Mojave King, a twenty-one-year-old from Dunedin, has seen his wildest hooping dreams come true as he was selected in last week's NBA draft.
King, who plays the guard position, will be an Indiana Pacer next season after being selected with the 47th pick of the draft. King was technically drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers, but the Pacers traded for the pick.
Mojave becomes just the third person born in Aotearoa to be drafted into the league, following in the footsteps of Sean Marks and the one and only Steven Adams. Aron Baynes is another Kiwi-born player to make the league, but he went undrafted.
Rayan Rupert, the French 19-year-old who played for the NZ Breakers this past year, was taken with the 43rd pick in the draft.
If you’re hoping for a Kiwi clash on the court between Adams and King next season, you’re probably out of luck as it’s been reported that the Pacers will make King a draft-and-stash player next season.
That means King won’t be on the Pacers’ roster for the 2023-24 NBA schedule. Instead, he’ll play overseas and Indiana will have the rights to sign him once he makes the move to the NBA.
King has strong potential to tear up overseas, as he has cemented a role for himself in all the professional clubs he’s played for.
Most recently he played for the G-League Ignite, a team in the NBA’s development league, He averaged eight points and five rebounds, enough to play in the Rising Stars and G-League Next Up exhibition matches at NBA All-Star weekend.
King’s also played for the Cairns Taipans and the Adelaide 36ers in the Australian NBL, and the Southland Sharks in the New Zealand NBL.
After his pre-draft workout earlier in June, King described his fast-paced and bouncy playstyle to reporters.
“I'd describe my game as someone who likes playing in transition,” he said. “Playing fast, getting up and down. I like to shoot threes as well.”
“My athleticism is definitely a big part of my game, so I like to show that as well in these workouts. I like to try and get up, play at the rim a lot as well.”
We wish all the best to King in his overseas efforts and hope he one day plays in the NBA. The more Kiwis on big stages the better.