Players that I would target with the 9th pick:

#91
Doesn't block shots? Are you sure we're talking about the same guy? He averaged 1.5 blocks per 36 as a teenager in the Euroleague this season. Admittedly the numbers don't jump off the page but they never do for the Euroleague players. During draft season people tend to fawn over the super athletes who abandon their positioning to fly in for weakside blocks which look great on highlight reels but often don't translate at the next level (Kai Jones comes to mind). Garuba's blocks tend to come when he's one-on-one against the offensive player because he gets off the floor quicker than most of his opponents. And that's in a professional league where he's usually the youngest player on the floor.

Here's a small sample of what he looked like this past season:

For a guy his age it's especially impressive to me how much he knows his role and makes the smart play rather than the flashy play. That's what I meant when I said he was well-coached. A lot of the US born players, unfortunately, come into the league thinking it's going to be AAU and struggle to understand team basketball. Garuba needs to improve in a lot of skill areas for sure but his decision-making already looks very good to me and that's where I see young players struggle the most when they come into the league. He doesn't look like a late first round talent to me, I think he's clearly top 10 and I wouldn't risk trying to trade down and get him if we're on the clock and he's the best talent available.
He is a bit of a chase down blocker though and in the current NBA that's a 50/50 bet that you will get a foul called on you. The only real defense you can rely on right now is played with your feet.
 
#92
Unless one of the expected top 5 drops, it's Sengun, Jalen Johnson or Giddey for me.

Garuba is interesting but he's too raw for my liking considering the other options on the table. He's not a very good shooter and doesn't block shots which is worrisome for a player of his type. Admittedly he is talented and I don't dislike him as a prospect but there's no way I'd take him over Sengun who looks like a serious prospect. I expect him to rise.
I've been watching Besiktas games lately and if they aren't willing to potentially let Sengun stay overseas to develop I don't like his chances under Luke. Holy cow his defense is bad. I can't see Walton playing him much if at all and at least early if they are trying to win he might have a legit gripe. Sengun should get better over time but he doesn't seem to have much understanding on that end of the floor and at times watches the game go by.
 
#93
BPA whenever we choose and regardless of position. Mitchell is a hybrid Pat Bev and Bobby J. I’d take that any day.
That's arguable in that 9-11 range though. There is little separation unless one of those top 5 or 6 drop. After that it's anyones guess who BPA is. I've seen Wagner go as high as 6 and there is probably a decent argument for it to be honest. Now to me you take Barnes if he drops over anyone but he has amazing physical tools that shouldn't be dropping in a draft like this one IMO. If you're looking for upside especially.
 
#94
He is a bit of a chase down blocker though and in the current NBA that's a 50/50 bet that you will get a foul called on you. The only real defense you can rely on right now is played with your feet.
In that clip, yes. I just picked it because it shows his defensive versatility and some of his offensive skillset. There's a lot more footage of him online. More often I see him getting blocks when guys try to back him down and he just throws it back in their face. Everything is subjective though and there's no point arguing who's right or wrong because there's no way to know right now. I just want people to seek out the footage and make up their own mind and forget what the mock draft sites think about anybody. There could easily be a surprise like Giannis buried in the players Kings fans are writing off as not top 10 worthy.

For my part, I wouldn't touch Franz Wagner, Josh Giddey, or Kai Jones anywhere near the top 10 and I think Scottie Barnes is being way overrated for a wing player who can't shoot at all from anywhere on the floor. Even as a defensive specialist you need to be able to score to be more than a situational role-player. The Rondae Hollis-Jeffersons of the world have a place in the league but I don't think you need a top 10 pick to get a guy like that. But those are just my hot takes.

I also think it's time to throw out the idea of fit once and for all. We've sucked for too long to be worried about building a great team on paper. We just need to draft the best player we can, period, even if that's another PG or SG. But anyway, I've already said enough on the topic. Bajaden listed Garuba on his short list so I'm sure we'll get his take soon and he's a guy I've only recently started researching so perhaps I've let my enthusiasm get away from me a bit. For the things I'm looking at though, Usman is checking almost all of the boxes so talk of him being available in the 20s even in a deep draft like this is baffling to me. Paul Millsap is a 4x All-Star. That's not my comparison, but isn't that type of player worthy of a #9 pick?
 
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#95
In that clip, yes. I just picked it because it shows his defensive versatility and some of his offensive skillset. There's a lot more footage of him online. More often I see him getting blocks when guys try to back him down and he just throws it back in their face. Everything is subjective though and there's no point arguing who's right or wrong because there's no way to know right now. I just want people to seek out the footage and make up their own mind and forget what the mock draft sites think about anybody. There could easily be a surprise like Giannis buried in the players Kings fans are writing off as not top 10 worthy.

For my part, I wouldn't touch Franz Wagner, Josh Giddey, or Kai Jones anywhere near the top 10 and I think Scottie Barnes is being way overrated for a wing player who can't shoot at all from anywhere on the floor. Even as a defensive specialist you need to be able to score to be more than a situational role-player. The Rondae Hollis-Jeffersons of the world have a place in the league but I don't think you need a top 10 pick to get a guy like that. But those are just my hot takes.

I also think it's time to throw out the idea of fit once and for all. We've sucked for too long to be worried about building a great team on paper. We just need to draft the best player we can, period, even if that's another PG or SG. But anyway, I've already said enough on the topic. Bajaden listed Garuba on his short list so I'm sure we'll get his take soon and he's a guy I've only recently started researching so perhaps I've let my enthusiasm get away from me a bit. For the things I'm looking at though, Usman is checking almost all of the boxes so talk of him being available in the 20s even in a deep draft like this is baffling to me. Paul Millsap is a 4x All-Star. That's not my comparison, but isn't that type of player worthy of a #9 pick?
This is where people could be making a huge mistake on Barnes because he can run point. The typical tweener wings that can't shoot, can't create, can't run an offense are a different beast altogether. He's got bust potential for sure but right now being able to defend and run a team while being able to play PF, which he will be able to, is closer to what you see out of a Ben Simmons, Draymond Green, or Giannis, not a RHJ. He could very well be the next Anthony Randolph but the question has to be raised whether the modern game wouldn't be way better for someone like him also. I do think he has a much higher motor and potential than Randolph though. To me he's the best gamble guy past 6-8 because if he does learn to shoot he's a major addition to any team and potentially a star in the making. Worst case he's a cog to a teams defense which isn't a bad thing for where a team like Sac sits currently. They need players like him probably more than anyone above them right now.
 
#96
Garuba could be Paul Milsap without the offensive polish/skills maybe? Brandon Bass. He's got potential but I hope a team does think he's top 8 but I doubt it.

Keon Johnson is a tough call. I've seen him at the Kings pick on some mocks and I really don't think he's big enough to play SF. Green might be in time, he's got a decent frame to build on but Keon is a straight up SG. That would be a tough deal for him to survive the Sac model of if it don't fit, quit. Same with Mitchell.
I don’t imagine Keon Johnson to fall that far but if he does, what do you do.
There might be better fits, but what I’ve seen of him I’d call that a steal and I dislike regret.
 
#97
I like what I have seen with Garuba and would like to see more of him, possibly in purple. I think it's interesting, if you had a player with his pedigree whose main skillset was more offensive than defensive, would people be more excited about him?
 
#98
I like what I have seen with Garuba and would like to see more of him, possibly in purple. I think it's interesting, if you had a player with his pedigree whose main skillset was more offensive than defensive, would people be more excited about him?
No, I’m intrigued as is. All the clips I’ve seen of him spell good fit and likely a very good nba player. I need to watch him interview, that always helps convince me.
Still it all boils down to who else is there when we pick and how well our management evaluates.
 

Capt. Factorial

This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things
Staff member
#99
I like what I have seen with Garuba and would like to see more of him, possibly in purple. I think it's interesting, if you had a player with his pedigree whose main skillset was more offensive than defensive, would people be more excited about him?
I haven't had a chance (and probably won't) to see actual game film of Garuba, but his profile looks a lot like Biyombo as an undersized athletic big man. Both played in the Liga ACB, and their numbers are pretty similar. Garuba seems to be a somewhat better passer and will shoot threes (but isn't very good at it), Biyombo was a much better shotblocker, and the rest of the stats (MPG, scoring, rebounding, 2 PT FG%, age) were basically a push.

So, if the question is, should we use the #9 pick on Biyombo v.2, the answer is probably no, not in a draft like this one. There are bound to be players in this draft who are going to move the needle more than Garuba. I'd rather take a chance at finding one of those impact players than draft a guy who turns out to be a rotation big who doesn't start half his games and doesn't really do much to get his teams to the playoffs (2 appearances in 10 years for Biyombo). In the 20s, when you're looking at already good teams who could use a defensive big off the bench and the likely future stars are already picked through, sure, Garuba is a nice pick. But we have to take a bigger swing for the fences at #9.
 
Just saw some clips of jalen Johnson yesterday. That dude can definitely ball, the form for his 3 pter a little iffy but I saw someone that can definitely ball.

I don't know anything about his character or attitude though but he definitely looked talented to me.

May work as a sf/pf type ?
 
My biggest issue with some of these prospects like Kai Jones, Sengun and Garuba is just the positional value of a big man if he's not going to be a generational type player. Like even if we lose Holmes this off-season, Im confident we can get 80% of him back in someone like Noel/Theis or even go a different direction with a spacer like Kelly O. I feel like that's essentially your hope with these back-half lotto big men; you're hoping they turn into a Turner/Holmes/Theis/Kelly O/Noel type C as a top 15-25 center.

It'd be one thing if there were no quality wing/guard prospects, but that's certainly not the case. There's gonna be SOME quality wing that's there at the 9/10 slot. Even still, I'd rather take a flier on a riskier wing prospect than grab a big man who you're hoping is the next Turner/Holmes impact level.
 
I haven't had a chance (and probably won't) to see actual game film of Garuba, but his profile looks a lot like Biyombo as an undersized athletic big man. Both played in the Liga ACB, and their numbers are pretty similar. Garuba seems to be a somewhat better passer and will shoot threes (but isn't very good at it), Biyombo was a much better shotblocker, and the rest of the stats (MPG, scoring, rebounding, 2 PT FG%, age) were basically a push.

So, if the question is, should we use the #9 pick on Biyombo v.2, the answer is probably no, not in a draft like this one. There are bound to be players in this draft who are going to move the needle more than Garuba. I'd rather take a chance at finding one of those impact players than draft a guy who turns out to be a rotation big who doesn't start half his games and doesn't really do much to get his teams to the playoffs (2 appearances in 10 years for Biyombo). In the 20s, when you're looking at already good teams who could use a defensive big off the bench and the likely future stars are already picked through, sure, Garuba is a nice pick. But we have to take a bigger swing for the fences at #9.
If the question is should we use the #9 pick on Biyombo v.2, then we are in agreement, the answer is no. I think we are also in agreement that there will be better players available for the Kings at 9 than Garuba. And if we keep Holmes I think it will be hard for him to get on the court, which will hurt his development. But will Garuba be the next Biyombo? I don't know. It's definitely possible. But I don't think it's as simple as saying there are some similarities between him and Biyombo, therefore his outlook is Biyombo.
 

Capt. Factorial

This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things
Staff member
If the question is should we use the #9 pick on Biyombo v.2, then we are in agreement, the answer is no. I think we are also in agreement that there will be better players available for the Kings at 9 than Garuba. And if we keep Holmes I think it will be hard for him to get on the court, which will hurt his development. But will Garuba be the next Biyombo? I don't know. It's definitely possible. But I don't think it's as simple as saying there are some similarities between him and Biyombo, therefore his outlook is Biyombo.
That's true. But I really don't have a lot to go on, and the stats and the measurables and the overall game seem very similar. Nobody knows how Garuba will turn out, but the most recent and apt comparison seemed to me to be Biyombo, and when I was looking up Euro stats to compare them I found that I'm far from the only person who has made the same comparison. It's certainly not going to be perfect, but in the end it's probably a better gauge of his future value than if you compared him to, say, Tim Duncan. That wouldn't make any sense.

As has been mentioned above, big men that aren't generational-level big men are not exactly a hot commodity in today's game, and until the pendulum swings back in that direction, players like Garuba who play D but don't seem to have much offensive game are likely to have a somewhat depressed value. And one thing that worries me a bit, is that as a guy who is going to make his mark as a defensive big man, Garuba's block numbers are not great. Maybe it's because he affects the offense in other ways, maybe it's because he's such a great shotblocker that nobody will challenge him, but it's also possible that shotblocking is just not one of his great strengths. I'd like to have had a chance to watch full games to get a better feel for that, but European games are not the easiest thing to find on TV out here.
 
My biggest issue with some of these prospects like Kai Jones, Sengun and Garuba is just the positional value of a big man if he's not going to be a generational type player. Like even if we lose Holmes this off-season, Im confident we can get 80% of him back in someone like Noel/Theis or even go a different direction with a spacer like Kelly O. I feel like that's essentially your hope with these back-half lotto big men; you're hoping they turn into a Turner/Holmes/Theis/Kelly O/Noel type C as a top 15-25 center.

It'd be one thing if there were no quality wing/guard prospects, but that's certainly not the case. There's gonna be SOME quality wing that's there at the 9/10 slot. Even still, I'd rather take a flier on a riskier wing prospect than grab a big man who you're hoping is the next Turner/Holmes impact level.
Exactly, and you can also typically find similar players in the mold of a Kai Jones in particular later in the draft or even undrafted. Nick Claxton says hi. Those tweener PF/C players are the worst tweeners you can get right now. For every Christian Wood that's being used like crazy by his franchise you get a G-league full of those types with their futures being highlighted by the potential of a camp invite or a 10 day contract. This is a draft where players going to the right team is going to matter big time.
 
That's true. But I really don't have a lot to go on, and the stats and the measurables and the overall game seem very similar. Nobody knows how Garuba will turn out, but the most recent and apt comparison seemed to me to be Biyombo, and when I was looking up Euro stats to compare them I found that I'm far from the only person who has made the same comparison. It's certainly not going to be perfect, but in the end it's probably a better gauge of his future value than if you compared him to, say, Tim Duncan. That wouldn't make any sense.

As has been mentioned above, big men that aren't generational-level big men are not exactly a hot commodity in today's game, and until the pendulum swings back in that direction, players like Garuba who play D but don't seem to have much offensive game are likely to have a somewhat depressed value. And one thing that worries me a bit, is that as a guy who is going to make his mark as a defensive big man, Garuba's block numbers are not great. Maybe it's because he affects the offense in other ways, maybe it's because he's such a great shotblocker that nobody will challenge him, but it's also possible that shotblocking is just not one of his great strengths. I'd like to have had a chance to watch full games to get a better feel for that, but European games are not the easiest thing to find on TV out here.
I've been watching some Sengun and Garuba games lately and while he could definitely develop into something more, Garuba is a role player and looks the part at the moment. And I don't think comparing someone to a player that's lasted as long as Biyombo has is some kind of insult haha. I think that comp is pretty good on a few levels to be honest. Guess what, if anyone the Kings draft has that kind of staying power then that means they did very well for themselves. The major difference with Biyombo is obviously length but maybe Garuba develops into a Charles Oakley type in time. I think he could certainly fit on the Kings for sure but yeah, value, value, value. The Kings went dropper last year and it came up combo G. They still badly need potential on the wing moving forward. They tried to swing for Bey in a deal but couldn't get it done. This might be the year to get it done while not having to move your former number 2 pick. Wagner, Moody, Barnes (crosses fingers), somebody will be there at that pick.
 
I'm impatiently waiting for bajaden's take on Usman Garuba. He seems to be all over the place on the mocks but I've moved him all the way up to 6th overall on my board right now. He's got moments where he makes mistakes like every prospect but I'm struggling to see anything he doesn't do well. Physically he looks like he belongs in the NBA already and he's obviously been very well coached. He's all over the place on defense with surprisingly nimble feet and hands on the perimeter and he plays taller in the post than his listed 6'8" height because of his long arms and quick leaping ability. And on offense he can shoot, he's a pretty good passer from the high and low post, he's got some face-up driving ability, and he should help with our rebounding woes.

After the top 4 of Cade, Green, Mobley, and Suggs I've got Jalen Johnson, Usman Garuba, Keon Johnson and Davion Mitchell all ranked fairly equally as the next 4 because of their potential as two-way players. And there's a very good chance one of those players will still be available at 9 so I could probably just stop there but rounding out my current top 10 are Kuminga and Moody who would both be excellent fits for us but some questionable decision-making and finishing ability leads me to believe they're both higher risk than the 8 players I ranked above them.
I have a lot of stuff coming. I've been caught up in moving back to my La Playa in Baja. It's been a lot of work and hasn't left me much time to do anything but watch film in what spare time I have. All done now, so I'll try and move Garuba up on my list just for you...
 
I've been watching Besiktas games lately and if they aren't willing to potentially let Sengun stay overseas to develop I don't like his chances under Luke. Holy cow his defense is bad. I can't see Walton playing him much if at all and at least early if they are trying to win he might have a legit gripe. Sengun should get better over time but he doesn't seem to have much understanding on that end of the floor and at times watches the game go by.
yeah I had the same thought on Luka. My post Luka draft assessment is don’t underestimate IQ.
 
yeah I had the same thought on Luka. My post Luka draft assessment is don’t underestimate IQ.
And never underestimate positional value relative to where the game is at currently. Luka was never not going to be a top pick and plays a position and a style that the league is built for right now. Sengun's argument for being drafted that high is he could be the next Jokic. Maybe, however unlikely considering bigs like that don't come along too often. Jokic is every bit as unique for a big as Dirk was in his time and you see how many chops at the block it took for him. Even so, Sengun has to go into a situation where a team will give him that opportunity and make use of the definite talent he has. He certainly has talent and skill nobody should argue that and yes, for the right team maybe that's a top 10 worthy gamble that will big time pay off. Look at Domantas Sabonis who is probably closer to a good comp than Jokic is. Sabonis found the right team but the question still remains if he's going to take that team anywhere at the center spot.

The Kings offense is fairly well accounted for at the moment and potentially long term if Bagley sticks. If you are a skill/non-athlete/non-defense big the options in team build are very narrow if you are looking to win. And I think Denver has a pretty decent team around Jokic defensively too. We already know Walton is going to go with role player toughness over talent, that's a pretty big hurdle for a big like Sengun and there is no way you can trust this franchise. Papa G, Giles, Bagley, this list should stop growing until this franchise can at least prove they can make it right with that Bagley pick. Richard Jefferson made a statement in that last Suns/Nuggets game about the Suns building through the draft. He said sometimes it's not a bad thing to draft for need like they did with Mikal Bridges. I think it depends on the draft of course but this looks like it might be shaking out that way. Especially for Sac who has a lot of spots and shots covered but NOTHING on the wing long term with legit value/potential.
 
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yeah I had the same thought on Luka. My post Luka draft assessment is don’t underestimate IQ.
My post Luke assessment is to draft basketball players not athletes. All the length, speed, hops, and athleticism in the world won't help you if you don't know what to do with it. I would also caution people away from thinking scorers are the only players who matter. If you're hoping to land a future MVP you probably need a guy who can put up 30 points a night but even those guys don't win championships by themselves. You still need 4 other guys who will grab rebounds, box out, set screens, make smart cuts off the ball, close out on shooters without fouling or taking themselves out of the play, and the list goes on from there. There's a lot of ways a player can help you win.
 
My post Luke assessment is to draft basketball players not athletes. All the length, speed, hops, and athleticism in the world won't help you if you don't know what to do with it. I would also caution people away from thinking scorers are the only players who matter. If you're hoping to land a future MVP you probably need a guy who can put up 30 points a night but even those guys don't win championships by themselves. You still need 4 other guys who will grab rebounds, box out, set screens, make smart cuts off the ball, close out on shooters without fouling or taking themselves out of the play, and the list goes on from there. There's a lot of ways a player can help you win.
Sounds like an endorsement for Scottie Barnes and Herb Jones. Would love both to be Kings. Has been a long time since the Kings had a big wing, who could drive and create (Hedo). Both could do that plus provide elite, switchable perimeter defending.
 
I saw a few garuba highlights yesterday, I was not impressed but I'll watch more.

I like him but there's not much evidence he's going to be a star if that's what people are thinking. He could certainly develop but the good thing about him is his floor is pretty high since he does play defense and has a super solid physical profile. The concern is whether he can he play center full time since the PF spot is of so little value. He's obviously undersized but I do think he can play significant minutes at C.
 
Yeah Im more convinced that Barnes is the absolute perfect mesh of fit and upside. He's gonna be a 3/4 flex wing, allows Harrison Barnes to play close to full time at the 4, adds elite big wing playmaking (which there's like...6 guys that could qualify for that tag) and has legitimate 1-4 defensive versatility. It's almost like he was designed to play next to Fox/Hali.