I like Wesley Matthews, and what he brings to the team. I also love the thrill of what the summer can bring. In the spirit of the latter, and with attention having been given to the former, I have been thinking about the highest realistic pick we can trade for in the draft, what it would cost, and whether the potential benefits outweigh that cost. The following scenario centers around Matthews, for better or worse.
The Kings' reported willingness to trade their #8 pick for veteran talent, their less-than desirable contracts (which expire in 2015), and their needs for perimeter defense and an outside shooter allow me to think that Matthews would be a good centerpiece as a trade for their pick.
I have compiled a list of 9 current mock draft predictions in the 8-10 range of picks. The parenthesized numbers are the amount of mock drafts in which that player landed in said range. Below each is my opinion of a comparable "lower-cost" version of each player, along with their Draft Express mock draft prediction.
The simple question - ignoring the "rental" contract, and not thinking too much about the peripheral pieces involved - as you read this: would giving up Matthews for one of these players be worth it to you?
Aaron Gordon, SF/PF (5): 18, 6'8", 220 lbs, 6'11" wingspan
A great multi-position defender with hops and an underrated passing game. Not much of an outside shot.
Bargain Brand: Damien Inglis (DE #39). Both are very young, unusually talented and mobile for their size, have terrific defensive tools, and possess a good floor vision for their position.
Doug McDermott, PF (5): 22, 6'8", 218 lbs, 6'9" wingspan
"Smartest player in NCAA basketball". Tremendous shooter/leader. Not a tremendous athlete.
Bargain Brand: T.J. Warren (DE #18). He's worse from distance, but still terrific in the midrange. Second highest scorer in NCAA basketball, behind McDermott.
Gary Harris, SG (4): 19, 6'4", 205 lbs, 6'7" wingspan
Defensive-minded shooting guard who can also score and distribute with decent efficiency.
Bargain Brand: Jordan Adams (DE #26). Defensive-minded shooting guard who can also score and distribute with decent efficiency.
Jusuf Nurkic, C (2): 19, 6'11", 280 lbs, 7'2" wingspan
HUGE. Unusually fast, banger-type center.
Bargain Brand: Walter Tavares (DE #32). Not as quick laterally as Nurkic, but still has a classic defensive-center game around the basket. New to the game, but has shown a lot of talent.
Dario Saric, SF/PF (2): 20, 6'10", 223 lbs, 6'10" wingspan
High-IQ, does-it-all type 3/4 with a professional pedigree.
Bargain Brand: Kyle Anderson (DE #23). Truth be told, I prefer the Bargain Brand to the real thing. Anderson has real "steal" potential as a very unusual, very talented point forward/rebounder/outside shooter/slow-but-productive head-scratcher.
Marcus Smart, PG (2): 20, 6'3", 227 lbs, 6'9" wingspan
6'3" power forward. Not really. Sort of. Defends everything, and doesn't slow down. Able to lead the floor, as well as distribute with moderate efficiency. Inefficient shooter, but can score inside.
Bargain Brand: Aaron Craft (DE Undrafted). When the first Defensive Player of the Year of the NCAA's no-hand-checking era is a point guard, you know the guy's special. Could be the best buy-low scenario for a team that needs defense at the position.
Nik Stauskas SG (2): 20, 6'6", 207 lbs, 6'8" wingspan
High-efficiency, true shooting guard.
Bargain Brand: Spencer Dinwiddie (DE #38). Plays more point, but similar in size and stats.
James Young SG/SF (2): 18, 6'7", 213 lbs, 7'0" wingspan
Oversized shooting guard who performed well at the Combine. Good scorer, but not a great outside shooter when contested. Defense is a work in progress.
Bargain Brand: Devyn Marble (DE #51). Similar, offense-first SG with good size and a mediocre outside game.