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.


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


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

About This Blog

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.


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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