Domantas Sabonis. Holmgren is a dynamic rim protector, a promising scorer both around the basket and on the perimeter, and an all-around high-instinct, high-motor player. And despite being 7’1 with a 7’5 wingspan, he’s got coordination and fluidity that no player at that size should have. The concerns about his game all come back to his size—at just 195 lbs last year, players at every position will go at him again and again in the paint until he proves he can do something about it. But despite those concerns, he’s as physical and competitive as any young player, and any smart team should love to get him into their defense (and their physical development system). 

3. Paolo Banchero, Big, Duke, 19 years old, 6’10

Banchero has the best chance of the class to be a good team’s leading scorer while also being their primary playmaker; and at 6’10, 250 lbs, with his level of explosiveness and power, he can be a nightmare matchup from day one. He can score at the basket with good footwork and touch at the rim. He’s a deadly pull-up shooter in the midrange, and can take the ball from the perimeter to the basket with a fluidity man wings lack. And he’s one of the better playmaking big men to come out of college in a while. His deep shot and defensive intensity are both question marks, and ones that would certainly be more concerning in Sacramento than other spots. But he’s the most complete offensive prospect in the class, and combined with Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox, the trio might make this the best playmaking squad the Kings have seen in decades.

4. Jaden Ivey, Combo Guard, Purdue, 20 years old, 6’4

Ivey’s combination of on- and off-ball scoring ability, offensive tenacity, and combination of top-end speed, explosiveness, and quickness give him star upside, regardless of where he ends up drafted. His defensive focus and consistency absolutely need to improve, especially if he comes to Sacramento. He’s a complex defensive fit with Fox, and I think it’s reasonable to worry that fit concerns may not be so simple to overcome in Sacramento as other more patient, stable organizations. But in some ways, the offensive concerns are overblown; he's not a pure point guard, shouldn't be played like one, and thrived in many ways off of the ball at Purdue. He’ll be best next to a primary initiator, and a smart coaching staff will find plenty of ways for him to thrive on both ends of the court. If the draft goes as expected for the first three picks, he’s my pick for the Kings.

Tier 2

5. Keegan Murray, Forward, Iowa, 21 years old, 6’8

Keegan’s two-way production and composure at Iowa, as the leading scorer and best defender on a Big 10 title team, is impossible to ignore. His deep shot, offensive versatility, and solid defensive range and switchability would undoubtedly help the Kings or any lottery team on both ends of the court. If he shows drastic improvements and willingness to shoot off of the dribble (paired with his current catch-and-shoot success), he could shake off many creation concerns I and some other evaluators have for him. I don’t project him as a franchise altering talent; until he shows his pull-up shot can be a full-time weapon or improves his first-step and predictability on drives, I struggle to see how he’ll consistently get his own shot, which is not a concern I have for others in this range. He has clear limitations on both ends of the ball, but he’s utterly Kangz-proof and a lock to be a strong two-way contributor. He'd be a fan favorite in Sacramento from the moment he steps on the court.

6. AJ Griffin, Forward, Duke, 18 years old, 6’6

Griffin is one of the best shooters in this and any draft class, and can instantly be a team’s best catch-and-shoot player while also offering real promise off of the dribble. Unfortunately, he also needs to improve as a defender as much as anyone in the draft. Griffin is one of the classes' youngest players and missed some key developmental time due to COVID lockdowns and injuries (no injuries during the season at Duke, thankfully), and if his future team helps him round out his offense, improve his defensive instincts, and balance his strength gain with some flexibility, he could be the classes’ surprise star.

7. Bennedict Mathurin, Wing, Arizona, 20 years old, 6’6

Mathurin showcased his scoring talents all season long for Arizona as the Pac-12 player of the year. He has a smooth deep shot off of the catch and off of movement (37% this season on 6.1 attempts per game, 38% in his two years in Tuscon), and is explosive at the basket with excellent touch (60% at the rim in the half-court). He has the tools to be an excellent off-ball scorer at the NBA level, showed strong improvements as a playmaker late in the season, and is a midrange or runner shot away from being a truly promising three-level shotmaker. He’s explosive, quick, and has good size for a wing player, although he was one of the most inconsistent defenders in the lottery. If Mike Brown can get him to focus on defense, Mathurin could be an ideal wing next to Fox/Davion Mitchell.

8. Tari Eason, Forward, LSU, 21 years old, 6’8

I’m all in on Eason’s two-way upside. His aggressiveness, defensive instincts, and combination of power, explosiveness, and force made him my second favorite defensive prospect in the class (behind Holmgren). He has the potential to be an excellent, switchable defender at the next level, and averaged 3.2 steals and 1.8 blocks per 40 minutes this season. He’s also shown massive improvement on his shot this season, shooting 36% from three and 80% from the line on promising volume, but he needs to prove that growth is real and not a flash in the pan. He absolutely needs to improve his passing vision and willingness, especially as he transitions into an off-ball scoring role. His aggressiveness is also a double-edge sword, and he needs to improve his decision-making on both ends, lest either his future coach or fouls nail him to the bench.

9. Dyson Daniels, Guard/Wing, GLeague Ignite, 19 years old, 6’7.5

A truly excellent defender who can guard multiple positions while also providing a lot of versatility and upside on offense. He’s as locked-in on the defensive end as you could ask from a prospect, and with his size, length, quickness, and switchability, he matched up against a ton of promising G League wings, guards, and forwards. He’s also an excellent playmaker, and averaged 4.5 assists per game even while playing with multiple other ballhandlers and initiators. His deep shot is a bit of a question, finishing at just 30% from three over the season, but he showed real improvement later in the season and his mechanics seem fairly consistent. If he can be an efficient shooter, I think he can be a role playing star—a connector who doesn’t need the ball in his hands all the time to make a good team better on both ends.

10. Jeremy Sochan, Forward, Baylor, 19 years old, 6’9

Sochan’s defensive versatility and tenacity are exceptional at his age, and at 6’9 he somehow has quickness, agility, and on-ball defensive instincts that many guards and wings would envy. The transition from college to the pros is never quick for defenders, especially one like Sochan where you’re hoping/expecting him to defend across positions, but that doesn’t take anything away from his potential. On offense, he flashes upside across the board, especially as a playfinisher AND playmaker (1.8 assists per game undersell his passing instincts). He needs to prove that his shooting form can be efficient, as he shot just 29% from deep last season.

Sochan is very much a project player on both ends of the court; his full two-way impact is a few years away, and requires that he ends up on a great developmental squad. But it says something that the Baylor Bears, who had a ton of returning talent from their NCAA Championship team, played the 18-year-old Sochan big time minutes last year. He’s an ideal long-term gamble for any patient team. 

11. Shaedon Sharpe, Wing, DNP-Kentucky, 19 years old, 6’5.25

The ultimate lottery ticket, a draft gambler’s dream prospect; Sharpe’s physical tools, his elite athleticism and quickness, and his pull-up shot and effortless dunking ability make him look like a future scoring star. There are very few players at his age with his quick pull-up shot, and none of them have his balance and athleticism to go with it. But so much of his game is up in the air, without a season of NCAA or GLeague tape to confirm it; how solid is his deep shot over a full season? How is his defensive approach and awareness outside of high school? Is his handle strong enough to get him buckets in the half court? How will he handle physical defenders in big-game moments?

NBA squads have way more evidence to answer these questions than us armchair scouts, but Sharpe is too risky a pick in my book for the Kings. If Monte McNair disagrees, though, and drafts Sharpe with everything on the line this upcoming season, it will say a lot about his confidence in Shadeon’s potential stardom.

12. Jalen Duren, Big, Memphis, 18 years old, 6’11

The youngest player in the draft looks anything but young; at 6’11 with a 7’5 wingspan and strength and explosiveness well beyond his years, Duren can be an incredible rim protector, pick-and-roll threat, and play finisher fairly quickly. He also showed some upside switching onto smaller players, although I think his defensive range may be a touch overstated. Regardless, it feels absolutely irresponsible to have Duren this low; if he develops an outside shot (he shot 62.5% from the free throw line, and 8 of 22 on half-court jumpers), he could be a dang good two-way fit with Sabonis and make this ranking look ridiculous.

13. Johnny Davis, Guard, Wisconsin, 20 years old, 6’5.75

Johnny Davis was one of the better players in college basketball through most of the season, and led Wisconsin in points, field goals, rebounds, and steals. He showcased exceptional tough shot-making skills, and was able to score in the mid-range off of the pull-up and thrive in the pick-and-roll. That said, it was also clear by the end of the season that he was wearing down from having to be the Badger’s only real creator. His offensive role in the NBA may not be the same as it was in college, but he was also as locked-in on defense as you could ask from a dude with his offensive responsibilities. He needs to prove he can be consistent from three (30.9% on the season, 22% in February and 20% in March).

14. Malaki Branham, Wing, Ohio State, 19 years old, 6’5.5

We round out the lottery with another promising shooter with upside as a three level scorer. Braham was truly efficient for the Buckeyes off the catch, off the dribble, and out of the pick-and-roll. While his final three point numbers (41.6% on 89 attempts) aren’t as high volume as I’d like, his smooth release and quick elevation on his shot makes you want to bet on his mechanics. As our buddy SPTSJUNKIE put it in his annual draft model guide, Branham plays bigger (and a tad slower, more methodical) than his 6’5.5 size may indicate, and he has the tools to be a strong wing defender. But he needs to show up on defense a ton more than he did at Ohio State. 

Tier 3

15. Ochai Agbaji, Wing, Kansas, 22 years old, 6’5

Agbaji’s growth as a shooter and defensive tenacity makes him an ideal selection for a team needing a 3-and-D wing. He was a leader of the national championship Kansas squad. Shot 40.7% from deep on 6.5 attempts from three this season, and is especially dangerous off the catch (42.1%, 89th percentile). I’m not confident he’ll ever create for himself at a high level, but as long as he’s paired with primary initiators and isn’t asked to run an offense, he’s fully ready to be a knock-down off-ball shooter.

16. Ousmane Dieng, Forward, New Zealand Breakers (NBL), 19 years old, 6’10

The Frenchman had a slow start to the season in New Zealand but capped it off with a strong finish, averaging 13.3 points and 4 rebounds a game on 48% shooting and 36% from deep in their final 14 games. A promising defender with good length, Dieng defended guards, wings, and some forwards in the NBL and showed the physicality needed to play in a grown mans’ league. That one-on-one defensive range will shrink somewhat in the NBA, but he’s also a dedicated help defender. Showed real flashes of strong passing vision, and is fluid with the ball in his hands on the perimeter. His swing skill is his deep shot, especially off the catch; shot just 27% from deep on the season and 66.7% from the line. Needs the shot to be real in order to unlock his long-term two-way versatility.

17. Mark Williams, Center, Duke, 20 years old, 7’2

Williams was the savior of Duke’s defense and one of the most natural rim protectors you’ll find, swatting 4.8 blocks per 40 minutes. The Blue Devils, including Banchero, absolutely relied on Williams to fix their mistakes on defense. He also proved an ideal offensive fit with Paolo as a rim runner, vertical spacer, and playfinisher around the basket. While you wouldn’t want to have him defend guards or wings in space, it is impressive how quick he can get up and down the court given his size. Sadly, lacks any semblance of a deep shot or regular passing instincts at this stage.

18. E.J. Liddell, Big, Ohio State, 21 years old, 6’7  

A smart, high-instinct defender who plays bigger than his 6’7 height might indicate. Laterally quick and smart enough to handle many collegiate wings and guards, and never backed down from dudes bigger than him (watch Ohio State/Duke to see how he handled Paolo Banchero). Showed real improvement as a shooter this season (37.4% on 3.8 attempts a game, 76.5% from the free throw line), and has the two-way versatility to make him a strong role player at the next level. Won’t be a big-time creator, but every team needs what he can bring to the court. Biggest red flag—his awful taste in Marvel movies.

19. Jalen Williams, Guard/Wing, Santa Clara, 21 years old, 6’6

Williams elevated every part of his game this season, averaging 18 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 1.2 steals on 51.3% shooting, nearly 40% from deep, and 60% at the rim in the halfcourt. He's an excellent pick-and-roll ballhandler and scorer, and showcases real shiftiness and creativity when attacking downhill. He's also a solid, switchable on-ball defender who didn’t let the fact that he carried the team on offense stop him from competing on the other end. Every team should love to snag a 6'6 wing with his combination of dribble/pass/shoot skills.

20. TyTy Washington Jr., Initiator, Kentucky, 20 years old, 6’3

Washington showed all-around promise at Kentucky. He’s clearly a high-instinct playmaker, especially in the half-court, and his 3.9 assists per game don’t do this justice (he was also playing more as a combo guard alongside Sahvir Wheeler). He's a pomising shooter from two levels (especially with his floater shot), but saw his overall shooting numbers and 3 point efficiency tank mid-season as he dealt with an ankle injury. He's got somewhat limited quickness and explosiveness; he was locked in on defense but often got beat by small guards. I'm nt sure he has the toolset to reliably create his own shot, which could limit him as a primary initiator. At worst, a strong bench playmaker or a solid starter if surrounded by strong scoring talent.

The Next Tier

The following players are ones I didn’t get a chance to do a proper deep dive into this year, but who (according to experts and our friend Brett Huff’s stellar Consensus Big Board rankings) are in the consensus conversation for 1st round/early 2nd round selections.

  • Jaden Hardy, Guard, G League Ignite, 19 years old, 6’4
  • Dalen Terry, Guard/Wing, Arizona, 19 years old, 6’7
  • Blake Wesley, Guard, Notre Dame, 19 years old, 6’4
  • Jake LaRavia, Forward, Wake Forest, 20 years old, 6’8
  • Nikola Jovic, Forward, Mega Basket (Adriatic League, Serbia), 19 years old, 6’11
  • MarJon Beauchamp, Wing, G League Ignite, 20 years old, 6’6
  • Kennedy Chandler, Guard, Tennessee, 19 years old, 6’0
  • Bryce McGowens, Wing, Nebraska, 19 years old, 6’7
  • Kendall Brown, Forward, Baylor, 19 years old, 6’8
  • Walker Kessler, Center, Auburn, 20 years old, 7’1
  • Christian Braun, Wing, Kansas, 21 years old, 6’7

My Favorite 2nd Round Targets:  Jaylin Williams, Forward, Arkansas  |  Trevon Williams, Big, Purdue  |  Max Christie, Wing, Michigan State  |   Patrick Baldwin Jr., Forward, Milwaukee  |   Hyunjung Lee, Wing, Davidson

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BestHyperboleEver
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June 23, 2022 7:06 am

I certainly have my disagreements, but I appreciate all of the work and thought that goes into this. Thank you.

BestHyperboleEver
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June 23, 2022 7:25 am
Reply to  Bryant

What do you think of Alondes Williams? He seems to have slipped off most mocks and big boards, but he’s one heck of a passer and a really strong finisher. He feels like a guy that could make some GM look like a genius in the late-2nd.

Hamlet1989
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June 23, 2022 7:46 am
Reply to  Bryant

I actually disagree very little. The important issue is 4 & 5. I would like Murray, but it’s close. I’ll be happy with any of your top 6, at #4. I also wouldn’t mind a trade down for almost anyone in the top 20 for another suitable asset. So I’m feeling pretty positive about this draft, and I think Monte is gonna get us some real help.
After the top 3, and Murray I’d like Griffin, Daniels, Ivey, or a come-up trade down.

Kingsguru21
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June 23, 2022 7:20 am

Thanks for everything, Bryant. This is great stuff.

Last edited 5 months ago by Kingsguru21
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June 23, 2022 7:37 am

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GreatSuccess
June 23, 2022 7:38 am

Great analysis, thanks Bryant! I’d love to see Monte trade up for Holmgren, do you think the modern NBA would allow the Kings to be successful with Holmgren and Sabonis? Holmgren would be coming in for weak-side swats all day.
If they don’t trade the pick at 4, bring on Ivey. Let De’Aaron run point, this guy will wreak havoc off-ball.
I think the most likely scenario is trading down from the pick for additional assets, as you said there’s a lot to like through the 14th pick. I think Murray could slip, may still be there at 7 or 8. I love Mathurin’s tape, and Daniels looks like a really well-rounded athletic player too. Go Kings!

Hamlet1989
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June 23, 2022 7:48 am

Good job Bryant! Whatever Greg pays you, it’s not enough.

Greg
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June 23, 2022 11:42 am
Reply to  Hamlet1989

That’s the truth

Want2win
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June 23, 2022 8:20 am

Great write up, Ivey is over rated IMHO, his athleticism is his greatest asset.. but that get diminished over time and with NBA athletes.

i think people want him to be the next JaMorant; which is possible but he could also be the next great athlete to fail miserably in the NBA. I will take Murray over Ivey every day and twice on Sunday. If the kings go Ivey I will cheer him on and hope that I am wrong!

richie88
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June 23, 2022 12:10 pm
Reply to  Want2win

Ivey’s definitely a bit overrated & I also prefer Murray. Ivey’s playmaking isn’t good enough for him to be the next Ja, so expecting him to be the next Ja is unreasonable since Ivey shouldn’t be a PG.

Last edited 5 months ago by richie88
NorCalKingsFan
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June 23, 2022 2:23 pm
Reply to  richie88

I feel like I’ve been force-fed this narrative that Ivey is going to be a star, I just don’t see it. He’s behind Mathurin, Daniels, and Davis on my board, but I also have Murray above Banchero…so I’m probably on a lonely island.

richie88
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June 23, 2022 4:42 pm
Reply to  NorCalKingsFan

Ivey could be a star if he has a lot of development in terms of his skills, but I don’t think that’s likely. I’d probably put Ivey in the same tier as Daniels, Mathurin & Sharpe. I wouldn’t put Davis in the same tier as Ivey, much less ahead of him. I like Murray, but I think Paolo’s easily better than Murray.

kings4ever
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June 23, 2022 8:21 am

Happy Draft Day! The McGenius Wheelhouse is Open! Yeah, we’ll take John Collins, who averaged 22 PPG and 11 RPG as a 22 year old third year player, why not? Take our expiring (HB) and salary filler and you got yourself a deal! Next….

Keegan Murray is a boring player. Don’t confuse boring with (damn) good. He shot 64% TS%, logged a 38 PER, had only a 6% TOV on 30% usage. Woo! His steal and block rate are conducive to the type of player our GM gravitates.  

With step up in competition from Iowa to the Big Show, it is reasonable to anticipate 56% TS% and 22 PER on 20% usage. Thats ROY territory. I can tell you in 5-10 minutes if Keegan Murray is any good, but only when I see him standing (playing) aside HB, Metu and Trey Lyles, among others. 

Is he the same size or not? How does he literally measure up? I cannot tell for certain. This is where you have to defer to insiders to see the prospects up close. The more legitimate big 4 / small ball 5 size Keegan has, the less craft is required to produce.  

Trey Lyles has a good shot, methodical and patient out of the post. You could precisely say the same about Keegan. So what makes Keegan better than an NBA journeyman, because he had better be to take him at #4? Well for, starters he needs to be about same or superior size and length as Lyles.

This is how Scottie Barnes and Franz Wagner came into the league and made a splash, guys who fooled me. They were physically imposing where guys (busts) like Marvin and Willie were not. The bigger you are, the more you command your space on the floor, the less craft you need. Then your modest moves are formidable from the outset. Keegan does have some bully mentality to him, which works better when you are closer to 6’10 than 6’8”, with a solid base with 7’0 wingspan. 

Why do we want Ivey? To be led by the herd…off the cliff? Because collective assessment is more viable than independent objective analysis? I am not a proponent of any move that prevents Davion from 30 MPG, a simmering force with more raw talent than Marcus Smart. Between Davion, TD, Donte and Fox, our backcourt minutes are allocated to premium talent. There is NO room for Ivey.  

How spectacular and polished, athleticism and craft, would Ivey have to be to push any of these guys defintively out of the rotation?  Ivey has quick twitch and rise, but the craft is not there. He has NO left hand. He has less of a left hand than Fox has of a right hand, amounting to the functionality of an amputee.Ivey has NO in-between game. His handles are nowhere near Davion, one of the most deft ball-on-a-string dribblers in the NBA. Ivey runs fast, changes ends in a blur, but Davion is a slug? Not sure who wins a foot race, but it’d be close. The #4 pick should be superior to the alternatives from Day One, not a dubious challenger to teammates minutes. 

Davion is the more impactful defender vs projected impact from Ivey on offense. Davion’s offense, 15 PPG over last 20 games, is ahead of Ivey’s projected defense. The net is Davion projects as more of overall difference maker for next season If Ivey is the pick, Davion is losing minutes, the best defender on the worst defensive team in the NBA relocated to the bench. 

How does this help you make the playoffs?!? 

Proponents say Ivey as an extraordinary athlete will pair well as an off the ball cutter with Sabonis. You mean similar to the way Davion and Sabonis have already exhibited? You have to take the best player available, right? Yes, best player, not best athlete. I do like Ivey’s wiggle, shake and bake, aka space (shot) creation ability. This is THE skill I look for, first and foremost, my primary predictor of success. Am I not guilty therefore of contradiction or hypocrisy? 

If Ivey improves this summer and as rookie like Davion, did with his floater, Ivey can go from a 1.5D scorer to a 2.5D scorer (at the rim, mid-range half-credit from deep) with talent to be a plus defender. If he develops optimally, he’s a dynamic and prolifc SG, (very) nice next to Davion as our PG, making Fox expendable. Some fans invariably will champion this course.

Drafting Ivey with plan to replace Fox in 1-2 years is untenable. You cannot do it. You cannot hit the reset with Sabonis set to be a free agent in two seasons. You cannot ask him to bear witness to growing pains as the best years of his career are wasted. You would alienate him. Sabonis is ready to win now. He was sold on the pairing of him with Fox, encouraged by early returns, their talents meshing fantastically in 15 games. 

Now, nevermind, we are going to chase this shiny new object? Oh hell no. We sink or swim with Fox and Ox, which is good news, as good of a plan as any, a substantive basis for optimism and hope more than any plan in over a decade.

The other thing about improvement is you have to like what is going on between the ears of these prospects. I listened to the interviews of Ivey and Keegan. Keegan has a brain in there. I am not so sure about Ivey. His IQ is in Shaedon Sharpe territory, the temperature in fareinheit on a blistery day. You don’t need to be a scholar to be a beast on the court, but I like there to be a spark, for the neurons to be firing. This equates to processing capacity on the floor. This is another reason to PASS on Ivey and take Keegan at #4.  

If you do not extract the ransom from DET (Seddiq Bey + picks) IND (Chris Duarte + picks) before (during) the draft, you could follow through on your bluff and take Ivey at #4 and arrange for a deal thereafter. The bidding war is on for real then. This could happen, but it will take a large set of cojones and an acceptable fallback plan. 

Teams may exhibit the same stubborness and reluctance post-draft as pre-draft to cede to your demands, then you outwitted yourself, first preference foregone, and your roster is as imbalanced this year as last year, with the pressure mounting, and GM contract expiring.  

If NBA playoffs taught us anything it was to reinforce the value of two way wings who can defensively switch and score for multiple places on the floor: Tatum, Brown, Butler, Wiggins, Draymond, etc. When we talk about best player available, the “best” has to be considered in this context. Isn’t best synonomous with most valuable? Isn’t a capable wing more valuable than capable guard due to relative availability? 

In a game of one-one, maybe Ivey kicks Keegan’s butt 12-4. But who is the more valuable player to help you win? I am not talking about need, I am talking about winning. I am not even conceding Ivey is the better player. I am conceding he is more athletic, more exciting, faster changing ends, and more juke moves to create separation. There is athleticism and functional athleticism. Davion only had 2-3 dunks as a rookie, but he is one of the most functional athletes in the NBA, preferring substance over showtime. 

McGenius cited Davion’s three point improvement at Baylor as basis to have confidence in outside shot. I can see him doing the same with Keegan, after he is the pick, going from 30% to 40% on more than double the attempts from freshman to sophomore season. Meanwhile, did not Ivey fade down the stretch with his long range accuracy? Ivey was 1-6 from 3s in tourny loss vs St. Peters (choke!). He was 1-8 from 3s in a tourney loss to Iowa (choke!). At his worse when it counted most.  

Meanwhile Keegan had some of his best games as the season wore on. You could make case Ivey did not have the room to operate with the floor shrunk and bigs crowding the paint, but I do not like that 40% of his shots were from 3, when his effeciency was average.  

This is the athlete no one can stay in front of? Why did he not create more havoc with his blow-by game? Was he guilty of settling for 3s too often? A 58% TS% with a 47% free throw is frankly shit. You are shooting a ton of FTs, but cannot get your TS% over 60%? Hmmm, that does not bode well for effeciency when the refs in the NBA swallow their whistle, the rookie not getting the benefit or respect.

I am not against Ivey, I am just not seduced by hyper athleticism. Ivey’s ability to draw fouls is special, where he’s clearly superior to Davion, who rarely draws fouls, and Halburton before him, also immune to drawing contact. This is one reason teams are salivating, Ivey’s game is made for a league where there is premium on shot creation, and a combination of speed with power.  

You know who also plays with speed and power? Off Night! 

Regardless it is easier to talk myself into Murray than Ivey, if the former prospect is superior physically to guys like Metu and Lyles. Then the skills will readily translate, the modest ability to navigate in the open court, to rebound and run, to spot shoot off the weak side and flash to the post for the catch and flip. 

I leave my fellow fans with a stat to ponder, directed to the regurgitators who say you MUST take Ivey at #4. How come Ivey, the transcendent high riser averaged only 0.9 steals per game while the ground bound plodder Murray averaged 1.3 steals per game?! Also while Ivey has some impressive rejections, he only averaged 0.6 blocks compared to Murray 1.9 blocks, a 3X block rate!

I do NOT care about hype, I do NOT care about mocks, I do NOT care about twitter scuttlebutt. I care about objective evidentiary-based reality, aligned with the mental process of our decision maker. The reality tends to support the notion Murray will be a King within 12 hours. If we take Ivey , I would not be the farm he remains through the night. Hold onto your hats, Kings fans, the show is about to begin.

Daydreamer
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June 23, 2022 9:14 am
Reply to  kings4ever

Well, long and a bit self-important, but very interesting and good.

eddie41
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June 23, 2022 9:25 am
Reply to  kings4ever

I’m not convinced there would be a bidding war for Ivey. Actually, I’ve read that the Spurs have been trying to move up in the draft to get Keegan Murray. If the Kings front office has done its homework and they prefer Murray, just draft him at 4.

BestHyperboleEver
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June 23, 2022 9:27 am
Reply to  eddie41

Supposedly, Murray is the guy the Pacers want to move up for as well.

Kings-Rebuild
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June 23, 2022 9:49 am

Yeah right. Believe what you want at your own risk. It’s a game of deception let’s hope Monte,plays it well.

BestHyperboleEver
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June 23, 2022 9:55 am
Reply to  Kings-Rebuild

Well, since I definitely said I believe it and am definitely NOT on the record many, many times over the years talking specifically about how skeptical I am of what’s said in interviews, press conferences, leaks, etc. I really appreciate your counsel on the matter.

RobHessing
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June 23, 2022 9:07 am

The time between the lottery and the draft has been more fun and educational (for me, at least) than any draft that I can remember. There are a lot of takeaways, but if I had to come up with two that really resonate –

Jaden Ivey can play really well with or off the ball. In that regard he has a component to his game the Haliburton lacked (or maybe it was the offensive scheme). While Hali would set himself up on the arc when he didn’t have the ball (again, scheme?), Ivey seems capable of a lot of movement, back cuts, etc. That should play well with Sabonis. I agree with Bryant that the “fit narrative” between Ivey and Fox is a bit overblown, or at least lazy. I see Fox and Ivey as being able to co-exist in the same manner that Conley and Mitchell have in Utah.

Chet Holmgren’s height has bamboozled some folks when it comes to his skill set. I have seen a lot of concerns over his ability to be an NBA center. I think that he’s really a stretch four, and in some cases maybe even a wing. HIs style of play (style, not execution) may wind up being more along the lines of Kevin Durant or Mikal Bridges. He may not wind up being the best player in this draft, but I think he has the best chance of becoming truly special.

Thanks to all of the TKH staff and members that have contributed their time and perspective over these past several weeks. It has been a blast to take in all of the information and opinions.

eddie41
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June 23, 2022 9:09 am

Good to see you deviated from the norm at least once (ranking Tari over Sharpe). Would like to see a couple more unique takes in there.

andy_sims
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June 23, 2022 10:07 am
Reply to  eddie41

Unique takes aren’t particularly difficult to generate, it’s just that they have a strong tendency to be nonsense.

“Murray goes to OKC with the second pick!”

Unique? Yes. Stupid? Buddy, you’re just scratching the surface.

eddie41
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June 23, 2022 10:48 am
Reply to  andy_sims

I was actually sincere in my comment. There is a recent article on the Athletic (June 20) by Seth Davis titled: “Scouts’ brutally candid takes on the top 50 draft prospects out of college”. It’s a really good read, regardless of whether I agree or disagree with the takes. Too bad you took it the wrong way.

andy_sims
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June 23, 2022 12:45 pm
Reply to  eddie41

2+2=5 is also a unique take, but including it to “deviate from the norm” to avoid the risk of being called a conformist would only undermine B’s credibility.

Once in a while, the consensus is right.

eddie41
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June 23, 2022 2:25 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Actually, I disagree with ranking Eason that high. Nonetheless, I appreciate that the article shares this view, and I find it interesting enough that if it were a month ago, I’d ask for a game to watch so I could reconsider.

1951
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June 23, 2022 9:11 am

My expectations for the Kings on draft day:

RobHessing
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June 23, 2022 9:20 am
Reply to  1951

That kid’s home-to-second time is blue-chip quality.

BestHyperboleEver
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June 23, 2022 9:32 am
Reply to  RobHessing

I’m not sure if my favorite side character is the fallen 1B or them kids that throws off his helmet and sprints off screen at the end.

RobHessing
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June 23, 2022 9:37 am

I love t-ball. It’s like herding cats.

BestHyperboleEver
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June 23, 2022 9:41 am
Reply to  RobHessing

It really is. Almost all sports at that age are great. You know, before they get old enough for the adults to screw it all up.

RobHessing
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June 23, 2022 10:25 am

I still ump at the 10-16 levels, and I have seen a lot of my neighbor’s son’s t-ball games this year. It is remarkable how quickly the innocence is overcome by vitriol as the kids progress. The (not so) funny thing is, as I talk with the 10-16 kids/young adults, the overwhelming majority of them are still out there just to have fun. As you noted, it is the adults that go off the rails.

BestHyperboleEver
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June 23, 2022 10:33 am
Reply to  RobHessing

When I coach youth sports (mostly soccer and basketball at this point, but baseball in the past) I always have one very serious, admittedly a bit patronizing, parents-only meeting about how we’re going to behave. It makes it easier when I inevitably have to take a parent aside and remind them about their agreement.

RobHessing
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June 23, 2022 10:37 am

Yeah, when I was managing my son’s baseball teams, I told the parents that our program was about developing young adults and not MLB players. That our program would not derail any MLB candidate, but that it was more likely that our roster possessed the individual that would one day be in charge of the nursing home where I am eventually going to reside, and that I was not going to be denied my pudding due to being a prick to the kid when he was 13.

Want2win
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June 23, 2022 12:02 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

My son was a junior umpire and they did AA games so the kids were 9-10. He was 12 or 13 and was umping the end of year tourney and some of the parents were off the railed about every ball and strike. He calls time, turns around and tells the parents “ there will be no scholarships given today, so sit back and enjoy the game or you will be asked to leave”

I laughed so hard and the parents shit up after that

RobHessing
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June 23, 2022 12:45 pm
Reply to  Want2win

Awesome.

Want2win
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June 23, 2022 1:04 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

It was great, thanks for continuing to ump. We are losing too many umpires , officials and referees because parent and a lot of kids are acting like douchenozzles. My boys are now out of HS but the last few years it was tough to get officials for their sports.

andy_sims
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June 23, 2022 12:50 pm
Reply to  Want2win

Your kid is going to be fine.

Want2win
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June 23, 2022 1:34 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Thanks.. it was fun to watch..

andy_sims
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June 23, 2022 12:49 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

From t-ball through high school, I always played hard and tried to win, but the beauty of baseball is that it provides ample fuck-off time when you aren’t actually doing anything. It allows the mind to wander to bigger things, like the meaning of life, and can I get dog shit into one of the batting helmets.

Kosta
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June 23, 2022 11:25 am
Reply to  RobHessing

“Home-to-second” sounds like a Vivek 4-on-5 strategy!

Last edited 5 months ago by Kosta
Hippity_Hop_Barbershop
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June 23, 2022 10:04 am
Reply to  1951

The way 1b just spun and fell after that headshot deserves an Oscar. Incredible.

andy_sims
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June 23, 2022 12:51 pm

He’s no Chris Paul, but he’s young, and can work on his spastic flailing.

Bitgod
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June 23, 2022 9:11 am

Kangz are damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

If they draft best player available, well don’t forget McLemore and Robinson were BPA at the time.

If they pick best fit, then there’s always Luka. (And I don’t thing Bags was best fit anyway)

Trading down sounds good, but it takes two to tango.

The interest in trading for Collins, which they’ve had for years, probably says they’ll take Ivey. But it also makes a good smokescreen to make people interested in trading up to think that too. I think they end up drafting Ivey, either to keep or to trade out anyway. Shrug.

oswan88
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June 23, 2022 9:33 am

Nice work!!! I’d take Mathurin over Griffin but can agree with the rest of the board!

Kings-Rebuild
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June 23, 2022 9:47 am

Ok I can’t comment on many of these players because I haven’t seen them enough. I can however reiterate what I’ve been saying the last couple of months that Jabari Smith will be the first pick. I also have severe concerns about Holmgren and his ability to be an impact NBA player. If I’m OKC I’m taking Banchero especially given the fact that I have Pokuseski who might be better than Holmgren even though I also have concerns about him. For those who like to base their opinions on the highlight recordings of these players go back and take a look at Papa G’s.

I can however focus and comment on how the Kings utilize their pick. Do the advance scouts feel strongly that IVey will be better than Mathurin, Sharpe, or Johnny Davis for that matter. Do they feel there’s a clear distinction between Murray and Eason, Daniels, or Sochan. If the answer is no, trade down and get some additional assets. I like moving down to 5 and snatching Stewart and some future draft consideration.

When we perform the redraft two years from now I can guarantee you the board will look much different. I will also predict two years from now Koloko will move up that draft board. He’ll get pushed around for a year or two but I see no reason why he can’t be Rudy Gobert lite. He’ll work his butt off and don’t be surprised if you see a perimeter game from him soon. Certainly right from the start he show the ability to defend on the perimeter off high ball screens which is ubiquitous action in today’s NBA.

So let’s see how Monte utilizes his picks and hope he plays them well bringing in multiple assets and fetching Koloko in the second round.

mendoman
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June 23, 2022 9:52 am

BestHyperboleEver
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June 23, 2022 10:06 am
Reply to  mendoman

For those that haven’t checked in on Sasha in a while, he’s a floor stretching PF (6’9″ ish) with really high BBIQ and really low athleticism. Reminds me a bit of Melli.

RikSmits
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June 23, 2022 10:23 am
Reply to  mendoman

And the best part: CASH CONSIDERATIONS!!!

RobHessing
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June 23, 2022 10:27 am
Reply to  RikSmits

I believe that there is a buyout to his deal that would pretty much eat up the cash. And if he doesn’t come over and the $1.75m goes to the Luke Walton relief fund, cool. Better than having that jackwad around for another season.

Not a bad little scratchers ticket for the #49 pick.

BestHyperboleEver
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June 23, 2022 10:35 am
Reply to  RobHessing

I’m sure there are going to be guys available at #49 that I would rather have, but I’m definitely not going to worry about it.

Kings-Rebuild
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June 23, 2022 3:09 pm

Agree – don’t understand it but not a big deal.

andy_sims
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June 23, 2022 12:54 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

It is a bit puzzling the reflexive negative response to pulling in a couple million bucks. It’s a pick from the bottom 20%, and the player rights could have real value.

I consider my pessimism second to none, but even I can’t manage to slap Kangz paint on this.

fossilizedflatus
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June 23, 2022 12:57 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

That’s because you haven’t been following the team long enough or with enough scrutiny.

Maybe in time…

RAP87
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June 23, 2022 10:27 am
Reply to  RikSmits

ITS BACK BABY!

RikSmits
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June 23, 2022 10:32 am
Reply to  RAP87

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE, THE MORE THEY STAY THE SAME!!!

Bbmuteman
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June 23, 2022 10:10 am

Always excellent work Bryant! Super good seeing you on the local podcasts as KH resident draft expert.

fossilizedflatus
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June 23, 2022 11:15 am

Bryant, you are Top Tier. Superstar analysis! Thanks.

I will do, as old farts do, remind myself that I grew up in a time that only college seniors were draft eligible. And amazingly, these wonderful prospects still managed to get better in the NBA. Keegan Murray is assessed a decreased value because of his age. Were he born in 2001 or 2002, he would be likely considered much more desirable. I am not sayin’ that I know anything, because unlike some in this community who claim to know nothing, I know less than nothing. I can only make the claim to be better at ignorance than most.

Have to trust GM McNair, and there is not enough reason for me to feel otherwise that this time.

Jack
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June 23, 2022 2:02 pm

Trade Barnes,Davis and Len plus 2023 first and this years #37 for John Collins and
Huerter.
Trade #4,Holiday,Harkless and Lyles for Wizards Kuzma ,Hachimura and #10.
Draft JohnnyDavis with #10.

Fox Mitchell

Davis/Huerter Divinsenzo

Kuzma Huerter

Collins Hachimura

Sabonis Holmes

fossilizedflatus
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June 23, 2022 3:35 pm
Reply to  Jack

Have to trust GM McNair, and there is not enough reason for me to feel otherwise that this time

GM McNair, I had no idea you actually followed me on TKH. Thanks for listening. And if you want to do all those trades to have those players on the roster with Head Coach Mike Brown, then I am looking forward to the season ahead

And again, it’s great you are on this community, “Jack” /wink

SPTSJUNKIE
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June 23, 2022 11:30 am

Phenomenal work as always. I know you didn’t get to a full deep dive, but curious for your thoughts on Dalen Terry from what you have seen?

Also, how do you think about drafting in the second round versus the first? Does fit versus BPA change at all as you get further back? Do you target a potential bench contributor (9th-10th man) versus get a bit crazier with lottery tickets?

richie88
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June 23, 2022 12:05 pm

I appreciate this & it’s insightful, but I do have some quibbles. This doesn’t address my concerns about Ivey’s shooting, which is a major reason I think Murray’s a better prospect.

I think that’s way too high for Griffin & Eason. I have concerns about pretty much everything other than Griffin’s shooting & I have concerns about many aspects Eason’s game.

I understand that there’s a lot of uncertainty WRT Sharpe, but his ceiling is so high that I have him a bit higher in the draft.

Mike120
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June 23, 2022 4:49 pm

I’ll be happy with Ivey or Murray. Even better if we can pull some shenanigans and pick up a rotational player plus one of those guys by trading down a spot or two. Was on the Sharpe bandwagon recently but I’m leaning towards more of the sure thing.

richie88
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June 23, 2022 5:02 pm
Reply to  Mike120

Ivey has a higher floor than Sharpe, but I wouldn’t call him a sure thing.

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