Kings Could Get It Dunn

The Sacramento Kings could come away the big winners in the NBA draft later this month.

The Kings have the eighth overall pick and won’t have a chance to land any of the so-called marquee prospects like Ben Simmons of Louisiana State or Brandon Ingram of Duke.

But the Kings could land Kris Dunn, the fabulous point guard from Providence, and fill what is expected to be glaring hole with the impending departure of Rajon Rondo in free agency.

In a mock draft of the top of 14 selections – or lottery picks – an NBA scouting director for an Eastern Conference team and I both had Dunn falling to the Kings.

Interestingly, the scouting director who has nearly two decades of draft experience, and I were on agreement with seven of the first eight picks. Here’s our choices.

1 – PHILADELPHIA 76ers

Scouting Director – Simmons

GW – Simmons

2 – L.A. LAKERS

SD – Ingram

GW – Ingram

3 – BOSTON CELTICS

SD – Dragan Bender, PF, Israel

GW – Bender

4 – PHOENIX SUNS

SD – Marquese Chriss, PF, Washington

GW – Jaylen Brown, SF, California

5 – MINNESOTA TIMERWOLVES

SD – Henry Ellenson, PF, Marquette

GW – Ellenson

6 – NEW ORLEANS PELICANS

SD – Jamal Murray, SG, Kentucky

GW – Murray

7 – DENVER NUGGETS

SD – Buddy Hield, SG, Oklahoma

GW – Hield

8 – SACRAMENTO KINGS

SD – Dunn

GW – Dunn

9 – TORONTO RAPTORS

SD – Brown

GW – Chriss

10 – MILWAUKEE BUCKS

SD – Jakob Poeltl, C, Utah

GW – Denzel Valentine, SG, Michigan, State

11 – ORLANDO MAGIC

SD – Domantas Sabonis, PF, Gonzaga

GW – Sabonis

12 – UTAH JAZZ

SD – Diamond Stone, C, Maryland

GW – Poeltl

13 – PHOENIX SUNS

SD – Deyonta Davis, PF, Michigan State

GW – Davis

14 – CHICAGO BULLS

SD – Valentine

GW – Furkan Korkmaz, SG, Turkey

 

Intriguing prospect

There are several so-called “wild-card’’ prospects in this draft and one of them is Caris LeVert. The former University of Michigan combo guard has a world of talent, but also has a well-documented history of foot injuries.

LeVert had surgery on his left foot in March and that was the third surgical procedure on the foot in the last 22 months. Understandably, it raised red-flags throughout the NBA

Whether LeVert’s foot problems are now in the past is anyone’s guess. There isn’t any doubt, though, about his abilities.

Last season, LeVert averaged 16.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists. If that isn’t enough, he shot 51 percent from the field and 45 percent from 3-point range.

The sentiment is LeVert will be a late-first to early second-round pick. One NBA executive said LeVert’s draft status will now largely hinge on the medical reports.

“I like him a lot,’’ the GM said. “If he gets the OK from the doctors, he’s a first-rounder without a doubt. He could go as high as late in the lottery, in my mind.

“He needs to get stronger, but he’s quick, he can play 1, 2 and 3, he can create his own shot, he can shoot with range … I think he’s got the whole package.’’

 

Moving up the charts

Since the end of the college basketball season, three players, according to several scouts and officials, have seen their stock go up.

Unquestionably, the biggest riser has been Washington power forward Marquese Chriss. Just three weeks ago, in a survey of four NBA officials, only one of them regarded him as a lottery pick. Now, Chriss, who is an exceptional athlete and who has a major upside, is being linked with Phoenix’s No. 4 pick.

Thon Maker, a 7-footer from Sudan who is just 19, has clearly solidified himself as a first-rounder. Maker, once considered a late-first to early-second round pick, recently wowed a spate of NBA officials by putting on a shooting clinic in New York.

One other prospect who has helped himself considerably in recent weeks is Cheick Diallo, a 6-9 forward who was a major disappointment at Kansas.

But Diallo has favorably impressed NBA officials during individual workouts that clearly illustrated his physical attributes.

The general consensus among several NBA scouts is Diallo and Maker will be selected in the 15-to-20 range.

Ben Simmons

picture courtesy of Louisiana State University Athletics

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