CU Standout George King Works Out With Nuggets for Second Straight Year
The second time around, George King sounded like an old pro. Which, of course, he is aiming to be someday in the NBA.
He knew his way around. He knew the rhythms of the pre-draft workout. He understood what Nuggets coaches and executives were looking for. King could relax – and just play. This was the second straight year the former University of Colorado standout was put through drills in Denver.
“Last year, I was a deer in headlights,” King said. “I didn’t know. Now that I’ve had that experience, I get to kind of just take a breath and just not worry about anything else that doesn’t matter. Just go out there and workout, play my game.”
On the NBA’s pre-draft workout circuit, the 6-foot-6 King has been putting a lot of his game on the court. It started, most importantly, with a strong showing at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament in April. In three games there, King averaged 18.0 points, made seven 3-pointers, shot 57.9 percent from the field and 53 percent from the arc, averaged 7.7 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks per game.
That performance earned him an invite to the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. His measurables there stood out as much as his game. At 6-feet, 11.5 inches, King measured the sixth-longest reach of any SG/SF at the draft combine. He had a pair of the biggest hands at the combine as well.
In his senior season with the Buffaloes, King averaged 12.9 points and 7.8 rebounds, leading one of the youngest teams in the Pac-12 Conference to 17 victories. He returned to Colorado after last year’s draft workouts with the Nuggets and Celtics with a clearer view of what he needed to focus on during: Defense.
“It’s prepared me to be a pro,” King said. “Last year I went through this process, I got to step outside of the box at the collegiate level, and I got to see how pros work – how the pro system works. Obviously, I went back to college but that always stuck with me. Now that I am transitioning to be a complete pro, it’s only helped me that much more.”
King said Monday’s drills were one of eight workouts he has left leading up to the June 21 NBA Draft. He said he is headed to work out for the Atlanta Hawks next. King, who, if selected, would likely be taken in the second round, is not ruling out playing overseas as an option. But his preference is to play in the NBA, and he recognizes that the league’s new two-way contract system is a viable way to get on a roster and work his way into the league full-time through the G-League.
“It’s that much more tempting,” King said. “It’s a great rule. It’s a great option.”
King was one of five players going through Monday drills. His conference-mate, Southern California center Chimezie Metu, was there. And Ohio State’s Keita Bates-Diop – a player King has faced in a few pre-draft workouts already – participated as well.
Bates-Diop was the highest-graded player in the building. The stat-stuffing Big Ten Player of the Year, who boasts an over 7-foot wingspan, is a lock to be a first-round selection. His ability to score the ball is not in question. Teams do wonder whether he can guard multiple positions, and that’s something the Nuggets took a look at on Monday.
“We all switched cross screens, pin downs to see if we could guard multiple positions,” Bates-Diop said. “My length is a factor. I have a really long wingspan. That enables me to guard little guards and wings.”
Christopher Dempsey: email@example.com and @chrisadempsey on Twitter