The 2017 NBA Draft was held on Thursday evening, and it’s no doubt that the Sacramento Kings walked away winners on the evening.
A recap of one of the most notable draft nights in Sacramento history:
To start the night, the Kings held the 5th and 10th overall draft picks, with rumors surfacing that they would move one before the night’s end.
De’Aaron Fox, a freshman point guard out of Kentucky University. One half of the dynamic back court that both reached lottery status (Malik Monk), Fox may be the most athletic player in this class.
Drafting Fox addresses Sacramento’s need for depth at the point guard position, and Fox will likely serve as their primary one. As a freshman for the Wildcats, he averaged 16.7 points, 4.6 assists, and 4 rebounds per game.
For a team like the Kings, Fox will make an immediate impact. At only 18 years old, he has an impressive floor general mentality, and will keep things moving in this rebuilding offense.
The Sacramento Kings traded the 10th overall pick to the Portland Trailblazers for the 15th and 20th picks.
With the 15th pick in the NBA draft, the Sacramento Kings select…
Justin Jackson, a junior small forward out of North Carolina. In addition to leading the Tar Heels to a national championship, Jackson was also awarded the ACC Player of the Year. For his junior season, he averaged 18.3 points, and 4.7 rebounds per game.
Drafting Jackson is forming a young core in Sacramento, and specifically adds even more three-point shooting. Last year with UNC, he connected on a career-high 37 percent of shots from deep. Though he isn’t sized for defense along the perimeter, Jackson plans to bulk up in and adapt.
With both small forwards Rudy Gay and Tyreke Evans planning a free agency exit, Jackson adds depth to the lacking small forward position.
With the 20th pick in the NBA Draft, the Sacramento Kings select…
Harry Giles, freshman center out of Duke University. With four picks total in the draft, the Kings rolled the dice and took the former #1 college recruit in the country. After dominating in high school ball, Giles made it to the big leagues, Duke University.
Suffering two ACL injuries before his 18th birthday, fans weren’t sure of when or if Giles would see play time with the Blue Devils. He didn’t see the court until Christmas, and at that point, rotations were already set. On average of 11.5 minutes of play, Giles averaged 3.9 points and 3.8 rebounds a game. After averaging 7.7 fouls per 40 minutes of play, he’s considered a liability on defense above all else.
Nonetheless, with the number of picks held, this was a smart gamble for Sacramento. After trading away big man DeMarcus Cousins, any help with rebounding will suffice. Should he find his way back from injury, Giles could prove to be a great asset.
With the 34th pick in the NBA Draft, the Sacramento Kings select…
Frank Mason, senior point guard out of Kansas University. Despite being undersized at 5″11, Mason proved one of the most prolific scorers in college basketball. He averaged 20.9 points, while shooting 47.1 percent from behind-the-arc.
In his career as a starter, the Jayhawks went 90-19, while earning three consecutive Big 12 titles; something I wouldn’t count as coincidence. With a high and quick release, Mason is dangerous from anywhere on the floor. Though he isn’t a pass first point guard, he still averaged 5.2 assists with Kansas.
A true leader, this point guard will bring some life to the rebuilding state in Sacramento. It also can’t help that he’s used to winning, something the Kings aren’t accustomed to by any means.
For the Kings, playoffs haven’t been in play since 2006, when Pluto was officially named a dwarf planet. No one’s saying they’ll be in it this year, but with a lineup of: Fox, Hield, Jackson, Labissiere, and Cauley-Stein; it’s hard to ignore the final product of what has been long and strenuous years for Kings fans.
Adding Mason and Jackson alongside Hield will make for a three-point barrage, despite Fox’s inefficiency from deep. Should Giles find his stride, it will make for dangerous rebounding depth at the five behind Willie-Cauley Stein. There’s a lot of youth, and a lot more talent.
Hold on a little longer Kings fans, this team’s future will undoubtedly be worthwhile.
All stats and information provided by ESPN, NBA.com, Draft Express, and the Sacramento Bee. Featured image provided by @SacramentoKings via Twitter.