NBA Draft Player Profile: Emoni Bates
Jun 7, 2023, 9:42 AM | Updated: 9:47 am
(Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
We are just over two weeks away from June 22nd’s NBA Draft at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, meaning that it’s time to look at some potential picks for the Sacramento Kings’ 24th selection.
After drafting All-Rookie First Team forward Keegan Murray (fourth pick) last summer, the Kings will look to build off of its recent draft success by adding another young talent to its up-and-coming roster.
What type of player does Sacramento need to add to a team that just enjoyed its first NBA Playoff experience in nearly 20 years?
Over the next two weeks, Sactown Sports 1140 will provide you with profiles and players expected to be on the board near the Kings’ 24th pick.
Let’s dive in.
Emoni Bates | SF | Eastern Michigan
2022-23 stats: 19.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, 40% FG, 33% 3PT, 78% FT
Accolades: 2022-23 All-Mid American Conference Third Team
ESPN Mock Draft: 51st
Bates was the third-ranked recruit coming out of the 2021 high school class behind future second-overall pick Chet Holmgren and solid rookie guard Jaden Hardy before committing to the Memphis Tigers.
The then-17-year-old Bates was prepared to take the NCAA floor as the youngest player in college basketball after skipping his final year of high school to join the 2021 class. Bates didn’t turn 18 until he had logged 15 games with the Tigers–ones full of struggles.
During his lone season with Memphis in 2021-22, Bates did not look like the five-star recruit that many scouts projected, averaging 9.7 points and 3.3 rebounds per game on just 38 percent shooting from the field and 33 percent from deep over 18 games.
Most of Bates’ freshman season at Memphis was plagued by a back and a finger injury (missed 14 games) as the forward struggled to find his footing as a recently-turned 18-year-old.
Since Bates was too young to enter the 2022 NBA Draft, he returned home to Michigan where he prepared to play his second season of college basketball for Eastern Michigan University.
Bates found success with the Eagles, averaging 19.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game while shooting 40 percent from the field and 33 percent from three-point range as the team’s leading scorer. The forward finished the season with All-Mid American Conference Third Team honors after finishing third in points per game.
How would Bates fit with the Kings?
Bates, who has already logged a pre-draft workout with the Sacramento Kings, is in the mix for the team’s second-round selections (38th and 54th).
While recently profiled prospects Dariq Whitehead and Brice Sensabaugh would bring a three-point shooting edge to the Kings, Bates isn’t a player that would be slotted into Mike Brown’s rotation as a spot-up shooter.
If Sacramento were to draft Bates, they would add a scoring wing that possesses strong ball-handling skills, a tough shot-maker, and pull-up threat. Bates is a strong isolation scorer, meaning that he’s the type of player that teams will go to if they need a bucket.
Bates can play well off pick-and-rolls, meaning that he could be an ideal wing to play alongside noted hard screener Domantas Sabonis.
The Kings have elite shooters on the roster in Keegan Murray and Kevin Huerter, and there is a decent chance that they will use the 24th pick on a prospect that can shoot the lights out (Whitehead, Sensabaugh, Colby Jones, Jett Howard).
Sacramento doesn’t have a true backup small forward entering the off-season, and while it’s unlikely they would fill the position with a second-round pick, crazier things have happened in the NBA.
Just last season, Dallas–after acquiring the 37th pick in the 2022 NBA Draft from Sacramento–utilized Jaden Hardy in a reserve role for 48 games, one that the guard thrived in (8.8 points per game on 40 percent shooting).
Emoni Bates sits down with @Stadium: “A pick number doesn’t really do nothing to me. If I get the chance, that’s all that matters.” On pressures and lessons from being the top high school prospect, reasons for Michigan St.-Memphis-Eastern Michigan path, role models, much more. pic.twitter.com/pKwqqQhdSZ
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 31, 2023
While Bates has the makings of a go-to shot-maker, he is a liability on the defensive end. Sacramento’s league-best offense propelled them to a third seed spot in the Western Conference, but the team’s 25th-ranked defense plagued them in the postseason.
Defense isn’t Bates’ strong selling point, but his offensive skillset and youth could be enough for a team to take a flier on the forward during the early portion of the second round.
If the Kings are looking for an offensive threat that holds the potential to become a 20-point scorer, Bates could be a player that Sacramento takes a hard look at with its 38th or 54th selection during the NBA Draft on June 22nd.
NBA Offseason Schedule
- Thursday, June 22– 2023 NBA Draft
- Friday, June 30– Free Agent negotiating period begins
- Thursday, July 6– Free Agents can begin signing deals
- Friday, July 7–Monday, July 17– NBA Summer League in Las Vegas
- August TBD– 2023-24 NBA regular season schedule release
- Late September – Training camp begins