With the NBA Draft Lottery just hours away, the Sacramento Kings are hoping that their 5.3% chance of landing the top pick somehow comes through. The Kings have an 18.3 percent chance of moving into the top three. The most likely scenario is that the Kings will pick seventh. They can choose no lower than tenth.

We specialize in the NBA Draft, obsessively looking at players from as many angles as we can find, or dream up. We've been studying the Draft intently since 1999. This background information is a set up to tell you that THIS draft is top-heavy and a case could be made for up to eight different players to be selected number one.

With a shade over five weeks remaining before the 2018 NBA Draft, we honestly have not decided with all certainty who the first pick should be. Usually by this time, the first pick has crystallized to us.That is not always the case. In 2013, we switched from Anthony Bennett to Victor Oladipo (phew, glad we did that) just days before the Draft. But most years, we have a strong feeling by this time. There was no doubt in 2016 when Ben Simmons came along. In 2015, we were the first web site (at the time, BasslineSpin.com) to identify Karl Anthony Towns as the top choice.

Regardless of where Sacramento picks, we feel confident that a good player who can help (some sooner than others) will be available.

But the point of this quick post is to help myself continue to work through all the different thoughts I have about the future of the players in the mix for the top pick on our HoopObsession draft board.

I really like Jaren Jackson Jr. I look at what he can do on defense (guard multiple positions), and his ability to hit a high percentage of deep shots, and I envision what he might become. My case against him as the top pick is based on seeing him not be aggressive enough for my own taste.


Jackson plays D and has touch.

Quality BIGs are abundant in this draft, and the best one might end up being Wendell Carter Jr. He's a potential two-way pivot that can be a franchise pillar. He can make perimeter shots but also has the toughness and athletic ability to rebound at a high rate. He was actually slightly more efficient than his more heralded Duke teammate, Marvin Bagley III. Carter is generally thought to be behind DeAndre Ayton in the pecking order. But consider that Ayton played next to Dusan Ristic (a respectable player) and Carter played alongside Bagley (a college superstar). If you reversed the teams for Carter and Ayton, don't you think Carter would have had monster numbers?

For further consideration, check out the highlights below of a Carter/Ayton head-to-head match up in 2017 in the EYBL.


Carter won this battle of the BIGs.

The aforementioned Marvin Bagley III was the player that gave me the best sense that I was witnessing a future star. He is agile, and skilled around the basket. He's too quick for most BIGs to handle. He came into the ACC and easily won the Player of the Year award, averaging 21 points and 11 rebounds per game as a freshman! He has an uncanny ability to score. How much of that was the easier pickings' that comes against college defenses remains to be answered. Bagley is not a great shooter. He hit just 62% of his free throws which is troubling. His feel for the game could be better. He had more turnovers than assists. And finally, while Bagley is by no means a terrible defender, he simply does not figure to impact a game on D the way Carter or Ayton or Jackson or Mo Bamba potentially can.

Who else should be considered for the top pick?

Luka Doncic is the best European prospect. We have learned to always be careful of the hype machine when it comes to potential "GREAT" international players. In this case, we are convinced that Doncic is a truly skilled player that is worthy of attention. He has a tremendous feel for the game (better than 2-to-1 assist-to turnover ratio), and he has great size for a guard at 6'8" 220-ish. He will help a team immediately on offense and on defense. His three point shooting has not been great this season (30%) and his athletic ceiling is not nearly as high as others in this draft.


Doncic is good. How much better can he be?

Trae Young is the best offensive player in the Draft. His shooting range is unlimited and his vision as a playmaker is fantastic. Young averaged a whopping 27.4 points per game while adding 3.9 rebounds, and 8.7 assists per contest. Young shot 36% from three-point range. He is an excellent 86% foul shooter. Young led the entire NCAA in points per game, assists per game, and free throws made. ...Young led the NCAA in offensive boxscore plus/minus as well. ...On defense, Young wasn't terrible but he figures to be undersized for a few years in the NBA until he gains strength/weight. ...It is possible that Young will be more effective in the NBA where he will have better athletes and better shooters as teammates.

Mo Bamba from Texas is a player with a chance to be great in the future. We think he has further to go than others, especially on offense. His shooting in still inconsistent and he doesn't score nearly as easily as Bagley, Carter, or Ayton. Bamba is potentially game changing on defense. (But then, so was Hasheem Thabeet).

Michael Porter Jr. barely played at Missouri due to a back injury. It is extremely hard to judge Porter since he looked less than 100% when he returned late in the season. His track record prior to college suggests he will be a really good pro going forward if he can stay healthy. He can score and he has size and skill to fit into the landscape of a SF or stretch-4.

That's eight players. Jaren Jackson, Wendell Carter, DeAndre Ayton, Marvin Bagley, Luka Doncic, Trae Young, Mo Bamba, and Michael Porter Jr. Should the Kings fall to ninth, we still would be comfortable with Miles Bridges as a consolation prize. After that, it gets less appealing in our opinion.