Three former University of Kentucky stars — De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk and Bam Adebayo — were NBA Draft lottery picks on Thursday night in New York.
Fox went first, to the Sacramento Kings at No. 5 overall. Monk followed at No. 11 to the Charlotte Hornets. And the Miami Heat wrapped up the lottery portion of the draft by taking Adebayo at No. 14.
Here is a roundup of what NBA Draft analysts had to say about the teams that chose the former Cats:
Ford raved about the Kings’ draft. “It has been a long time since I've loved anything the Kings have done. But I loved this draft for them,” he wrote. “For one thing, the team desperately needed to address its culture. Just as important, it needed to fill some gaps on the roster. Fox is the perfect point guard for Sacramento. It's not just his quickness and athleticism, it's his approach to the game — the edge he plays with on both sides of the ball. The Kings have needed a true leader in the locker room and on the floor, and Fox has the intangibles to be that guy. … It was a good night to be a Kings fan.”
Ford gave the Hornets’ overall draft a B+. “The Hornets wanted a shooter and Monk should be fantastic in that role — the best scoring guard in the draft,” he said. “He can be streaky as a shooter, his defense is questionable and he lacks ideal length, but he's such an explosive, instinctual scorer that I think he'll have a long career as a gunner off the bench or perhaps a starter — especially if he works on his handle and can take over some point guard duties. There's a star quality to him.”
The Heat received a C+. “Bam Adebayo looks the part of a lottery pick, with an NBA body, long arms and explosive athleticism. He has particularly quick feet for a player his size, allowing him to guard multiple positions on the floor. But there seemed to be something missing during his freshman year. He didn't always rebound or play with intensity. Despite his size and athleticism he struggled to finish over length. And while he reportedly has a nice perimeter game, he didn't show it at Kentucky. Perhaps he'll be like Skal Labissiere and blossom outside of Kentucky. But I'm a little skeptical and I would've taken Harry Giles.”
Hornets get a B+: “As a full-fledged Malik Monk acolyte, let me say three things about Thursday,” Sharp wrote. “First, I'm bummed that I have to watch Dwight Howard anytime I want to check in on Monk next year. Second, between adding weight and learning how to score and finish in the lane, Monk will probably take a year or two before he's effective in the NBA. But third, at some point there will be a new center in Charlotte, and we gotta bring the Dunk and Monk nickname to life. Dunk and Monk is the future in Charlotte.”
An A+ for the Kings: “Fox is great, and instead of trading up to get him, the Kings waited for him to fall at five. Then they turned the No. 10 pick into 15 and 20. Justin Jackson should be an excellent role player for them, and Giles is smart gamble at 20. I don't want to get too excited, and I'm worried about jinxing this, I don't know what to trust here, but... The Kings had a great draft? It really was a crazy week in the NBA.”
Sacramento was one of Bontemps’ “winners” of the draft. “The Kings have had, shall we say, a checkered draft history over the past few seasons. But it’s hard not to look at the way this night played out for them in any way other than a win,” he wrote. “Not only did the Kings get the man they targeted the whole time — Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox — with the fifth pick, but they turned around and slid a few spots back from the 10th pick to get North Carolina forward Justin Jackson, a good shooter, at 15 and Harry Giles, a former top prospect who has been slow to recover from knee injuries, with the 20th selection. It was the kind of smart, solid drafting the Kings haven’t done enough of in recent seasons.
Another of Bontemps’ winners was the Minnesota Timberwolves: “Word on the street coming into the draft was that Tom Thibodeau wanted to get a veteran to help Minnesota speed up its rebuilding process. He certainly did that, sending Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine and the No. 7 pick (which turned into Lauri Markkanen) to the Chicago Bulls to be reunited with all-star forward Jimmy Butler, who is coming off his first all-NBA season. Now Minnesota has Butler to go along with Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, which should allow the Timberwolves to get back into the playoffs for the first time since 2004 — and the first time, period, without Kevin Garnett. The fact that Minnesota was able to get Butler and not completely get out of the first round, allowing them to take Creighton center Justin Patton, makes this a huge win for them.”
The Kings’ pick of Fox got a B for value and an A for fit. “Here’s a surprise: The Kings drafted a player from Kentucky. Even with DeMarcus Cousins now in New Orleans, Fox joins Willie Cauley-Stein and Skal Labissiere as John Calipari–coached players plying their craft in Northern California. With two athletic, young 7-footers filling the lane with Fox, expect the Kings to run, run, and run some more. That will be good for Fox since his inability to shoot with range could be a huge liability for him in the half court. If he becomes even an average three-point shooter in the NBA, this could be a great pick for Sacramento.”
Monk at No. 11 got A’s for both value and fit. “Some highly touted player was bound to drop out of the top 10 in a draft this deep, and that wound up being Monk, who could have potentially gone as high as No. 3. … While he will need to improve defensively to be in Steve Clifford’s good graces, this was as good an outcome as the Hornets could have expected at this spot.”
The Heat’s pick of Adebayo got C’s across the board: “Everyone said the draft would open up after the first dozen picks were off the board, and the Heat made the first real shocker of the night when they selected Adebayo, who was seen as a late-first-round pick through most of the draft process. There’s no questioning Bam’s athletic ability: He’s light on his feet for a guy who is built like a tank. However, he will have to become more of a perimeter-oriented player in Miami’s pace-and-space system.”
“Fox played point guard for John Calipari — just like Derrick Rose, Brandon Knight, and John Wall,” Tracy said. “It’s good pedigree, in other words.”
“Monk was incredibly fun to watch — always a threat to score 30 or even 40,” Tracy said. “The best scorer in the high school class of 2018 (whoever that is) just watched him go here and figured, “Hey, maybe Calipari will let me score that many, too. I’ll put in my eight months in Lexington and then get up onstage in the early part of draft evening.”
“Adebayo was injured for a portion of his time with Kentucky, which is probably the only reason he wasn’t drafted in the top 10,” Tracy said. “And if he is anything like prior Kentucky bigs like Anthony Davis and Karl-Anthony Towns, he will be a good value at this spot.”