June 7, 2017, 1:20 am
Cameron Oliver flew somewhat under the radar during his high school days at Grant Union High School in Sacramento. Oliver missed his entire junior year due to an ACL injury but bounced back in his senior year averaging 21.5 points and 10 rebounds per game. He was a three-star recruit coming out of high school and originally committed to attend Oregon State. However, due to a coaching change, Oliver decided to transfer to Nevada where former Kings coach Eric Musselman hails.
Oliver had a stellar freshman season with the Wolf Pack posting averages of 13.2 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.6 blocks in 30.1 minutes per game (36 games) on 52.8 percent shooting from the field and 31.7 percent from three. He flirted with the idea of entering the NBA Draft in 2016 but eventually decided to return to Nevada for his sophomore year.
In 35 games with the Wolf Pack during the 2016-17 season, Oliver complied averages of 16.0 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.6 blocks in 31.9 minutes per game on 51.9 percent shooting from the field and 38.4 percent from three. This time around, Oliver decided to stay course and enter the NBA Draft this year.
While he’s currently only projected to go 53rd (via DraftExpress), Oliver possesses some unique physical tools and has the potential to be a real contributor in the NBA. He has copped some criticism for lack of effort at times, but his skills on the offensive end and his shot blocking ability makes him an intriguing target late in the draft.
His three-point clip of 38.4 percent is solid for a power forward and he has the ability to be a ‘stretch-four’ type player with the athleticism to block shots on defense; an ideal player for any team. He is deadly when facing up on opponents in the post due to his quick first-step and he has some touch with his back to the basket too. Additionally, he continues to improve in the pick and roll and is tough to stop when rolling to the rim.
During the draft process, Oliver has been training with Reno Bighorns head coach, Darrick Martin in Los Angeles. If drafted by the Kings in the second round, he could very well spend time with the top team in Sacramento, but it is more likely he starts off his career down in Reno where he would play under Martin. Oliver would be naturally comfortable down in Reno with Martin, not to mention the fact he has spent the last two years of his life in Reno too.
With his background in Sacramento, Oliver would potentially welcome being drafted by the Kings because of his familiarity with both Sacramento, and Reno. The Kings currently hold the 34th pick in the second round so it’s a possibility they snatch him up there, otherwise they could try and buy another pick late in the second round to scoop up Oliver if they really are fond of him.
Oliver has the potential to be a solid player in the NBA no matter where he lands, but all the signs point to the Kings being a natural fit for the former Nevada, and Grant High School standout.