Options at Pick No. 37

Much has been said of what the Sacramento Kings might do with the number-four overall pick. Use it? Trade back? Trade up with OKC? 

It’s tough to say.

In addition to that fourth pick, the Kings also have two second-round picks, including the 37th selection, which could very well provide another opportunity to add a decent piece or prospect.

Eddie House, Luc Mbah a Moute, and Richaun Holmes were all selected at 37th overall, and all three provided or, in the case of Holmes, are providing respectable contributions in this league. 

Here are a few names that could be the next NBA contributor to be taken at that spot.

Bryce McGowens 6’6″, 179 lbs., Nebraska SG/SF, 19 year-old Freshman

Bryce McGowens was the best player for a horrible Cornhuskers team this past year, and ESPN’s Mike Schmitz said of him in January that he has the habit of looking “like a surefire lottery pick some nights and a potential second-rounder on others.” 

As Schmitz wrote, McGowens is a “polarizing” prospect.

He shot a forgettable 27.4% from beyond the arc in his lone collegiate season, but scouts make note of his ability and willingness to shoot from well beyond the NBA line. In other words, they believe he is both capable and confident enough to be an effective three-point shooter. He is, at the end of the day, an 83% shooter from the charity stripe, so his shooting value isn’t entirely inflated with speculative beliefs about what he can do at the next level. 

Additionally, McGowens is able to utilize solid ball handling skills and an excellent use of his first step to get into and attack the paint. With the use of his smaller frame, he is able to create his own look via floaters and pull-up rhythm jumpers. According to Schmitz, against Ohio State in January, the lanky perimeter player showed a capacity “to change pace and get downhill to the rim and make a heady read out of pick-and-rolls.”

Part of the reason for his notable inconsistency throughout the season was that he was given constant attention by opposing defenses, and the lack of talent on Nebraska’s team steepened McGowens’ game time workload. 

Despite that more intense attention, McGowens was still able to wow spectators with some really special runs. Of course, that was balanced with some moments of prolonged inefficiency as he sometimes struggled with that tighter approach from the opposition.

As it stands, he isn’t regarded as a great playmaker who can open opportunities for teammates. This is why he relies so much on his shooting, and it’s another contributor for his up and down journey.

While he was able to be shifty while moving through the lane and traffic, his lower weight makes it harder for him to be effective through contact, which will need to be adjusted in the NBA. Not to mention his athleticism and explosiveness is really just about average among combine participants.

Offensively, McGowens presents an enticing option, but defensively, there’s less to like. On that end, he’s prone to displaying insufficient effort. Because of this lack of urgency and energy, McGowens soiled a decent scoring performance in that aforementioned game against the Buckeyes. That’s because Ohio State’s Malakai Branham put up a 35-point performance against a defensive assignment that included a heavy dose of McGowens.

But the upside is real. As “polarizing” as he may be, at 37, McGowens could be a great option that would be the definition of low-risk, high-reward. 

Of course, he has to be on the board for that to happen, something that may not be super believable, but which isn’t impossible.

Kendall Brown 6’8″, 205 lbs., Baylor SF, 19 year-old Freshman

Kendall Brown provides a lot of athleticism and intangibles that don’t produce the most visible results in the box score, but what he does provide makes him a great value at 37th overall, and one that could believably be available.

The primary thing that stands out about him is the fact he is an excellent athlete. Back in November, Mike Schmitz described him as one who has “the physical profile, quickness, speed and leaping ability NBA teams look for in a wing.”

At the combine, Brown shined when flashing his leaping ability. There he showed off the 2nd best max vertical jump of all the prospects at 41″. He also had the 8th best standing vertical at 31.5″.

On top of being explosive, Brown leans heavily on a high energy, high motor approach to the game that lent a lot as to why he was an effective player for the Baylor Bears, a program that has produced similar max effort guys like Sacramento’s Davion Mitchell and Brown’s teammate and fellow prospect Jeremy Sochan.

Add to it the “solid all-around instincts” Schmitz made note of, and Brown offers a lot in terms of things that can’t be easily taught— that is, physical ability, effort, and instinct. However, Brown does lack experience and, moreover, specific skills on both ends of the floor.

While a decent passer with potential to be a good one in the NBA, the question remains as to whether or not Kendall Brown is an offensive liability.

ESPN’s Jonathan Givony observed why the question is pertinent during the NCAA Tournament.

“Down 67-42 with 10:47 left in the second half, Baylor nearly pulled off one of the great comebacks in NCAA tournament history in an overtime loss to North Carolina,” Givony wrote. “They did it almost exclusively with the highly regarded freshman Brown glued to the bench.”

Brown is consistently left open and challenged to shoot the three, which he hits at a 34.1% clip. His “shaky ball-handling ability” is also a concern, and Givony further noted a bit to be desired in terms of the wing’s feel for the game. 

With a 6’11” wingspan and his high energy approach, Brown is not a bad one-on-one defender. At the same time, Brown has exhibited a shortage of off-ball awareness, often lapsing on that end. Plus, his frame isn’t super large and as a result he’s not very physical either.

Nevertheless, Kendall Brown still possesses a lot of unteachable upsides and intangibles that make him an excellent value at pick 37.

Patrick Baldwin Jr. 6’10”, 220 lbs., Milwaukee SF, 19 year-old Freshman

Patrick Baldwin Jr. has been in the process of a grand fall from grace. Prior to this past season, Baldwin was dubbed a top-10 prospect. Now, after an injury-riddled year under his father as coach, he’s slated to be an early second-rounder.

Beyond possessing a decent mix of ball handling, footwork, and passing ability, Baldwin stands out as a 6’10” wing with a 7’2″ wingspan at face value. Mash all of that up with what scouts call a nice shooting motion and it’s clear where the hype had originated and why it has not died. 

Schmitz labeled it as a “smooth stroke” and Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman noted that such mechanics and a decently high release point may “make it easy for NBA teams to ignore his numbers” regarding shooting percentages.

What are those numbers you ask? Baldwin shot just 34.4% from the field and 26.6% from three. Continuing to look beyond mere shooting potential, Baldwin’s shot selection has been knocked because he settles for tougher, even futile, attempts. 

It may not need to be said, but a good portion of the belief that exists in his shooting potential comes from what was seen in the wing’s high school and FIBA tape.

Worse, Wasserman considered Baldwin’s combine showing something that should not be ignored on draft night. He posted some of the worst verticals in combine history for a wing. Baldwin’s standing vertical was second worst and his max was the single worst result. His 26.5″ max vertical was, in fact, the third lowest of the past decade.

Plus, he’s not quick in any way either, finishing with the second lowest lane agility test and the fourth lowest three-quarter sprint.

Not only is he athletically challenged, his frame is smaller and he lacks strength, which often results in him being outmatched physically. The severity of that shortcoming could be lessened if he were a high effort player, but that’s not a characteristic associated with Baldwin.

Much of this is why he’s a subpar defender.

And when it was all said and done this year, Baldwin clearly failed to impress against mid-level competition while playing collegiately for Milwaukee. 

Still, he remains alluring, especially given the fact that an unhealed injury seems to be a central cause for such a letdown of a season. Baldwin had injured his ankle in his senior year of high school which was bothering him throughout this last year and eventually shut him down for the remainder of it.  

Though, of course, nagging injuries are a bit of a red flag.

Ultimately, though, Baldwin has a chance to work his way back and show why he was so highly touted. Then again, it could also be the case that he does little in the NBA. It’s just up to teams to make that call.

Wendell Moore Jr. 6’6″, 218 lbs., Duke SF, 20 year-old Junior

Much like Kansas’ Christian Braun, Wendell Moore Jr. is a jack of all trades, master of none.

Moore has ideal size at about 6’6″ and a 7’0″ wingspan on top of a strong frame, and he has a decent amount of explosiveness, tying for the fourth best standing vertical jump at the combine and the sixth best max vertical.

This in part results in him being a good defender, and a multi-positional one at that. Moore was willing and able to slide down onto power forwards at Duke, but he really excelled at perimeter defense and thus was in charge of handling the opponent’s biggest perimeter threat.

Jonathan Givony observed that Moore is “Duke’s best passer statistically,” finishing with 4.4 assists per game in his junior year. This was also evident based on the fact he was the designated inbounder. And whether he was serving as a ball handler, dribbling in transition, or in a position to make an extra pass, the wing player was impressive in both execution and decision making.

Wendell Moore is also a good shooter. This last year, he shot 41.3% from three on 3.2 attempts a game, a nice improvement from the 30.1% he shot the previous season. He’s not a sharpshooter by any means, but he is able to rest his hat on hitting the open looks and therefore keeping the defense honest. And for good measure, he shot 81.4% from the free throw line through three seasons for the Blue Devils.

A good defender, solid passer, and effective shooter with good size to be a wing in the NBA, Moore does a fair amount of everything. However, there are reasons why he’s a projected second round pick.

For one, despite the clear playmaking ability and instinct he flaunts, Moore isn’t perfectly well rounded. He is not a wizard when dribbling the ball and he struggles at times to finish.

Another one are the concerns with his aggressiveness and confidence. According to Mike Schmitz, Moore will shy away during big moments. There is also a tendency of his to pass up good looks, even the open jump shots he seemed to be fairly proficient at during his final year. Plus, he is void of an overall willingness and comfort to get physical.

Finally, he leaves questions regarding his consistency. Givony pegged Wendell Moore as susceptible to both “disappearing and making head-scratching plays on both ends of the floor, especially in high-leverage moments.” Substantiating the master of none tag, this means Moore will also lapse defensively, especially off-ball.

Even with those concerns preventing him from being a first round pick and limiting his ceiling, he would still be a great value at 37th overall. It can’t be forgotten that Moore, as a junior, is still younger than some sophomores in this draft class, offering a rare hybrid mix of youth and experience. 

Moore could be an excellent role player for years to come as a high-IQ addition that wants to win.

Peyton Watson 6’8″, 203 lbs., UCLA SF, 19 year-old Freshman

Peyton Watson was the 8th ranked player coming out of high school last year, but entering the draft after his freshman year—where he didn’t start a single game—it’s clear he has a lot of work to do in order to tap into that substantial potential.

Watson’s statistical impact for the Bruins was below underwhelming for the five-star recruit. He wasn’t ever expected to fill up the box score every game, but the lack of production was nevertheless surprising. In December, Sports Illustrated’s Kevin Sweeney declared Watson as the most disappointing of those recruits, noting his low shooting percentages. 

Those percentages never recovered as the 19 year-old from Long Beach finished the year shooting 32.2% from the field, including 35.6% from two, 22.6% from three, and 68.8% from the free throw line.

For the majority of his lone year in college, the game seemed to move a little too fast for him, and as a result both his playing time and performance suffered greatly.

The promise of Peyton Watson may not be beaming bright, but it still exists.

Beyond the fact that he’s a solid 6’8″ with a wingspan longer than 7-feet and good athleticism, Watson does add a nice defensive element that, on the back of his high effort, makes him an active and energetic disrupter. He’ll simply do whatever it takes, even finding ways to draw plenty of fouls.

And believe it or not, Watson’s mid-range stroke isn’t all that bad. He is also pretty adept at passing and ball handling, particularly in comparison to other freshman wings.

Of course, as a young collegiate player, he’d tend to dribble into trouble or take questionable shots, but by staying off-ball and keeping it simple, he always maintained his knack for being very fluid and kinetic in regards to both cutting to the basket and crashing the boards.

More than anything, it’s his presence as an active worker who is a good locker room guy that generates praise. Mike Schmitz in January noted how Watson is widely regarded as “a good teammate,” and one that always plays hard for coach Mick Cronin. 

Yes, he needs a lot of work to develop into anything close to what some imagined he could be when committing to UCLA—that is, a go-to guy who can create his own shot—and he may never be more than a role player, but with his work ethic, play style, and character, Watson could have a considerable NBA career.

Effort and personality only get a guy so far, though. It would be hard to imagine he’d see much playtime if he doesn’t refine and master a good three-point shot, so a lot rides on that. But nobody will expect him to enter an NBA rotation off the bat, so he’ll have some time.

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Kings Talk: Episode 67

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