Thursday night was another big night for John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats Program.  De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, and Bam Adebayo were drafted in the lottery portion of the NBA draft.

De’Aaron Fox went #5 overall to the Sacramento Kings.  Malik Monk went #11 overall to the Charlotte Hornets and Michael Jordan.  Bam Adebayo, unexpectedly, went #14 overall to the Miami Heat.  Many thought Bam would go lower and Monk would go higher.

Regarding Malik Monk dropping to 11th, it was a combination of teams thinking they needed to grab a big guy first.  I can honestly say that this publication hit the nail on the head, and they did it days before it happened.

“With all of this in mind, it is unlikely the Hornets will land Monk. Some mock drafts say he could fall out of the top ten, and it is very possible. What will need to happen for Monk to fall to the Hornets?

Well, basically, one team needs to overvalue Lauri Markannan or Jonathan Isaac. If that happens, I feel like one or two teams in the 6-10 range will panic, and pick a big man early.

We see this happen all of the time in other sports like the NFL. Specifically this year, there was an immense amount of defensive talent in the NFL draft. That lead to some teams overvaluing offensive players. It could easily happen Thursday night, if one or two teams in the top seven overvalues a PF or C.

Monk may be a bit of a pipe dream, but he’s one we can dream about until he gets taken before the 11th pick.”

The reason for Bam Adebayo going into the lottery is pretty simple.  Bam is a 6’10” beast of a human who showed he can also shoot the ball.  Much like Karl-Anthony Towns, Coach Calipari worked Bam into a low post presence to enhance his NBA prospects.

You can see the video of one of Bam’s workouts where he stroked 13 of 25 three-pointers from DEEP.

ANALYZING THE FIT

DE’AARON FOX – SACRAMENTO KINGS

The Sacramento Kings, despite some iffy management decisions, seem to be headed in the right direction.  The Kings have a very solid core group of young players and De’Aaron Fox is actually coming into a near perfect situation.

Our very own Angelo Carriero even tabbed the Kings as the #1 fit for De’Aaron Fox coming into the draft.  Feel free to check out that piece here.

Fox has a very good shot to be the Kings starting point guard from day one.  In fact, it should be a foregone conclusion, to be honest.  Ty Lawson and Darren Collison are solid point guards, but the Kings view Fox to be a franchise player.

“I know it’ll take a few years,” Fox said. “Nothing changes overnight. But for me it will be different. They asked me about that. But we’re just trying to steer this franchise in the right direction.”

There is also no shortage of enthusiasm from the Kings front office about De’Aaron Fox.  They wanted him so badly, they had kicked around the idea of trading #5 and #10 to move up.  They also had this to say about Fox:

“It was a guy that we all loved and in some way,” he said, according to The Sacramento Bee’sAilene Voisin. “If we had the No. 1 pick, he would’ve been our guy. 

“De’Aaron is our future.”

Here is an idea of what the Sacramento Kings lineup might look like in 2017-18, assuming Fox is the starter:

The Bottom line is De’Aaron Fox is in a great place, maybe not a great franchise.  However, he has two former ‘Cats to play with and the Kentucky Kings are going to make a push to overtake the Kentucky Suns for fandoms.

MALIK MONK – CHARLOTTE HORNETS

We covered the reason that Malik Monk did drop to number 11 earlier.  Now, we want to see how Monk could have fallen into a fantastic position.  For the Charlotte Hornets, having Malik Monk fall to 11 was like Christmas.

“Monk is the perfect player in the 2017 draft class for the Hornets.”

Monk is exactly the type of player that the Hornets need. He can space the floor with his smooth stroke from distance. Monk could be able to create his own shot off the dribble and for others with the ball in his hand. Charlotte could get back into the NBA Playoffs in 2018 if he has a great rookie season.

Monk could slide into the starting slot at shooting guard, however, it is more likely that Kemba Walker, Monk, and Nicholas Batum essentially rotate.  Monk would be backing up both of them, getting plenty of opportunities.

The Hornets could be a surprise team in the East.  With the addition of Dwight Howard, hopefully, a healthy Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and the addition of the explosiveness of Monk, they improved A LOT on draft day.

BAM ADEBAYO – MIAMI HEAT

The Miami Heat could not have been happier to see Bam Adebayo when they picked him.  Bam was projected late first round, but the Heat see the potential and took him in the lottery.

Pat Riley was nearly giddy when discussing his thoughts on Bam.

“The reasoning behind the selection of Bam is we felt, or I felt, all of us, probably the best athlete, hungry, humble and healthy. Very strong. Great workouts with us. Great interview. Saw him a number of times. Just off the charts from an athletic standpoint.

“We’re lacking depth in the frontcourt. There are a number of things we want to sort of cover and fill, but when he was on the board at 14, we felt just compelled to take him. Shot-blocker, explosive, a lob threat, jumper a leaper, runs rim to rim, can guard 1 through 5. We felt the need to get an athletic big.”

Bam is also stepping in an opportunity where he could make an impact from day one.  The Heat have their big man in the middle in Hassan Whiteside, but the power forward spot is available to take.  

James Johnson and Luke Babbit are free agents and Josh McRoberts cannot stay healthy.  Bam has the potential to step right in if the chips fall correctly for him.  He is going to be Whiteside’s backup at the center position as it is, but there is possibly a bigger role for him as a rookie.

Right now the Heat frontcourt is in flux, with questions abound.  Besides Whiteside and Bam, there really is nothing set in stone and the roster is fluid.  However, when one of the greatest basketball minds tabs you as a special player, it means a lot.

CONCLUSION

We discussed it in-depth on our basketball podcast, but the three lottery picks really did all go to great situations.

Fox is set to be the franchise player from day one.  Monk is a sorely needed piece to the Hornets puzzle, and Bam is bringing balance and stability to a group in flux in Miami.

We always have fun watching former ‘Cats do well in the NBA, this coming year will only be better with this trio in great positions for their success.

 

Images courtesy of Photos from the Associated Press and ESPN.com