If the Kings beat very long odds – just 4.3 percent – to win Tuesday’s NBA draft lottery and land the top pick in the June 26 draft, it’s almost certain they’ll get a player who can step into the starting lineup.
Longtime Kings fans know that’s not always the case; no one will forget Pervis Ellison, selected by the Kings in 1989 with the franchise’s only No. 1 overall pick.
There have been other busts at No. 1 – Greg Oden and Michael Olowokandi come to mind – but more often the top pick will become a star in the league. Blake Griffin, John Wall, Kyrie Irving and Anthony Davis were the most recent No. 1 picks before Cleveland’s surprising selection of Anthony Bennett last year.
While every draft pick has some risk, the consensus top five picks this year all could become NBA stars:
• Andrew Wiggins (6-foot-8, 200 pounds, small forward, Kansas) is atop nearly every NBA mock draft after averaging 17.1 points and 5.9 rebounds as a freshman.
• Jabari Parker (6-8, 235, SF, Duke) averaged 19.1 points and 8.7 rebounds in his only season with the Blue Devils, but there are questions about which forward position he should play.
• Joel Embiid (7-0, 250, C, Kansas), the only center among the top prospects, could become the best player of this year’s class – but there are concerns about his back. He averaged 11.2 points and 8.1 rebounds as a freshman.
• Dante Exum (6-6, 190, SG, Australia), who opted to stay in Australia rather than play college basketball in the United States, is just 18. Can he play point guard in the NBA?
• Julius Randle (6-9, 250, PF, Kentucky) averaged 15.0 points and 10.4 rebounds in his only season with the Wildcats, but there are questions about his ability to stretch defenses.
• Joel Embiid
• Dante Exum
• Jabari Parker
• Julius Randle
• Andrew Wiggins
• Trade the pick
• Derek Carr: 15%
• Matt Schaub: 80%
• Other: 5%