NBA Draft Mock 1.0: Early pre-lottery projections for all 30 teams

Cade Cunningham - Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports
Cade Cunningham - Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports /
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NBA Draft, Jalen Johnson
NBA Draft, Jalen Johnson – Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. player. 9. 84. SF. Duke. Jalen Johnson

NBA Draft Mock 9th Pick: Sacramento Kings

With a less than stellar track record in the NBA Draft, except for last year’s steal job with Tyrese Haliburton, the Sacramento Kings cannot afford to mess this up anymore, especially with their young core starting to round into form. They don’t have a high draft position, but this deep class chisels out a big chance to flunk.

Unsurprisingly, Sacramento once again failed to crack the postseason or even the play-in tournament. Their offense is streaky though it verges more on acceptable, but their defense is basically inexistent, record the worst defensive rating in NBA history this past season.

Duke’s Jalen Johnson can help fix that and then some. The 6’8 forward is astoundingly versatile on defense, able to function as a perimeter stopper rim protector or post-up deterrent. His offensive arsenal consists of a reliable jumper and a penchant for reading the floor like a point guard, giving the Kings with a frontcourt passer that they haven’t had since DeMarcus Cousins.