Very quietly, the Oregon Ducks have pumped out a handful of NBA Draft prospects during the Dana Altman era. The 9-year head coach has seen Jordan Bell, Dillon Brooks and Chris Boucher go to the Warriors, Grizzlies and Raptors, respectively.
This year could be even better. There’s former 5-star center Bol Bol, the son of Manute who unfortunately suffered a season-ending foot injury back in January. He has already declared. There’s also fellow 5-star freshman Louis King.
The New Jersey native flew across the country to Eugene to help lead Oregon back to the Final Four after a 1-year absence. While that may be out of reach, he is one of the leaders on a Ducks team that is one win away from clinching a tournament bid Saturday night against Washington for the Pac-12 Tournament title.
The 6-foot-7, 188-pounder has averaged 12.6 points and 5.6 rebounds in his debut season. He’ll need to produce tonight against Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year Matisse Thybulle. King managed 19 points in a Jan. 24 meeting (a 61-56 Husky win).
An automatic tournament bid could give King the national exposure in March Madness to improve his draft stock. Let’s take a dive into his NBA prognostications, as well as mock drafts and big boards.
Louis King Draft Projections & Mock Draft
Jeremy Woo of SI.com lists him as the No. 51 overall prospect on his most recent mock draft. King’s stock took a hit after a torn meniscus last summer, which Woo mentioned as a justification to return for another year.
King has started slowly after returning from a torn meniscus, and so has Oregon, who are now without Bol Bol and Kenny Wooten going forward. The whole operation seems to be trending in the wrong direction, and while King’s length and tools make him a long-term person of interest, barring a huge second half, he may have a hard time rejuvenating his stock. King has size and a translatable perimeter skill set that still warrants close attention: he’s a solid ball-handler, passer and shooter and isn’t lacking for talent. He also has a reputation for being inconsistent with his effort and focus. Perhaps he trends back closer to the first round, but he might benefit from a second college season to maximize his position.
Bryan Kalbrosky of Hoops Hype shows in his aggregate mock draft that various outlets have disparate opinions. Bleacher Report and The Athletic leave King off of their drafts entirely, while ESPN and SI.com see him in the second round.
Bri Amaranthus of Yahoo Sports was still calling King a “one-and-done” type as soon as January.
The top 20 recruit is a “possible one and done” player, according to multiple scouts.
King’s offensive talent and smooth jump shot is easy to see anywhere on the court, but where he has improved most is his rebounding and defense. Once listed as a ‘weakness’, King leads Oregon with an average of 9.4 rebounds per game in conference play.
His size is ideal for an NBA wing, making him a prospect to watch this NBA Draft if he continues to soar in Pac-12 play.
Our own Jon Adams leaves him off of his most recent mock draft.
Louis King NBA Draft Big Board Rankings
Aran Smith’s NBA Draft Net has him as the No. 44 player in his top-100 prospects list.
ESPN’s Draft Board has him as the No. 15 small forward and No. 59 player overall, placing him just behind fellow Pac-12 forwards in Stanford’s KZ Okpala and Washington’s Matisse Thybulle.
He looks like a player that needs a full offseason to get completely healthy and come on like gangbusters for the Ducks in 2019-20. He could be a second-round flier this summer, but he would benefit from Altman’s tutelage.
Brooks, Boucher and Bell all left Oregon as upperclassmen. King has an opportunity for a bigger paycheck if he waits.