CJ McCollum, No. 7 (Mock)
The fiery combo-guard will be essential to the future of the Sacramento Kings.
by Daniel Friedman / @DFried615
The Sacramento Kings are at a pivotal moment in their franchise history. Their No. 7 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft will be one of the most important for the team in recent memory. With an impending move to Seattle off the table, the new ownership group desperately needs to establish a solid foundation for the future.
Newly minted majority owner, Vivek Ranadive, has begun the process by hiring Mike Malone as the new head coach. Malone most recently served as the assistant coach of the Golden State Warriors, and he’s been integral in revamping the defensive game of every team he’s been a part of for the past 12 years.
Kings fans couldn’t be happier to have a defensive-minded coach come on board. Sacramento allowed their opponents to put up over 105 points per game last season, good (or bad) for 30th in the League.
The next step for the front office is to put a general manager in place, and it seems to be wide open at this point. Some of the names that have been suggested include the great Larry Bird, Chris Mullin and Mike Dunleavy. Kings fans aren’t used to having high expectations. So any change is going to be a welcomed one.
If I had to sum up the state of the team, it’d be sad. Sac-town hasn’t made the Playoffs since the ‘05-06 season, their last 14 draft picks, excluding a few, have been complete letdowns and their best player is also their most unstable. Going into a rebuilding season isn’t easy, but going in with a couple of high value draft picks and quality free agents will make things much more enjoyable.
That leads us to the No. 7 pick in the Draft. With this selection, the Kings need to get the best possible talent on the board. They need to pickup players for both the backcourt and the frontcourt, but the position with the most need would be small forward. Obviously, Sacramento should try to look beyond the center position if Mike Malone believes big-man head-case DeMarcus Cousins is still salvageable. If not, go for the best available.
With Anthony Bennett, Otto Porter, Ben McLemore, Nerlens Noel, and Trey Burke already off the board, that leaves the Kings with only a few options to get the best possible return for their first round pick. So, without further ado…
With the seventh pick in the 2013 SLAMonline Mock Draft, the Sacramento Kings select…
CJ McCollum from Lehigh.
McCollum is my pick for two reasons:
1. He’s the best available player in the Draft with the largest amount of potential.
2. He gives the Kings the chance to truly develop a foundation. McCollum in the backcourt with Isaiah Thomas, and DeMarcus Cousins down low is a solid start. If Cousins trips up again, he can always be traded for some assets.
In choosing a combo-guard like McCollum, the Kings will be joining the trend of allowing scoring point guards to run their offense. As the leader of the Lehigh Mountain Hawks, McCollum averaged over 19 points a game since he began playing in his freshman year.
With his quick first step, he’s able to get the jump on defenders as he brings the ball up the floor, an excellent quality for a scoring guard. With his ability to move the ball in transition, defenses have a difficult time stopping the ball.
McCollum’s an excellent shooter with a great nose for the ball, and he’s got an exciting game that’s contagious on the court. He’s eerily similar to Portland Trail Blazers guard Dame Lillard, who recently suggested the Blazers should think about drafting him.
As new majority owner Vivek Ranadive looks to start a new era in Kings basketball, CJ McCollum will be the guy to help him lead the team back to relevance.
|2013 SLAMonline Mock Draft|