With the 22nd pick in the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft, the Sacramento Kings selected former Syracuse Orange star Malachi Richardson. With that, Malachi is the sixth Orange player to be selected in the first round since 2012 and his selection makes it four-consecutive years and eight out of last nine years that an SU player went in the first round.
Richardson left Syracuse after only one season but he certainly did enough to cement a legacy for himself in that short time. In 37 games, he averaged 13.4 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. Most-importantly, he helped lead the Orange to a surprise Final Four appearance, hitting multiple clutch shots that will be remembered for years to come.
While there were initial concerns over whether or not he was ready to play in the NBA, scouts seemed interesting in him from the get-go and he soon decided to remain in the draft past the new deadline. For his part, Malachi certainly wasn't lacking in faith in himself.
The Memphis Grizzlies were said to be most interested in Richardson and had reportedly promised to take him with the 17th pick if he were still available. As can often be the case, that promise wasn't actually all that binding.
Malachi will likely still need some time to get bigger and stronger while also improving his game, but he's exactly the kind of tweener that you'd expect to go in this range. He's got all the tools and he's started putting them together. Now he'll get a chance to practice and train with the best to really seal the deal. Plus he's got the added incentive of going a little lower than expected as motivation.
Congrats, Mali, and good luck!