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Seven center prospects Kings could consider in 2021 draft

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Kai Jones

The Kings have needs. On paper, the most pressing situation is at the wing, but with the impending free agency of Richaun Holmes, they might need to shift their resources to the center position.

Unfortunately, the Kings didn’t land in the top three of the 2021 NBA Draft, where Evan Mobley will be selected. That means Sacramento is going to have to sift through prospects and try to find a diamond in the rough in an otherwise soft big man draft.

There are options for the Kings, but very few of which can help right away. If the team hopes to compete for a playoff spot, they’ll need to either find a way to pay Holmes or trade for a seasoned starter. 

That doesn’t mean that general manager Monte McNair shouldn’t try to address the position long term via the draft, only that he has to bring a two-prong approach to filling the hole in the middle.

Here are seven big man options, and a ballpark estimation of where they could go on draft night. 

Alperen Sengun, Power Forward, Beskitas

Measurables: 6-foot-9, 240 pounds Age: 18

Sengun dominated the Turkish league at just 18 years old. There is talk that he’s taller than his listed 6-foot-9, but there are some real concerns about his position on the court and his ability to play defense at the NBA level. He’s got every offensive trick in the book and could be an impact player, but this is a gamble.

 

Sengun is projected to go anywhere from No. 8 to No. 15. If the Kings want him, they likely need to stay at No. 9 and select him there.

Kai Jones, Power Forward/Center, Texas

Measurables: 6-foot-11.5, 221 pounds Age: 20

Jones is the anti-Sengun. Raw, athletic, long and packed with potential, this might be the first center taken off the board on July 29. He will take time to develop, but the skill set is intriguing.

He shot 38.2 percent from 3-point range, which might translate to the next level. He also didn’t take the leap that many expected during his sophomore season at Texas. This is a high-risk, high-reward pick. He could go anywhere from No. 9 to No. 20, which is basically the 2021 NBA Draft in a nutshell.

Isaiah Jackson, Center, Kentucky

Measurables: 6-foot-10, 205 pounds Age: 19

If you’re looking for a young Richaun Holmes, this might be the guy. Jackson took advantage of his opportunity at Kentucky, especially late in the season when he started to get comfortable. Listed at 6-foot-10, with a 7-foot-3 wingspan, he is one of the better defensive big prospects in the draft.

Jackson will need time to grow into his body, but he earned All-Defensive honors as a freshman and averaged 2.6 blocks in just 20.8 minutes per game. If the Kings are interested, they could try to move back into the late teens to acquire Jackson. He’s set to go anywhere from No. 15 to No. 25 in this year’s draft class.

Day’Ron Sharpe, Center, North Carolina

Measurables: 6-foot-11, 265 pounds Age: 19

Sengun is the offensive weapon, Jones is the prospect, Jackson is the defender and Sharpe is the enforcer. Built like a Mack truck, the 6-foot-11, 265-pound Sharpe will keep an NBA training staff busy, but there is a lot to like. He’s a throwback player, but every team needs a big guy that won’t get pushed around.

Sharpe is set to go anywhere from the mid-twenties all the way to the early second round. There are better fits for the Kings, but if he slides to them at No. 39, you have to at least kick the tires.

Jericho Sims, Center, Texas

Measurables: 6-foot-10, 245 pounds Age: 22

Sims is that other guy from Texas. The one that hits his head on the rim. Kai Jones and Greg Brown got the publicity, but Sims is earning a ton of buzz with his 44.5-inch vertical and 7-foot-3 wingspan. He’s a defensive player who still is developing, even after four years in college.

There is potential for him to surprise a few folks, not only on draft night, but after a few seasons developing in the G League or perhaps on the back end of the bench. Sims could make it deep into the second round, which would mean the Kings would need to grab another pick or trade down. 

Isaiah Todd, Power Forward/Center, G League Ignite

Measurables: 6-foot-10, 210 pounds Age: 19

 

Todd might be more of a power forward early in his career, although there is potential for him to develop and grow into something more. Listed as 6-foot-10 with a 7-foot-1 wingspan, Todd has a smooth perimeter stroke, knocking down 36.2 percent from 3-point range in the bubble.

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Thought of as more of an early second-rounder early in the process, there is a chance that Todd has moved into the first round. If he’s sitting there at No. 39, the Kings should give him a long look.

Philip Petrusev, Center, Serbia

Measurables: 6-foot-11, 235 pounds Age: 21

Petrusev tore it up at Gonzaga before heading back to his native Serbia to play professionally during the pandemic. In the Adriatic league, he managed to average 23.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.1 blocks while shooting a stellar 41.9 percent from 3-point range.

Petrusev’s stock is a little all over the board, but there is a good chance he makes it to the Kings at No. 39. At worst, he’s a draft and stash candidate. At best, he’s an intriguing stretch five prospect with potential for more.