As a part of the trade that involved sending DeMarcus Cousins to New Orleans, the Sacramento Kings received New Orleans first round draft pick this year.
The NBA Draft Lottery was held last Wednesday, and no Sacramento won’t be picking from the top three. However, they will draft at picks 5 and 10, and are in an incredible position to make moves.
Who are some optimal combo choices for the Kings, or should they even use both draft picks? My take:
This draft goes one of two ways for Sacramento. They hold picks five and ten, as I previously mentioned. At pick five, you either take a star forward (should one be available), and follow with a shaky point guard prospect at ten, or vice versa.
Ideally, the Kings will take a strong point guard option at five, for that is more important for their lost, and chaotic offense. Settling for the third or fourth best forward in the draft at ten is something they can live with.
With that in mind, my thoughts on the potential combinations.
De’Aaron Fox (5), and Lauri Markkanen (10)
This is arguably the best outcome for Sacramento coming out of the draft. Skepticism is growing as to whether or not Fox will go earlier in the draft, but most experts have him falling at five. Markkanen will be the best forward on the board come pick ten, and the Kings are reportedly very interested.
Fox is a top three talent, but will likely fall further than that due to his shooting inconsistency. His athleticism and fast paced offensive set will help to turn the Kings offense in the right direction. Markkanen isn’t a well rounded big man persay, but holds potential to be a real scoring threat in the future. Throwing a reliable shooter in the mix with Fox at the point, will make for a fun run offense.
Jonathan Isaac (5), and Frank Ntilikina (10)
In a reverse situation, this seems like a likely outcome, and it’s not a bad one.
Isaac, isn’t an all out star, and the Kings don’t need him to be. He’s shown potential to be a great floor-spacer, and a liable scoring option. His true value is yet to be determined, but it’s reported the Kings have shown interest. In his rookie season with Florida State, Isaac averaged: (12) points and (7.8) rebounds.
Ntilikina, like Isaac, is a wild card pick at ten. Most drafts have him falling that far, and the Kings don’t really need another big man more than a quality point guard. A great defensive stopper, the young Frenchman has shown signs of a great shooter, and two-way point guard. Although it’s unlikely they end up with a point guard at pick ten, they may opt to grab a better quality wing player in advance of Rudy Gay’s free agency exit.
Dennis Smith Jr. (5), and Zach Collins (10)
Another fun combination, this could be a very possible outcome, with the twists and turns that await draft night.
Fans across the league are on the fence regarding Smith Jr. We all agree that he is good, but are unsure on his true placement in the draft. After previously tearing an ACL in his senior year of high school, he showed great signs of athleticism and prolific scoring. In college, he averaged (18.1) points, (6.2) assists, and (4.6) rebounds. In time, Dennis could certainly run an offense, and make for a quality young backcourt, paired with Buddy Hield.
Collins was a part of a final two college team, and that was no coincidence. He averaged (10) points, (5.9) rebounds, and (1.8) blocks in just seventeen minutes for the bulldogs. The Kings don’t necessarily need another power forward/center, but it couldn’t hurt, in theory. Willie Cauley-Stein will be their starting center, but playing Collins at the four could make for a strong frontcourt.
This may be a crazy idea, but one has to wonder if the Kings would trade picks five and ten for a shot in the top two. I’m sure Boston and Los Angeles would both at least think it over, for it is an extremely tempting offer. Whether or not Sacramento has any interest in the move is up in the air, but this is the front office that traded DeMarcus Cousins during the All-Star game.
The Boston Celtics are all about assets, and acquiring two picks for one in a loaded draft may earn their approval. I deem it more likely Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers make the trade, as they already hold star potential talent in Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, and D’Angelo Russell. Los Angeles needs to build, not add more star talent.
The Kings could theoretically walk away from this draft with the likes of Lonzo Ball. I’m on this bandwagon simply for the thought of Lavar Ball’s face when he finds out.
The Kings are better off picking up a quality guard at five, I know. Looking for the next best on-the-wing talent at ten is imperative. Trading up for a top two pick would be both ballsy and impressive.
The best of luck to the Kings in this draft, for they will undoubtedly walk away the winners.
All stats and information provided by ESPN, NBA.com, Business Insider, and Sports Illustrated. Featured image provided by Exstreamist via Google Images.