NBA Draft Player Profile: Rayan Rupert
Jun 12, 2023, 11:26 AM
(Photo by Masanori Udagawa/Getty Images)
We are just over one week 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.
Rayan Rupert | SG | NZ Breakers (NBL)
2022-23 stats: 6.8 points, 2.4 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 37% FG, 31% 3PT, 73% FT
ESPN Mock Draft: 19th
Rupert’s stats don’t jump off the page, but the 6’7 guard has made waves due to his impressive 7’3 wingspan and potential as a defensive juggernaut.
The French guard will enter the 2023-24 season as a 19-year-old with just 31 games of professional basketball under his belt, but there is plenty of interest surrounding Rupert–enough interest that many mock drafts predict the guard to be selected in the first round.
While Rupert might not fit the mold of your ideal shooting guard candidate, he has the makings of a three-and-D wing that can be brought along as a player that can defend multiple positions and develop into a threat from beyond the arc.
How would Rupert fit with the Kings?
Rupert is an ideal defensive prospect for an offense-heavy, defense-lacking team like Sacramento.
The Kings searched for impact defenders that could make an impact in the rotation last season, with KZ Okpala, Kessler Edwards, and PJ Dozier all getting shots at being stoppers for Sacramento’s 25th-ranked defense.
If the Kings select Rupert with its 24th selection in next Thursday’s NBA Draft, they will roster a young wing with plenty of defensive potential and upside.
Rupert is a player that can use his long 6’7 frame and imposing 7’3 wingspan to defend positions one through four, something that Sacramento found value in Okpala before the start of the 2022-23 season.
Of course, the issue with Okpala and Edwards was offensive inconstancy and the feeling that the Kings were playing four-on-five while on offense.
This isn’t just a Sacramento issue, mind you. It’s hard to find two-way players that can score All-Defensive Team nods and be a positive on the offensive end, and that is different from what the Kings need from their incoming rookie.
Rupert doesn’t have to come in immediately as a three-and-D specialist out of the gates. Sacramento, the owner of the NBA’s top offense, has scoring covered. The Kings need this roster to begin establishing a defensive presence and doing so with players that can hold their own on the offensive end, whether that be making the smart pass, setting the right screen, etc.
Athletic. Defensive upside. Room to grow as a perimeter threat.
That’s the type of player that Rupert is, and the kind of player that Kings head coach Mike Brown and his talented coaching staff can work with.
Rupert’s athleticism, size, and youth have teams lining up for a chance to select the French guard, and it’s possible that he’s off the board when the Kings are on the clock at 24th.
If by some chance Rupert’s name is there when Sacramento GM Monte McNair is on the clock, it will be an intriguing choice to watch unfold.
Sacramento needs to upgrade its defense this summer. Will that attempt at improvement begin with the selection of Rupert at 24th?
We’re just over a week away from finding out.
Sacramento Kings 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
- September TBD– Sacramento Kings training camp begins