This was a brutal year for the Minnesota Gophers. Actually, that's pretty much an understatement. Not only did the Gophers go a grotesque 8-23 overall and 2-16 in-conference, they also suspended four players before the season ended, including three because of this. So all in all, not a very happy season for Richard Pitino and company.
One of the few bright spots Minnesota had was senior Joey King. The forward was the only leader on a team that desperately needed one, helped mentor the teams young players and of course provided one of the most heartwarming moments of the season following the Gophers incredible win over Maryland.
But does King have any chance to cut it in the NBA? And could he even be drafted? Let's take a look at his skill set.
NBA teams love big men who can shoot and King fits that bill. The senior is 6'9" and 235 pounds and shot over 40 percent from three the past two seasons. He also managed to do that while averaging more than four 3-point attempts per game over that same time frame, so his shooting ability is legit. He also shot 86 percent from the free throw line the past two seasons. And he upped his scoring by nearly two points (9.7 as a junior, 11.6 as a senior) so he's improved over the course of his career.
And while King may not be a bruiser like many 6'9" guys, he's a hard-worked who isn't afraid to play tough. That may be a cliche description for many players, but it's certainly true in King's case. He's also a kid with a lot of character, a natural leader and someone who says the right things. Always nice to have guys like that around.
If we're talking NBA, there are plenty. Rebounding-wise, King doesn't stack up against the types of forwards who are going to succeed at the next level. In his four years of college, King averaged 3.1 rebounds per game. He set his career high as a senior with 3.8 Yes, that's partly because he played away from the basket a lot, but those numbers aren't going to cut it.
And athletically, he just doesn't have the same level of speed, quickness and explosion that players at his position in the NBA has. If he's not going to be a traditional big that plays down low, he's going to need to guard small forward types, and that's a huge if. While King is the type of player who plays hard on defense, he'll likely struggle in that area in the NBA.
Finally, he shot just 42 percent this past season and previously shot around 46 percent during his career at Minnesota. That's mostly because he attempts so many 3-pointers, but it also shows he doesn't have the most developed offensive game.
It would be very surprising if King managed to get drafted. He's got plenty of intangibles, but not the skill set required of an NBA player. Hopefully he can find a career overseas if he wants to keep playing basketball.