No. 6: Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky, 7’0″, C, Junior
Sacramento selected Willie Trill Cauley-Stein with the 6th pick in the draft. Another talented Kentucky product, Cauley-Stein was arguably the best defensive prospect in this years draft. The center is extremely versatile, with the size and strength fight down-low, but the speed and agility to keep up with smaller players. This unique skill set was shown off extremely well in the NCAA Tournament where Cauley-Stein was seen doing this:
While Cauley-Stein was able to keep up with Jerian Grant(Check out After the Draft: New York Knicks for more information on Grant), NBA point guards and shooting guards will be faster and stronger, and he won’t be expected to start guarding John Wall any time soon. That being said, Cauley-Stein’s speed will still translate extremely well to the association, where he will most likely be the Kings’ solution to defending stretch 4’s.
Sacramento was really, really bad last season, and with all of the front office turmoil they’re experiencing, they’re not likely to improve much this season. New Head Coach George Karl is at odds with team management and his star player, and Vlade Divac gave up Nik Stauskas and a bunch of other nice assets to sign moody point guard Rajon Rondo to a $9.5 million deal. If the situation does calm down in Sacramento, the team does have some nice assets though. Nick Collison is a very good pure point guard who should be able to take over if Karl ends up benching Rondo. Small forward Rudy Gay is still very productive, and averaged 21.1 points and 5.9 rebounds last season. Shooting guard Marco Belinelli, who signed a 3 year, $19 million contract with the team, should provide stable scoring from the perimeter. Cauley-Stein will also improve Sacramento’s 27th defensive efficiency rating.
That being said, with all of the conflicts and potential conflicts boiling in Sac-town, Kings fans don’t have much to look forward to next season.