Willie Cauley-Stein:

Discussion in 'Kings Rap' started by bajaden, Jun 11, 2017.

  1. bajaden

    bajaden Well-Known Member

    There's been a little discussion about Willie, particularly of late, in regards to throwing him in as filler in a trade. Something I'm against at this moment in time. Especially since I feel Willie is on the verge of a breakout, and because I think you have to give big men three to four years to develop before you know what you have. While I'll admit that Willie is a bit of a strange duck, he's also very athletically gifted, and came to the game of basketball later than most.

    Strange duck or not, he appears to be a hard worker that's willing to put in the time. At the end of the day, that usually results in improvement, and sometimes dramatic improvement. Sometimes, all the player needs, is a legit chance to show what he's been working on. There's no doubt that Willie's last 25 games, or the games he played after Cousins was traded, show improvement over his season averages.

    12.9 points per game over 8.1 points per game. Or 8.5 rebounds a game over 4.5 rebounds a game. However, if you go deeper, and compare his last 25 games with his first 57 games, the difference is remarkable. In Willie's first 57 games, he averaged 11:22 minutes per game, 5.0 points per game on 3.9 attempts per game while shooting a very respectable 56.0% overall. He pulled down a paltry 2.3 rebounds a game, 0.4 assists a game, and 0.4 steals a game. He played a total of 639 minutes in the first 57 games.

    To put that in perspective, Willie played a total of 770 minutes in the last 25 games. He averaged 30.8 minutes per game. Scored 12.9 points per game on 10.3 attempts per game, while shooting 51.3% overall. He pulled down 8.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists a game and 1.1 steals a game. That's a dramatic improvement over the first 57 games folks. There's a lot to like there, and be optimistic about.

    For those reasons, I'm looking forward to seeing if Willie can build on those last 25 games, and maybe become even more than we anticipated when we drafted him. I always felt that any offense we get out of Willie would be a bonus. But now, I think he's quite possible of averaging 15 points a game and around 9 or 10 boards a game. The one thing that's impressed the most, is his passing. He's shown himself to be a much better passer than I thought he could be.

    Bottom line is, the jury is still out. However some of the evidence is starting to stack up in Willie's favor. Even if it's based on only 25 games. I'm anxious to see what he brings to the table this fall. It would be nice to know that the center position is a strength and not a weakness.
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  2. upinsmoke

    upinsmoke Well-Known Member

    I think he's doing good in terms of his development. His offensive skills are coming around nicely and he is starting to learn how to position himself for rebs and rim protection. Those are the things that bigs take a few seasons to learn. Definitely a keeper imo.
    VF21 likes this.
  3. pdxKingsFan

    pdxKingsFan Well-Known Member

    I would be upset if we gave up on him so soon. As you said, big men take time to develop and he hasn't had 3-4 years in the league. Hopefully with consistent coaching and if the team can build on this "character" push and bring other quality guys around him it will pay off.
  4. funkykingston

    funkykingston Well-Known Member

    I would trade #5, #10 and Richardson or (more reluctantly) Papagiannis for #1 to get Fultz.

    I wouldn't throw in Cauley-Stein

    Even if he doesn't become a star, if he continues his current development he's the kind of big that gets a near max deal in today's NBA. Having him for two more years on a rookie contract is a bargain. And he's shown signs of being even more.
  5. roasthawg

    roasthawg Well-Known Member

    I'm really excited about Willie this year... We has upside on both ends of the court. Hoping for a big step forward.
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  6. Suicide King

    Suicide King Well-Known Member

    I will just say I am looking forward to seeing how Willie looks this season as a full time starter. As has been said, Willie came to basketball later than most. I think as our team identity gels more, his value will be more apparent. Especially if we get our PG of the next era and he and Willie click.
    VF21 likes this.
  7. kingsboi

    kingsboi Well-Known Member

    Initially when he was drafted, I would of been fine with him as a double double shot blocker...but now that he has shown some offense, you never know what he can turn into. especially considering how versatile Kentucky big men are known to be. The rebounds need to continue to go up more than anything, I'm fine with sacrificing shots if he rebounds and blocks more shots. Keep working on that mid-range J Willie and you can have yourself a nice career.
  8. 206Fan

    206Fan Well-Known Member

    Willie has been extremely inconsistent in every category. What are things you can say he legitimately does well right now? Switching on the perimeter is the only thing I can think of. For a rim protector, he's been extremely underwhelming. He hasn't proved to be much of a shotblocker in the NBA yet. For an energy big, his motor comes and goes.

    I don't know. The one word to describe him is inconsistent. I feel like his effort just isn't there 100% of the time. I'd have no problem including him in a trade for Fultz. I don't think he's a thrown in at all.
    kingjatt and biltalent like this.
  9. Čarolija

    Čarolija Well-Known Member

    While I would be reluctant to throw him into the proposed trade, I do agree that WCS has been very inconsistent to date. One thing that has pissed me off to date is his inability to be ready for the start of the season. Both summer league years he has been horrible and both starts to his two seasons have been shockingly inconsistent and lacking in energy. Both seasons he has come good toward the end of the season. Is he a March/April specialist or genuinely a good player. At his best he is a very very good player in the NBA...especially when he crashes the boards and rim runs. But it has not been consistently there.

    I am encouraged that he is in Sacramento training with Skal and Buddy. Hopefully what we saw towards the end of the season is what we will see whole of next season and hopefully more.

    I like WCS. He was my choice in that draft. He is long, athletic, good defender and has shown some flashes of offense but I can't help but feel he has gone away from his bread and butter a bit. I like that he wants to get better offensively but not at the expense of what should be his staple and that is being a great defender in pick and roll and as a rim protector.
  10. jcassio

    jcassio Well-Known Member

    Willie wants to be an all-around player, and that's the trajectory he is on. And I'm good with that. If he plateaus this season, then he won't be deserving of starter's minutes on a playoff team. And we'll need to adjust, somewhere, somehow. But if he continues to work on his game and improve, then I think we've got a keeper. I also think he and Skal and Papa are all on a trajectory in which they - as a group - may get all the Kings minutes at the 4 & 5 for years to come.
  11. 206Fan

    206Fan Well-Known Member

    I remember a reg flag that came out among FO in the pre-draft was Willie's drive and desire for basketball. Watching his first 2 season as a King, I think it's a legitimate problem for the reasons you named:

    Showing out to his rookie SL out of shape. If that wasn't bad enough, he ends up showing to training camp out of shape too. In his 1st year, his effort was there most of the time(although he threw Karl under the bus when no one else on the team did). In his 2nd year, he performs terribly in SL, almost like he didn't want to be there. At the start of the season, he comes out extremely flat. No energy. No urgency. No effort. No rebounding. Gets in Joerger's dog house. After that, still a lot of inconsistencies in all of those categories. It really wasn't until 2/3s into the season where he started bringing in consistent effort. It wasn't until Cousins was traded where we saw him decide to up a gear and bring in 100% effort on both ends. I really don't know what it is with Willie. I hate to question his love for basketball, but the dude makes it hard not to.

    Here's what a GM said to Chad Ford pre-draft:
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  12. bajaden

    bajaden Well-Known Member

    Did you completely miss my point? His numbers for the last 25 games were quite good, including his rebounding. Yes, his shotblocking needs to improve, but he plays away from the rim so much that it impedes his ability to block shots at times. The problem with this team is that it's never patient with it's players. Your advocating exactly the wrong thing. Draft a player, give him a year or two, and then trade him off for another young player, who everyone will want to trade off again in a year or two.

    That's exactly way this team has stunk the place up for the last 6 or 7 years. We throw away players like their worthless.
  13. bajaden

    bajaden Well-Known Member

    It's a well known fact that Willie has put in the work. Even Jerry and Grant have commented about how Willie is out a couple of hours before games working on his game. I was at that summer league and Willie wasn't out of shape. He may not have been in NBA game shape, but most rookies aren't. That was nonsense that Karl was throwing out there as an excuse for not playing him. You know, I don't even know why I'm bothering. Just wasting my breath.
  14. VF21

    VF21 #KingsFansForever Staff Member Contributor

    I'm right there with you, bajaden. It seems like some people don't let themselves believe their own eyes. WCS pre-draft is NOT WCS today. WCS pre-Cousins trade is not WCS today. I have to wonder...is WCS going to be the next scapegoat? :(
  15. biltalent

    biltalent Well-Known Member

    In general I agree with you. Player development takes time. Roster consistency is valuable. And if Willie comes back and finally puts his mind to defending, great! He has shown nice things on offense, more than any projection had him being able to. So there is a chance he becomes a good two way player.

    But if he is the one standing between you and one of the most complete guard prospects in a long time you make that deal. You don't keep Willie for the sake of stability and consistency. If anything I keep him because I think he can develop into a star. However I think the likelihood of that happening is low so if you have the chance to get your team the guy with the way higher likelihood of becoming a franchise player you do that. Because a lot of the instability is caused by never being good.

    Yes we had extreme sorts of instability and I advocate for stability. But the other thing we have done is tying us to non-star talent in hopes for development that was not there and finally shipping that out, losing tons of value. It happened with Mclemore. We had the chance to flip him for Tony Snell. I was advocating for that because you could see what Snell was capable of. However we didnt and there goes another pick into RFA. Same with Cousins. We hoped he could turn it around. We waited and got less value.
  16. bajaden

    bajaden Well-Known Member

    I never expected Willie to be a star, and if he were to become one, then we've struck gold where no one was looking. But I do expect him to be a solid to good player. Yes, we've could have flipped McLemore, and in retrospect, we probably should have. But to be honest, my reservations about Ben were related to his lack of aggression on the court. He used to disappear in games at Kansas. Hey, so did Drummond. But I never doubted for a moment the abilities of either player. What I doubted, or wondered about was whether they could turn on the switch once in the NBA.

    I never had that doubt about Willie. With Willie, it was his coming to the game late, and whether he could catch up or not. I knew it would take some time, and I was surprised when I saw him at Summer League this past summer and he appeared to have regressed. Which didn't make any sense after all the work he had put in. It looked to me like he was trying too hard to do the stuff he had been working on, instead of just letting it come naturally. He was trying too hard to impress. Anything you work on, has to become instinctive through repetition and by developing muscle memory. If you put in the work, it will happen, but you can't force it.

    Some people call it the light switching on. Call it what you want, but it appeared to me that the light came on with Willie toward the end of the season. It should get easier from here on out. I would hate to give up on him now. I don't want to see another player discarded and end up an all star on another team. Isaiah Thomas anyone? We let Seth Curry go, and he became a starter in Dallas. Enough is enough!
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  17. jcassio

    jcassio Well-Known Member

    Do you think Fultz's chances of being one of the best PGs in the league are 99%? 10%? Somewhere in between? You tell me what his chances are of becoming that great player that you envision. And what are Fox's chances? DSJs? Ball's?
    I'm just curious how much better Fultz's chances are (in your opinion) than the other PGs that wouldn't require us to give up the 10th pick and Willie.
  18. biltalent

    biltalent Well-Known Member

    Well so far the only thing I have said is that he is "one of the most complete guards". I stand by that. I don't see an as complete guard back to like 2009 (Curry), 2010 (Wall?). Who is since then? Kyrie? No. Cant defend and playmake. Ball? Really like him and he might be the most valuable out of them all. But not as complete scoring wise. DSJ? Doesn't defend and doesnt know how to run an offense. Fox? Maybe cant shoot. Thin.

    But what you are really asking is "what is the probability of Fultz turning into an allstar compared to other options". I have no idea. We can make estimates based on data but that's it. No one knows the true probability. What we do know however is the probability of a #1 pick turning into an all star in the past. Luckily DX has done the math for us already. It's 63%. For the #5 pick it's 27%. Whats the probability for Willie? 5%? That leads us to 32%. For the #10 pick it's 18% so we're at 50% percent.


    Please note that this is of course an easy analysis that neglects a lot of important factors. For example I think it's fair to assume DSJ and Fox are about equal to a normal #3-4 pick. This would put their probability a bit higher. But one same line Fultz' probabilty is probably a bit higher than 63% considering that the 63% includes Greg Oden. :p Also the probabilties are not independent.
    But it does provide a starting point for discussion.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2017
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  19. Suicide King

    Suicide King Well-Known Member

    I think the issue at the heart of things, is that everyone expects all-stars at all five poisitions. If you don't look to be all star material very shortly after entering the league, a lot of fans are ready to consider a player expendable.

    I won't try and change anyones opinion as it doesn't matter to me one way or the other. As long as the ones getting paid by Vivek know what they are doing.

    Whether he stays or goes, I look forward to watching Willie's career.
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  20. KingsFanGER

    KingsFanGER Well-Known Member

    I don't know if that's the case. I personally look at the current situation the Kings are in, compare our roster with the rest of the league, take a moment to ask myself, which draft choices would fit with the player material already in place and start thinking what I expect out of the starting center of this team. Throughout the league there are plenty of teams, where the center position is mainly occupied by a defensive minded, active, rebounding role player able to step out on shooters but also able to cut off penetration and to protect the rim. Those kind of centers usually are paired with ball dominant perimeter threats and are limited to putbacks, rolls to the basket and alley-oops on offense.
    Gobert, Capela, Adams, Howard (not really great at stepping out anymore though), Noel, T.Thompson the list goes on and on. Obviously that's a kind of team set up, that works in todays NBA, where offense and playmaking coming from the center position is more of a luxury than a necessity. It's not the type of basketball I like to watch, it's maybe not set in stone and it's certainly not the only way to win in the NBA, but it works.

    Now when I look at WCS and ask myself, what he has done on the court so far in his career and what his main goals for improvement seem to be from the outside looking in, I start to feel a little bit worried.

    (Note: I'm not a stats guy. I have a very difficult time to sort out the plethora of different statistical categories and their meanings. So please - I'm actually dead serious about that - if I make any mistakes in the following part, feel free to point that out. Thanks.)

    1. WCS is able to step out on shooters and to defend the pick&roll. From a physical standpoint he is tailormade for that. But taking a look at the stats, things get a little confusing. For a big he is involved quite a lot (26,6% FREQ) in these kind of situations, which speaks volumes about his style of defense. But the interesting part is, that he is a net negative, when it comes to the % the opponent shoots against him from 3. So from a statistical standpoint WCS is very active when guarding the perimeter, but he is not beneficial yet, when doing that. Guys like Porzingis, Horford are doing a better job while being equally involved on the perimeter.

    2. When it comes to rim protection, things actually look a lot worse. WCS has a low FREQ number, which I assume is tied to the number of attempts he defends at the rim. This is somewhat expected, when we take into account, that he steps out on the perimeter a lot. But he also allows a high percentage on shots he actually defends (60.2%) even though he is a net positive overall. DMC, not known as an excellent rim protector, actually makes a huge difference percentage wise, when he shows up to defend the rim (which isn't all too often...). Embiid or Gobert are monsters inside. WCS is on level with Al Horford (hey not bad company to be in I guess) and Porzingis, you know the guy, who also shows up on the perimeter a lot, posts far better numbers in the rim protection categories. With his 40.5% FREQ rating WCS is on the same level as DMC, but for other reasons, when it comes to actually showing up to contest the shot.
    But the key, why playing mobile bigs is en vogue currently, is that in theory they should be able to do both - defend the rim AND the perimeter. This is something WCS is not doing.

    So enough of the stats. I know all too well, that stats don't explain what is actually happening on the floor. I'm not in favour of stats. But in this case the stats are in line with my observations about WCS. Bajaden likes to point out, that his teammates play a huge role in WCS's impact on the defensive end. Even though I agree that basketball is a teamsport, that's not what I notice, when paying attention to WCS. Most of the time Willie just refuses to go all out. It basically was the same with his rebounding. He refused to battle until late in the season, even though his coaches and teammates were seemingly constantly encouraging him to fight for the boards.

    This makes it very hard for me to understand, why on this board WCS is valued so highly. At the very least most people seem to expect him to play like an outstanding defensive role-player. So far in my mind he hasn't shown that, even though it's undebatable that he has all the tools.
    Willie himself seems to expect even more. He seems to view himself as the next big thing (at least that's how he comes across in interviews from my point of view). And that's just something I don't get at all. I just can't see it, because I don't see the desire on the court, the willingness to use his physical attributes to the fullest (and let's be honest - that's the thing, which makes Willie special not his actual basketball skills, which are underdeveloped and not his strong side).

    Is WCS a big to built a team around, that fit into the current mold of successful NBA teams? Honestly I don't know, but I have serious doubts, because I actually don't know if he is willing to embrace this role, which is mainly about defense, rebounds and hustle.
    Is he a throw-in in a trade for another unproven young piece? I'm not the guy to answer that, because I don't know anything about the upcoming draftees.
    I would be very reluctant to give up on WCS, because Bajaden is right, that the Kings always give up on players too soon.
    But in my mind Willie has to do a lot more, to deserve the expectations, labels and hopes some of you are already putting onto him.

    But when it's all said and done, I'm just a mere fan, frustrated with the NBA team my heart is tied to for decades. Maybe my pretty negative breakdown of Willie is just the result of my frustration. So take it with a grain of salt.
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  21. Suicide King

    Suicide King Well-Known Member


    I am not sure fans here or anywhere are as optimistic as I and others are about Willie. That is after all what it is, optimism based on perceived potential. I quite simply urge caution before writing him, or any player off as finished. Now the flip side of the coin, is hanging on too long and receiving little to nothing for your trouble.

    Willie has a lot to improve upon before I would consider he has lived up to my perceived potential. It is odd to me because to be honest the reason we have a new thread on Willie is due to a mere suggested possible trade for a player yet to even be drafted.

    I personally want to see how he looks in his third NBA season and second under our current coaching staff before I try and put him in a box. Joerger and Vlade have the cleanest slate to work with since I don't know when. I look forward to seeing how we look.
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  22. ESP47

    ESP47 Well-Known Member

    So we have a 50% chance if we keep the two picks and WCS and a 63% chance if we traded up and took Fultz.

    Personally, I would keep my picks and WCS because we have a 50/50 chance to land an all star and we have a good chance of adding/keeping a lot of depth. We saw how difficult it was to win with an all star and a bunch of loose change. I think the only way for us to win in the next few years is if the Kings draft an all star and a solid roleplayer in this draft. At that point we will need Hield, Skal or Malachi to turn into a solid 2nd option. If Bogdan comes over, I see him as a good roleplayer but not a first or second option.
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  23. CruzDude

    CruzDude Senior Member sharing a brew with bajaden

    Bogdan is the mystery man here. He is a good ball handler and really a vet now. But how does he fit into the Kings scheme of things, which Joeger has to yet work out. On a rebuilding team draft choices, especially 5 and 10, may do more for team building than trading both for an all-star PG. Championship teams seem to have a big 3, the Cave not-with-standing. Willie may be the rock in the middle while Skal could turn out to be an all-star down the road. Hield is really good as likely is Bogdan. Big Papa is an unknown now and maybe for another year or so. No PG, no SF and only 1 PF. Pieces, really good pieces are needed IMHO than just one all-star now.
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  24. Kingsfan23

    Kingsfan23 Well-Known Member

    Dude has a low motor IMO. It's why, IMO, he has showed up to multiple camps, including his rookie year out of shape. Why he looked like a dead fish last summer and the first half of last year, and why his rim protection has remained weak.

    I don't see him as a throw in, but a quality asset that is at its high point in valuation. I think there is at least half a chance he won't be here next year. I don't see him as a Joerger guy.
    206Fan likes this.
  25. KingsFanSince85

    KingsFanSince85 Well-Known Member

    I just can't see Vlade trading WCS. He was Vlade's first draft pick and has shown enough promise to warrant more time. He's a textbook example of a modern day center. Long, athletic, extremely mobile and can switch on to smaller players. Sure, his consistency isn't where it needs to be and he'll likely never be close to the rebounder his contemporary DeAndre Jordan is, but, outside of lobs, he's already a more polished offensive option than Jordan will ever be. If he continues to improve his rebounding and develop offensively, he can be a valuable piece to a really good team.
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  26. The Hammer

    The Hammer Well-Known Member

    No way he gets traded. This is Vlade's boy. Showed massive improvement end of last season.

    Sounds funny to say but he may be the #1 untradeable player on the Kings. That mid range shot is huge for him. We weren't even counting on that when we drafted him. Can actually be quite a good 2 way player.
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  27. kingsfan101

    kingsfan101 Active Member

    Depends on what's being offered in return, but in general, trading Willie, or any of our kids at this point is not a very good idea.

    As a rebuilding team, we need to hold on to our prospects. If we trade them, it should be it should be for some other prospect or asset. No point trading them for some middling star. However, no team looking for playoff run would be interested in getting some unproven kid. Additionally, their picks have low value. As for other rebuilding teams, why would they give us their kids?

    The only scenario might be to trade based on need. We clearly have a glut at 2, and need massive help at 1 and 3, no matter how the draft goes. If some team is willing, we can consider trading MR or Galloway (assuming he picks the option), for some help there.
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  28. ESP47

    ESP47 Well-Known Member

    I'd like to see Willie work on softening his touch around the rim more than developing a mid range jump shot at the moment. With his length, he's able to get close to the rim multiple times a game but he has the touch of a sex starved cobra right now. He could be a dangerous weapon inside with Skal lurking in the midrange if he could soften that touch up a bit.
  29. Ozymandias

    Ozymandias Well-Known Member

    WCS is a big $$$ player and a bargain on his rookie deal. He's a great fit next to De'Aaron Fox. Can't wait to see him play all the time again, he's truly a gifted athlete for his size.

    Throwing him in as filler in a trade would be a huge mistake.

    Watching this game live it seemed to me like he's been making great progress.

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  30. bajaden

    bajaden Well-Known Member

    I agree. I feel like the light has been turned on for Willie, and the best is yet to come. He's starting to play without thinking, and that's when players start to emerge and reach their potential.

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