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Who will Kings draft with their top pick? Keep an eye on these players in NCAA tourney

Arizona forward Deandre Ayton could be a starter for the Kings on opening night if they take him with their top pick in the NBA draft.
Arizona forward Deandre Ayton could be a starter for the Kings on opening night if they take him with their top pick in the NBA draft. AP

The Kings have been scouting college players all season, but many basketball fans are taking their first look as they shift their attention to March Madness.

It's a good bet the Kings' top pick in the NBA draft will be on display in the NCAA Tournament.

The Kings have several roster needs. Among them are a young, physical, defensive presence around the rim, a dynamic wing player with size and any players who would bring a nasty disposition to the floor.

Here are five players to keep an eye on in the tournament:

Deandre Ayton, 7-1, C, Arizona

First-round opponent: Buffalo, Thursday, 6:40 p.m., CBS

The best player in college basketball might be the one prospect who the Kings could draft and be a starter on opening night. The freshman from the Bahamas has the look of a future superstar who can make plays for himself and others. If the Wildcats make a deep run in the tournament, it'll likely be due to Ayton's dominance. He's a big that can play in the post and score from the perimeter. He's averaging 20.3 points and 11.5 rebounds.

Marvin Bagley, 6-11, F, Duke

First-round opponent: Iona, Thursday, 11:45 a.m., CBS

This freshman is a rebounding machine (11.5 per game), and that would certainly help the Kings. He also averages 21.1 points on a team stocked with NBA talent. The Kings have invested draft picks in power forwards in the previous two drafts (Skal Labissiere, Harry Giles), but that's not a reason to pass on Bagley if he's on the board. When in doubt, take the best player available.

Mohamed Bamba, 7-0, C, Texas

First-round opponent: Nevada, Friday, 1:30 p.m., TBS

If the Kings cannot land Ayton, Bamba is the next-best option at center. The Kings need rim protection and Bamba has shown he can impact games with defense as a freshman, averaging 3.7 blocks. He's not as offensively skilled as Ayton, but the Kings can develop that part of his game. Bamba already has defensive instincts, and that's what the Kings need.

Mikal Bridges, 6-7, G/F, Villanova

First-round opponent: LIU Brooklyn or Radford, Thursday, 3:50 p.m., TNT

Bridges is a rangy junior who has the length to be an effective defender. He's also shooting 43.3 percent from 3-point range this season. Besides Justin Jackson last year, the Kings have been reluctant to use the draft to address their needs at small forward. If Bridges can play guard, he'd give the Kings much-needed size in the backcourt. Garrett Temple might be the perfect vet to help groom Bridges, who is viewed as a "3-and-D" wing because of his shooting and defensive talents.

Michael Porter Jr., 6-10, F, Missouri

First-round opponent: Florida State, Friday, 6:50 p.m., TBS

Porter is perhaps the most intriguing wing prospect. He's missed most of his freshman season because of a back injury, but returned to the lineup last week during the Southeastern Conference tournament. Prior to the injury, some considered Porter a contender to be the first overall pick. Even with the injury, it's unlikely he falls too far down draft boards, provided he checks out fine medically. At 6-foot-10, he has the skills of a small forward, which would fit well with the Kings.

SEC_Gerogia_Missouri_Texas_A_M_Basketball_38709.jpg
Missouri's Michael Porter Jr., right, passes around Georgia's Yante Maten during the first half in an NCAA college basketball game at the Southeastern Conference tournament Thursday, March 8, 2018, in St. Louis. Jeff Roberson AP Photo

Others to watch: Miles Bridges, F, Michigan State; Wendell Carter, F/C, Duke; Jaren Jackson Jr., F, Michigan State; Kevin Knox, F, Kentucky; Gary Trent Jr., G, Duke.

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