NBA prospect Michael Porter Jr. is 'motivated' to prove himself
Throughout the season and at times during the offseason, Bee staff writer Jason Jones answers readers’ questions about the Kings in a Twitter mailbag. Tweet your questions with the hashtag #JonesHoldsCourt.
The big question around the NBA as the draft nears: What will the Kings do with the No. 2 overall pick?
Deandre Ayton going to the Phoenix Suns at No. 1 Thursday seems certain, but there is no consensus with the Kings' pick.
Luka Doncic is the hot prospect from Europe. Marvin Bagley III might be the prospect most ready to help a team and could be an upgrade over the Kings' big men. Then there's Michael Porter Jr. A top-three talent before back surgery limited him to three games at Missouri, the Kings could bank on him being healthy or might be scared away by the medical history.
The Kings could also do what they've done the last two drafts: trade down at some point.
Here are my answers to some of your questions:
Q: With reports Memphis wants to win now while also shedding the Chandler Parsons contract and adding the No. 4 pick to do so, what would it take for the Kings to get the No. 4 while still staying at No. 2? Would Buddy Hield, Kosta Koufos or Willie Cauley-Stein, and No. 37 for No. 4 and Parsons work? Kings can take Doncic and MPJ.
— Marc Keller, @mrarmchair
A: I see no scenario where a deal with Memphis works if it means taking on Parsons' contract. This front office's philosophy is to maintain financial flexibility and not become a dumping ground for bad contracts. Parsons' deal (owed $49.2 million over the next two seasons) would be the definition of what the Kings do not want, especially given Parsons' injury history. The Kings would take on a contract that makes sense, meaning a a player who could be a part of the future core (hence the interest in Otto Porter Jr. last summer), but not Parsons. Also if the Grizzlies want to win now, the Kings do not have the kind of players to offer for a team that wants to win in 2018-19. If the Kings had those players, they'd keep them.
Q: Are the Kings going to mess this up by not drafting Luka?
— Nathan "Pesty Warrior" Harris, @NathanIHarris
A: I'm not convinced the Kings would be messing up if they did not select Doncic. Remove all the hype (which you have to do with every prospect), there are reasons the Kings could pass on Doncic. Many wonder if Doncic has the speed to play on the wing at an elite level in the NBA. Another question is whether he's more of a point guard, which means taking the ball out of the hands of De'Aaron Fox and Bogdan Bogdanovic more. The Kings might not be inclined to do that, especially to Fox. Doncic is skilled and considered an elite playmaker, but it's not as if there aren't reasons the Kings could go with Bagley or Porter.
Q: How do Doncic’s stats translate to those of an American college player? Do you have to consider level of competition, 3-point line distance, how long the games are (do they play 48 minutes in international competition?), etc. What else?
— Gone Dark and 46.3K others, @dark_gone
A: Level of competition, style of play, etc., are all considered when scouts evaluate Doncic. The games in international competition are 40 minutes. The games are played and coached differently. Players aren't given extended minutes like you might see in the NCAA, even if they are stars. A point Bogdanovic made to me about how the European game differs is players run the play regardless, and don't break it off to get a shot they want. So players could be turning down scoring chances to run a play, which might impact their statistics. It's a different style of play. It's a reason why when evaluating European players, scouts don't become fixated on statistics because a good player might have unspectacular numbers. Doncic, through 61 games this season, averaged 14.5 points and 4.6 assists in 25 minutes. Those are still solid statistics and a reason he was, at 19, the youngest MVP in EuroLeague history.
Q: What’s Porter ceiling? Floor?
— Sackings12, @foxthefuture
A: I've chatted with a lot of people, college and pro, to get an idea on this. The consensus has been if he's healthy and develops well, Porter has the potential to be an All-Star. Some of those people are also concerned about Porter's health. Others say he doesn't have the best attitude. So what's the floor for a talented player with injury and attitude concerns? In Porter's case, not too low because no one expects him to fall out of the top 10.
Q: GM hat ... who do you pick at No. 2?
— Nick, @nortega81
A: If there are no major red flags with his back, I'd go with Porter. I'd go for the player with All-Star potential who could give the roster something it lacks: a dynamic scorer on the wing.
Jason Jones: @mr_jasonjones, read more about the team at sacbee.com/kings.