The Kings are making their way through the final stretch of the season with little to play for. They’ve been out of playoff contention for at least two thirds of the season – a season that has been characterized by instability both in the front office and in the coaching ranks. All that’s left to look forward to is the draft, in which the Kings have yet another opportunity to add a top college prospect. Assuming that both Jahlil Okafor and Karl-Anthony Towns will both be gone by the time the Kings are able to select, here are a few players that could step in and contribute right away.
1. Willie Cauley-Stein – C – Kentucky
Cauley-Stein is ranked as the top junior in the draft, according to DraftExpress.com. Aside from the fact that he shares his alma mater with DeMarcus Cousins, Cauley-Stein is the perfect fit next to Cousins – an athletic rim protector who isn’t going to take shots away from the Kings’ dominant big man. Also, his experience in college makes him a more likely candidate to be an immediate contributor than, say, a player with only one year of college experience.
2. D’Angelo Russell – PG/SG – Ohio State
Russell is a 6’5″ combo guard with the ability to shoot from the outside and distribute to his teammates. NBADraft.net projects Russell to be similar to Brandon Roy or Manu Ginobili, and though it is absurd to compare a 19-year-old to a former all-star AND a future Hall-Of-Famer (respectively), it is easy to see their styles in his game. Russell is a dynamic wing player with size, athleticism, and the ability to be the point man in most systems.
3. Frank Kaminsky – PF/C – Wisconsin
Kaminsky is a legitimate 7-footer who has spent four years dominating the Big Ten with his size and unique skill set. Though Kaminsky is slotted to be a late lottery selection, the Kings might consider pulling the trigger on a guy that, in many ways, brings many of the same skills as a former Kings’ great – Vlade Divac. He’s huge, he has soft hands, he can hurt you on the perimeter, and his game on the screen-and-roll will be a nightmare for defenses for years to come. He’s not the flashy pick, but, like Cauley-Stein, can be expected to contribute right away as a result of having spent a few years honing his craft at the college level.