Led by Tyreke Evans and Omri Casspi, Sacramento Emerges as Kings on Draft Night

Jason Coldiron@@tweetme1979Correspondent IJune 26, 2009

NEW YORK - JUNE 25:  NBA Commissioner David Stern poses for a photograph with the fourth overall draft pick by the Sacramento Kings,  Tyreke Evans during the 2009 NBA Draft at the Wamu Theatre at Madison Square Garden June 25, 2009 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

In last night's NBA draft, the Kings had to hit it big.

They went in holding the No. 4, 23, and 31 picks. For a team with the worst record in the league last year, they needed to get those picks right.

As the night played out, the Kings did as well or better than anyone could have expected.

With their No. 4 pick, they took Memphis guard Tyreke Evans.

Evans shined in both of his pre-draft workouts with the team and it was commonly believed he would be the pick.

Evans is a freakishly long and athletic player whose strength and ability to get to the rim set him apart from other players. He will immediately help the Kings playing alongside team leader Kevin Martin.

The King's biggest need entering the draft was at point guard. It remains to be seen if Evans will have what it takes to be a point guard in the NBA, but regardless, he was the best player available and the right pick for this team.

Kings General Manager Geoff Petrie commented on Evans' ability to play the point:

"He considers himself a point guard. They put him at point guard at Memphis this year, and they won 27 games in a row," Petrie told the Sacramento Bee. "Does he have to get better as a point guard? Absolutely, but he thinks of himself as a point guard. … He's just too good of a talent to pass on."

Kings owner Gavin Maloof was elated with the pick.

"A (6'5") point guard who's 220 pounds, and that can score, who can defend the (point guard, shooting guard and small forward) positions with a 7-foot wingspan who's really, really fast," Maloof told the Bee. "I don't know where you find those guys. They're one in a million. I think early on we all kind of liked Jonny Flynn and I still think he'll be good. But this guy was just another dimension. He's an anomaly."

The one complication of this pick was the fact that Ricky Rubio had fallen and was available. There had to be at least a moment of hesitation on whether or not to reconsider and take Rubio.

In the end, cooler heads prevailed and the Kings got their man in Evans.

With the 23rd pick, the Kings took guard Omri Casspi from Israel.

ESPN.com called Casspi “a very tough, scrappy, slashing player.”

Casspi will look to become the first Isreali-born player to make it to the NBA.

"It was everything for me," Casspi told the Bee. "I'm so happy right now. Nobody can even imagine. I cried like a baby, and that's something I try not to do a lot."

The Kings next traded the No. 31 pick to Portland for the 38th pick. In the process, they also picked up a young point guard from the Blazers in Sergio Rodriguez.

Rodriguez will be able to come right in and contribute for the Kings.

With the 38th pick, the Kings selected forward Jon Brockman from Washington.

Brockman is considered a solid player in the paint, with a mean streak.

At 6'7" and 255 pounds, Brockman led the Pac-10 in rebounding the last three seasons, something the Kings need desperately.

"Most of rebounding is just a desire to go get the ball," Brockman told the Bee. "Not being afraid of going through some elbows and doing whatever it takes to get it. That's kind of how I play."

This is exactly the kind of player and attitude the Kings need.

With this pick, the Kings completed an incredible night by adding four players with one thing in common: toughness.

This is a team that absolutely has to improve on defense and in rebuilding. Adding tough players was clearly a priority for the Kings, who have often been called a “soft” team.

On this night, the Kings took major strides toward changing this mentality.

On this night, the Kings are big winners.


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