UCLA's Shabazz Muhammad drives against Arizona's Brandon Ashley. The Bruins opened a 16-point lead in the first seven minutes en route to a 84-73 Pacific-12 Conference road victory.

Poll

If the Kings land the top pick in the draft, which player should they take?

Leading Off: In Kings' lost season, the draft offers promise

Published: Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Monday, Mar. 4, 2013 - 5:55 am

Most of the recent Kings news has been about "whales," arenas and losing, but there is one thing the Kings can win this season – the top spot in the NBA draft – when the lottery balls drop on May 21.

Here are five of the most intriguing players expected to be picked high in the first round:

• Ben McLemore (freshman, Kansas, 6-foot-5, 195 pounds): He can shoot – and get to the basket. But don't the Kings already have that in Tyreke Evans and Marcus Thornton?

• Shabazz Muhammad (freshman, UCLA, 6-6, 225): The Bruins' top player could fill one of the Kings' biggest needs – a high-scoring, slashing small forward.

• Nerlens Noel (freshman, Kentucky, 6-11, 225): Although he tore his ACL earlier this month, his size and athleticism make him a top-five pick.

• Marcus Smart (freshman, Oklahoma State, 6-4, 225): He's got the size and strength the Kings would love at guard.

• Cody Zeller (sophomore, Indiana, 6-11, 240): Unless they're sure he can play alongside DeMarcus Cousins, it's unlikely the Kings would pick him, even though he's a strong finisher around the rim, something they've often had trouble doing.

What to do

Men's college basketball, Weber State at Sacramento State, 7:05 p.m., the Nest: The Hornets try to end Big Sky power Weber State's seven-game winning streak.

What to watch

Men's college basketball, Utah at Cal, 6 p.m., ESPNU: The Bears have won five in a row and are taking aim at the NCAA Tournament.

Today's poll

If the Kings land the top pick in the draft, which player should they take?

• Ben McLemore

• Shabazz Muhammad

• Nerlens Noel

• Marcus Smart

• Cody Zeller

• Other

• Trade pick

Vote above or leave your comments in the comment field; or, go to www.sacbee.com/sports

Wednesday's results

Will Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt become Giants stars?

• Crawford will: 13%

• Belt will: 10%

• Both will: 56%

• Neither will: 21%

Total votes: 186

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Tom Couzens



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