Prospects the Kings May Select: Part Seven

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 16: Emoni Bates poses for a portrait during the 2023 NBA Draft Combine Circuit on May 16, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2023 NBAE (Photo by Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images)

We’ve got more.

Here is another collection of prospects the Sacramento Kings might consider for June 22nd’s NBA Draft. The previous six parts of this series are available on our home page.

Emoni Bates 6’9″, 179 lbs. Eastern Michigan SG – Sophomore, Age 19

Of all the “sleepers” in this draft, Emoni Bates might be one of the more talked about candidates.

The immediate strength of his that helped him score 19.2 points per game is his pull up mid range shot. Bates averaged 6.5 points per contest on jumpers off the dribble, pulling up out of the pick-and-roll as well as in isolation. The form is smooth and his fluidity allows him to hit coming off movement or drifting to either side. He’s also converting these looks with little space, sinking some really tough looks with confidence.

Off of that, he’s also got plenty of upside beyond the arc, where he actually operated more. Bates shot just 33% from three, but he did so on 7.7 attempts per game, with adequate mechanics, and legitimate range. He’d pull up from the perimeter whenever the defense gave him space or went under a screen. When pulling up, he’ll launch from a few feet behind the line and with some success. He’ll also hit step backs. 

As a 39% shooter on all catch-and-shoot attempts, there’s upside as an off-ball floor spacer. 

But Bates does not get to the rim all that well. He lacks explosion of his drives, creating little, if any, separation. Similar to the lack of burst is his lack of bounce, which produces marginal lift and hang time. It’s part of the reason he struggles finishing through contact, and it’s a main reason he’s so heavy on the pull up’s, which creates predictability. Also, his left-handed dribbling could use some tightening.

Defensively, Bates needs a complete makeover. He’s a low engagement, low effort defender. He barely gets contests on guys, and is a total sieve, allowing practically anyone to blow by him. The thin and light frame lends little to guarding in the post, where he’s pushed around by everyone, even smaller guys. Reactivity off-ball is also paltry as he offers no resistance as a helper.

Bates also averaged just 1.4 assists per game while committing 2.5 turnovers per. He’s not a playmaker. He gets tunnel vision and forces up some bad shots. When he does choose to pass, it’s frequently too late.

Another thing teams are aware of is that Bates was arrested back in September after being pulled over and found with a concealed weapon that had an altered serial number. Less than a month later, he and his defense plead down to a misdemeanor, dropping the felony charges, which resulted in his reinstatement by the team. 

In all, he’s a projected mid to late second round pick, but there might be a team that sees more in him and takes Emoni Bates a little earlier than that. Keep in mind, he just worked out for Sac.

Mojave King 6’5″, 200 lb. G League Ignite (by way of New Zealand) SG – Age 21

Despite being one of the less revered members of the Ignite in this class, Mojave King has proven to be more than a cool name since he has a real chance to be a useful 3-and-D wing.

King is a good athlete, finishing with one of the better three-quarter sprint times at the combine as well as some of the best results in both leaping tests. At the same time, he moves well and has a fairly sturdy frame despite not having the greatest size.

Defensively, he plays with a lot of energy, proving to be very effective on the perimeter with his lateral movement and decent length (6’8″ wingspan). The engagement and energy on that end of the floor is there, and with his hopping ability, he shows some great contests and closeouts both on-ball and as a rotational helper.

The shooting upside is certainly there. In the G League this past season, he was inconsistent, shooting just 24.3% from three-point range on 2.3 attempts per, but his form is fluid and his release is quick. In a couple seasons in Australia’s NBL, he shot above 38% from three, and at the combine, he had one of the more positive shooting performances. Most agree he has a knack for shooting the ball after coming off of movement.

What’s more, he’s a willing cutter and more than committed to contributing on the glass, averaging 4.4 per game in the G League, including 1.1 on the offensive boards. And he has some playmaking upside.

But he needs to refine the speed with which he processes the game. His handles also need significant tightening. 

In terms of self creation, he lacks a dangerous first step and struggles finishing through contact. The efficacy of his attacks to the basket are contingent on his outside shooting threats because he’s able to target hard closeouts. And that shooting consistency that eluded him this past season needs to be located.

Also, he’s a bit undersized at just 6’5″ for him to be a wing, so he doesn’t have much margin for error on the defensive end, where he makes some aggressive choices that don’t always pay off.

Still, there are lots of tools that Mojave King has that can make him a rotational asset in the NBA.

Isaiah Wong 6’4″, 178 lbs. Miami PG/SG – Senior, Age 22

After a nice combine performance that got him on teams’ radars, Miami’s Isaiah Wong is a combo guard with a two-way skillset.

Wong can create shots for himself quite well. He’s got a quick first step, uses screens astutely, has the athleticism to go to the rim, and has the body control to pull up. He averaged over 16 points per game in his last three seasons for the Hurricanes. 

He’s great at pushing in transition and finishing in the open floor, capitalizing on his confident style of play.

With that, he’s also got real upside as a catch-and-shoot floor spacer when off the ball. Overall from three, he shot 38.4% from deep on 4.3 attempts per game and he is especially effective when his feet are set.

The lateral quickness and 6’7″ wingspan—long for his position—come together for some nice play on the defensive end. He’s bought into that side of the ball, proving to be a disruptive option on the perimeter. His length and bounce provide good closeouts, and it boosts his help contests as well. Just as his engagement grew year by year at Miami, so did his strength and frame.

At 3.2 assists per game, he’s adequate as a playmaker as he’ll make some smart reads. Plus he’s a contributor to securing the rebound, averaging 4.3 a game as a senior from the guard position.

But he committed 2.1 turnovers per game and is not gifted with the best instincts to be a primary facilitator. His confidence on offense can also lead to some horrible decisions regarding shot selection as he’ll often settle.

His shooting consistency is also in need of work. Even when he’s hitting them, it’s evident his shooting form is not the smoothest, nor is it always consistent in its mechanics. 

At the end of the day though, Isaiah Wong has real two-way upside that could help him develop into a useful player in spite of his advanced age.

Adama Sanogo 6’9″, 258 lbs. UConn (by way of Mali) C – Junior, Age 21

Fresh off a national title and a solid combine showing, Adama Sanogo has presented himself as a nice big man option later in the draft.

The big man from Mali is best in the post with his back to the basket. He’s ridiculously strong and well-built, but he also exhibits patience, footwork, and decent touch. Down there he’s efficient with his scoring (63.7% from two-point range) whether that be battling with other bigs, exploiting a mismatch, making a cut, or throwing in a put back. The utilization of pump fakes and pivots are all sound, and he can finish with both hands.

Admittedly, low post offense is not enough to catch the attention of NBA teams. His rebounding on both ends, however, is unbelievably good. He averaged 7.7 boards per contest with 2.6 coming on the offensive glass as a guy who crashes the boards with fervor. Boxing guys out, his strength and immovable body are weapons.

Sanogo also moves well for his size, using that to effectively get in stride on transition breaks. 

Most critical to his future is his status as a stretch big, but there is legitimate upside there. On 1.3 attempts per game, he shot 36.5% from beyond the arc. Most of his makes were when defenses left him alone, but he proved he could punish teams for doing that. His shot motion is predictably grounded, but his touch seems to be real. It’s noteworthy that he’s a 76.6% free throw shooter and demonstrates some mid-range skill.

His strength, 7’3″ wingspan, and low center of gravity helps him as a defender, but he won’t be astounding on that end at the next level. In simple terms, he is not a rim protector, nor does he project much versatility. His athleticism is not good enough for him to utilize the full extent of his length, he does not defend well in space, and quicker players have little trouble with him.

Adama Sanogo’s defense doesn’t wow anyone and his three-point shooting probably has plenty of doubters, but one of his biggest draws is the fact he was an important contributor on a championship team, and one who stepped up his play as the stakes got higher.

Toumani Camara 6’8″, 220 lbs. Dayton (by way of Belgium) PF – Senior, Age 23

Toumani Camara has continued to climb as of late, putting himself in a position to be a nice second round option.

He’s a good athlete, finishing with some of the best times in the lane agility and shuttle run tests at the combine. With his mobility and length (7’1″ wing span), it makes him an ideal fit for the modern 4 position.

As a scorer, he’s quicker than some bigs and has some body control, so he’s able to put the ball on the floor to score at the rim, where he converted 66% of his shots. In the post, he’s patient, and being ambidextrous—a key trait—he can finish with either hand, proving to be adept with his hook. Though he isn’t an astounding self-creator, he’s a good roll man and runs very well in transition to put himself in a position to score.

Camara also has good strength in his frame, which along with his mobility makes him an excellent rebounder. As a senior, he averaged 8.6 per game, including 2.3 on the offensive glass. 

This past season, he shot 36.3% from three on 2.4 attempts, and over the last two seasons combined, he shot about 35% from deep. His shot form is smooth and repeatable, and the Belgian has made steady strides in that department after shooting below 24% from that range in his first two years.

And he’s touted as a potential playmaking big, making some smart passes every so often and averaging nearly 2 assists per contest (.134 assist percentage). There’s upside there.

Throughout his college career, though, he’s been turnover prone. Camara made some progress for this past season, but he still committed 2.1 turnovers per game. 

While he makes some nice rotations to make some help contests with his length, he needs refinement on that end as he lacks discipline and awareness at times. 

Also, he has the bad combination of struggling to score through traffic while also sometimes getting passive on that end.

Even still, Toumani Camara has some size, athleticism, and scoring upside, which could really lead to him becoming a useful rotational member on an NBA team.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Kings Talk
Kings Talk

Kings Talk – A Cap City Crown Podcast on the Sacramento Kings

Kings Talk: Episode 67

On this episode of Kings Talk presented by Cap City Crown, Tony and John discuss who has the best shot at winning the third backup center role, Mike Brown’s first real interview of the offseason, […]

The post Kings Talk: Episode 67 appeared first on Cap City Crown.

Kings Talk: Episode 67
Kings Talk: Episode 66
Kings Talk: Episode 65
Kings Talk: Episode 64
Kings Talk: Episode 63
Kings Talk: Episode 62
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments