Basketball is back in Seattle (most likely) and things are looking up for Seattle sports fans across the board. It is exciting times right now in terms of the direction things are heading in respect to Seattle based teams being put on the map. With that being said lets take a little time to examine the possible choices Seattle has to choose from in the upcoming NBA Draft.
The Kings record as of now is 16-26 and the Kings are in 4th place in the Pacific Division. I think it is safe to say that the Sonics probably have a good chance at picking up a top 5 prospect. After evaluating the Sonics needs along with the possible prospects coming available in the draft it is clear that the Sonics need a guard as well as a small forward to bring a better balance to the depth chart.
The 6-5 225 pound Kansas shooting guard Ben McLemore has to be the first option to look at in terms of what can be translated in to immediate production value and potential. The Kansas freshman is averaging 16.4 ppg and has a 44 3p% along with 5.4 rpg. He could be possibly the best pro prospect in the draft and would be a great addition to help bring up that .440 team shooting percentage. There are some concerns as far as McLemore being a character liability in light of his record where he was dismissed from Oak Hill for violating team rules, forcing him again to transfer, this time to Christian Life Center. Once on campus, McLemore was arrested for failing to show up to a court case for possession of alcohol as a minor. Despite his reputation he is still an irresistible opportunity that Seattle has to evaluate.
With the lack luster production of Kings SF John Salmon the Sonics need to move in another direction. Shabazz Muhammed could be that direction. The 6-6 UCLA SF averages 18.2 PPG and has a 45 3p% . There is no question that Muhammed is relentless but there are some concerns about him having the skills to be a number 1 pick, even so it isn’t hard to figure out he is at least a top 5 guy.
Another prospect that could be considered an option would be Cody Zeller the 7-0 ft 240 pound sophomore forward from Indiana University. Zeller averages 17.2 ppg and 8.2 rpg. Cody is a highly skilled seven-footer who runs the floor and rebounds the ball well. This generally sums up most of Cody’s skills in one sentence. Zeller seems to be a better fit as a role player at the next level. He is not a franchise player, and thus not worthy of a number 1 pick. He is a winner however and is a mobile 7’ who is skilled on the offensive end and is a solid rebounder, all solid qualities which would make him top 5 pick worthy. I see him being able to contribute right away and possibly start.
Demarcus Cousins has the Sonics looking solid at the Center position but they could probably take a look at the Kentucky freshman center Nerlens Noel as a possible option to fit in to a poward forward role. Noel’s appeal as an elite NBA prospect stems directly from his ability to protect the goal.With broad, sculpted shoulders and standing 6’11” in sneakers, Noel has the cut upper body you and I both wish we had. He’s got long arms and the foot speed and springs to cover enormous ground and aerial territory in order to track down loose rebounds, finish in transition or catch lobs at the ball’s highest point. Being able to transport a body his size from point A to point B with speed and aggression triggers fear in penetrating guards and opposing front courts. The NBA is changing in terms of athleticism and Noel is an athletic nightmare on both sides of the ball.
It remains to be seen exactly where the Sonics will end up in the NBA draft but they should be poised for a top pick and there are deffinatly some high caliber players that will be available. With rumors of Phil Jackson and Larry Bird on the radar for possible GM’s, things are getting off to a promising start for the return of the Sonics to the Seattle market.