With the No. 6 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, the Kings select Kentucky center Willie Cauley-Stein.

The Kings have selected Cauley-Stein, so now they have a true rim protector. This team has been so, so bad defensively for so, so long — with the exception of a few encouraging weeks under Mike Malone — and this is an important step toward changing that.

You don’t often hear about players being able to guard 1 through 5 because they pretty much don’t exist. Having watched Draymond Green in the NBA Finals, it’s obvious how valuable that rare ability is. Cauley-Stein is that kind of guy, and while he isn’t going to do much offensively with the ball in his hands, he can still be effective on that end as a screen setter and finisher off of the pick and roll.

This franchise is in complete chaos right now, and this doesn’t necessarily offer any more clarity about what Sacramento is going to do. Cauley-Stein does make sense next to Cousins, but he also could be a replacement at center if the Kings move their All-Star. His history of ankle problems is scary, but this still looks like a great pick based on defensive talent.

CBSSports.com’s Matt Moore gave the Kings an A+ for the pick.


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Here’s the scouting report on Cauley-Stein from NBA Draft Expert Sam Vecenie.

"With Cauley-Stein, it's all about defense. The Kentucky center was the best defensive player in the NCAA in 2015, capable of both locking down the paint as well as moving onto the perimeter to slow down opposing guards. The offense is still a work in progress, but with his high level of athleticism he should be able to find a role. Cauley-Stein may never be a star in the traditional sense, but he's the kind of guy every team would love to have as a defensive anchor potentially for the next decade."

Willie Cauley-Stein made a name for himself in Kentucky as a defensive stopper. (USATSI)
Willie Cauley-Stein made a name for himself in Kentucky as a defensive stopper. (USATSI)