Sacramento Kings Draft Board: Post-Lottery Edition
With the draft lottery now done, the Kings know exactly where they'll be picking. As seems to always be the case, Sacramento ended up with a worse pick than its record would indicate, slotting in as the No. 7 team but coming out with the No. 8 pick.
While the pick isn't as high as one might have hoped, there should still be some solid players on the board when it's Sacramento's turn to pick. And with plenty of needs on the roster, quite a few options would fit.
This big board is based on a player's overall ranking, in accordance with recent projections and team need. For the Kings, center is the only position that's definitely locked in, although it's unlikely the team drafts a 2-guard after taking Ben McLemore last year.
For the purposes of the big board, it's important to remember where the Kings are picking. At No. 8, Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid and Dante Exum will be long gone. Therefore, they weren't included.
With those parameters laid out, let's get to Sacramento's big board.
Gary Harris is only an honorable mention because he's likely to be a 2-guard. With Ben McLemore on the team, it's unlikely Sacramento drafts another shooting guard with its top pick. However, if the team absolutely loves Harris, or if it thinks he can also play the point—which some scouts see as a possibility, according to ESPN's Chad Ford (subscription required)—then he's an option.
Since he's most likely gone when the Kings select, Julius Randle is only an honorable mention. Based on talent alone, the power forward would be a good addition to the Kings. He may not be ideal, as he does most of his offensive work around the hoop, where DeMarcus Cousins is usually working. However, power forward has been a weakness for years, and Sacramento would be lucky to have Randle.
There may not be a more NBA-ready prospect than Creighton's Doug McDermott. The problem is there's likely not much upside beyond what he offers right now. As a savvy player and an excellent long-range shooter, he would have a spot on the Kings. But it would be nice to get something more than a rotational piece, and it's questionable whether he will become anything beyond that.
5. Zach LaVine
If the Kings end up drafting UCLA's Zach LaVine, they would be betting on his upside. That's because the guard didn't produce much for the Bruins last season. But about that upside—perhaps no player has more.
At 6'4.5" with a 6'8.25" wingspan, he has few equals among point guards when it comes to his size. But he also has the tools to go along with his frame. His 41.5" vertical jump was tied for third at the combine. He also posted the best lane-agility time (10.42) and came in second in the shuttle run (2.76).
The point guard also possesses solid range on his shot, hitting 37.5 percent of his three-point attempts, and he has the requisite explosiveness to get in the lane.
The potential drawback is his unrefined ability as a passer. He only averaged 1.8 assists in 24.4 minutes last season. It's tough to know whether that's a reflection of his inexperience or a score-first mentality. With the Kings needing a pass-first point guard, they'd be taking a gamble, but if it pays off, LaVine would be well worth it.
4. Dario Saric
The Kings could do worse than drafting Dario Saric with the eighth pick.
He projects as a power forward in the NBA, which also happens to be a position of need for Sacramento. But beyond that, his skills are also a good fit for the Kings. As a player with some range to his game, the 20-year-old would be able to play with DeMarcus Cousins without working in the same areas of the court.
The drawback to drafting Saric is that there's no guarantee he's coming to the NBA next season. According to Chad Ford of ESPN, Saric's father wants him to play in Europe for at least one more year, possibly two.
The forward has the skills that might be worth waiting for, but do the Kings want to wait? What he brings to the table would be ideal for Sacramento, but the team may pass if it'll take years for him to even come over to the NBA, let alone any potential adjustment time once he gets here.
3. Aaron Gordon
While Aaron Gordon is pretty raw, especially on the offensive end, he could be an intriguing option for the Kings because of his athleticism and defensive mentality.
As far as his athleticism, it was on full display at the combine. The power forward's 39" vertical leap was the best among all power forwards/centers, and it was third highest in combine history for the PF/C position. His lane agility (10.81) was also tops at the position, and his three-quarter sprint (3.27) was third among big men.
However, what might make him most enticing to the Kings is the mentality that comes along with those tools. Not only does Gordon have an ability to play defense, he also enjoys it, according to Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee.
The power forward is projected to go between picks six and 10, which makes him a realistic target for the Kings, along with being a good fit for the team.
2. Noah Vonleh
If the Kings were able to add Noah Vonleh, they'd be getting a player with a shot-blocking presence that the team lacks. He averaged 1.4 blocks in his lone season at Indiana.
Plus, the former Hoosier has the size that indicates he has the potential to be much better. His 6'8" height isn't spectacular, but coupled with his 7'4.25" wingspan (second biggest in the draft) and 37" vertical leap, Vonleh should only get better as a rim protector.
The youngster is projected to go somewhere between picks five and eight, so there's a good shot he'll be available when the Kings are on the clock.
1. Marcus Smart
Marcus Smart was a top prospect as a freshman in the 2012-13 season, but he decided to return to Oklahoma State for his sophomore year. The combo guard took advantage of the extra year of experience, improving across the board.
He increased his scoring, assists, rebounding and field-goal percentages despite playing even less minutes as a sophomore than he did as a freshman. He also cut back on his turnovers in his second year.
The 20-year-old had a nice showing at the NBA Draft Combine. He came in measuring 6'2", with a 6'9.25" wingspan. On top of that, his 227.2 pounds were the most among all guards, but it's not like his size limits his athleticism. He had a 36" vertical leap and was eighth in lane agility (10.82 seconds) and 16th in the shuttle run.
Smart would fit with the Kings because of his skill set and tenacity. He has the tools to play both guard positions, and his defensive mindset would help fill a void in Sacramento. As a player projected to go anywhere from No. 6 to No. 10, he's also a realistic target for the team.
Combine results courtesy of NBA.com.