Leading Off

Rants and raves about what sports fans are talking about

Leading Off: If Kings land top pick, whom should they take?

05/14/2014 8:21 PM

05/15/2014 11:07 AM

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.

Right?

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.

– Tom Couzens

tcouzens@sacbee.com


Today’s poll

If the Kings land the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft, whom should they pick?

• Joel Embiid
• Dante Exum
• Jabari Parker
• Julius Randle
• Andrew Wiggins
• Trade the pick
• Other

Vote above, or go to sacbee.com/sports

Wednesday’s results

Who will be the Raiders’ opening-day starter at quarterback?

• Derek Carr: 15%
• Matt Schaub: 80%
• Other: 5%

Total votes: 137

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We're ranting and raving about the hottest topics in sports, from what's overheard at the local sports bar during the big game to the buzz on the Internet. Have a topic we should take on? Let us know.

Contributors

Tom Couzens, sports editor
tcouzens@sacbee.com or 916-321-1097
Twitter: @tcouzens

Vic Contreras, deputy sports editor
vcontreras@sacbee.com or 916-326-5527
Twitter: @SacBeeVictor

 

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