Best Potential Trade Packages and Scenarios for Sacramento Kings' No. 8 Pick
The Sacramento Kings currently own the rights to the No. 8 pick in the loaded 2014 NBA draft, but that doesn't mean they'll be adding a rookie to an already youthful squad during the June 26 proceedings.
Instead, the pick is on the block, according to NBA.com's Scott Howard-Cooper:
The Kings put the No. 8 pick in the draft on the trade block immediately after the lottery Tuesday night, league sources told NBA.com, clearly looking to add at least one impact veteran in an attempt to push into the playoff conversation next season rather than wait for another rookie prospect to develop.
Ever since Vivek Ranadive took over this team, there's been much more of an optimistic feel surrounding the Sac-Town franchise. The front office has made aggressive moves, most notably trading for Rudy Gay when he was playing worthless basketball with the Toronto Raptors, then rejoicing when he started realizing his lofty potential with more intelligent play.
Using the No. 8 pick is still a possibility (more on that in a bit), but so too is a trade. Even a surprising trade, as the Kings seem to be looking to win during the 2014-15 season, thereby ending a playoff drought that has dragged on since Mike Bibby, Peja Stojakovic, Brad Miller and Ron Artest led a postseason run in 2005-06.
"We were in the playoffs the last three years in Denver," said general manager Pete D'Alessandro, who used to work for the Denver Nuggets, as relayed by Cowbell Kingdom's James Ham. "I woke up that first day after the season. I literally was like, I'm missing something. I felt like something was missing."
The playoffs are the goal, and the No. 8 pick is one of many conduits that will be used to get there.
"Generally speaking, I would say get the best player," D’Alessandro told Ham. "But, I’ll take it further. Do you trade the pick and add to this team and maybe trade down? Do you add something to your pick and maybe trade up?"
There are plenty of options, and the Kings should look into all of them.
Use the Pick
Even though the Kings are reportedly considering a trade with the No. 8 pick, there's no guarantee that they move out of this spot. They could easily look to take advantage of adding a potential star on a rookie-scale contract, or they could find no buyers willing to match their asking price.
In his post-lottery mock draft, B/R's Jonathan Wasserman pegged Sacramento as taking Aaron Gordon with this selection, and it's easy to see the logic behind such a move:
At No. 8, not only is Aaron Gordon arguably the top prospect on the board, but he'd give the Sacramento Kings some valuable, much-needed defensive versatility.
Gordon finished seventh at the NBA combine in the lane agility test, just ahead of Marcus Smart and behind six other guards. He also finished with the fastest shuttle run in the gym after getting up for a 39" max vertical—a ridiculous number for a guy who's close to 6'9".
He has to work on that jumper, but between his two-way upside, elite athleticism and unteachable intangibles, I'm not sure the Kings can pass on this kind of unique potential.
The defensive ability is something that Sacramento desperately needs, especially if Isaiah Thomas is going to continue running the show at point guard. There aren't many standout defenders on the roster, and Gordon could immediately change that while guarding both 3s and 4s.
But he's by no means the only option.
Getting a true distributor like Tyler Ennis would work, as would shoring up the wing depth by looking at a prospect like Nik Stauskas, Gary Harris, Zach LaVine or James Young. Remember, this is a deep class, and there's also a chance one of the elite players is surprisingly still on the board when it's the Kings' turn to submit their selection.
Thaddeus Young and a 2nd-Round Pick for No. 8, Jason Terry and Travis Outlaw
First, keep in mind that Jason Terry and Travis Outlaw are meant to make the salary work out, as the Kings have to bank on Rudy Gay accepting his exorbitant player option for the 2014-15 season. Neither is particularly valuable, only getting in the way of younger players who should be learning on the court.
Essentially, this deal revolves around Thaddeus Young and that No. 8 pick.
Normally, that would be an even swap, but the stacked nature of this draft class means the Philadelphia 76ers have to give up a bit more. And since they have five second-round picks under their control, it really shouldn't be even remotely problematic for them to part with one of them.
In fact, general manager Sam Hinkie should be actively looking for ways to do exactly that rather than enter the next season with eight new first-year players (including Nerlens Noel).
For Philly, the motivation is obvious.
By adding the No. 8 pick, the team would have three selections in the first 10 picks of a loaded draft. They could potentially add Wiggins/Parker/Embiid at No. 3, Aaron Gordon at No. 8 and James Young at No. 10 (just for example), then throw all of them into the starting lineup along with Noel. That's an insane amount of youth and talent.
Can you imagine how appealing a lineup of Michael Carter-Williams, Young, Parker, Gordon and Noel would be to Philadelphia fans? Especially because that Young is James, not Thaddeus.
For Sacramento, the logic works as well.
Rather than hope for a high-upside rookie to contribute immediately, the Kings would be adding established talent at a position of need. Young could immediately step into the starting lineup at the 4, giving the team a distinct "win now" type of feel.
Isaiah Thomas, Ben McLemore, Rudy Gay, Young and DeMarcus Cousins in the starting lineup? That's a team full of versatility and offensive prowess, and Young's inevitably lessened role as a scorer would allow him to focus on defense in the frontcourt.
This isn't a particularly glamorous option, but it makes for an effective lineup.
David Lee for No. 8, Jason Thompson, Jason Terry and Travis Outlaw
On one hand, adding David Lee gives the Kings yet another defensive liability to worry about.
Putting him and DeMarcus Cousins in the same frontcourt is potentially problematic.
But on the flip side, the offensive upside of a lineup with Lee at the 4 is simply through the roof. There would be even fewer holes for defenses to exploit and cheat off of, and opposing coaches would have sleepless nights before coming to Sac-Town, tossing and turning as they struggled to figure out how to corral the big men.
Golden State, meanwhile, gets a shot to add a high-upside rookie while filling in the hole at power forward with a stopgap named Jason Thompson. The big man might not be a standout option, but he's at least capable of eating minutes on a regular basis until someone else is ready to fill the role.
Lee is a bit better than Young.
That's not exactly difficult to argue, especially because the latter posted his 2013-14 numbers while enjoying an expanded role with the Sixers, one that he was given due to the dearth of quality options, not just because of his skill.
But the Kings are also giving up a rotation big in Thompson, which is why this is still just about as feasible as the previous deal.
Moving Up for Joel Embiid
As Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee suggests in the embedded video, the Kings don't necessarily have to be looking to trade down or out of the 2014 NBA draft. They could also move up.
Why would they do that? To have a chance at Joel Embiid, the standout freshman center from Kansas who has a ceiling on the same level as Hakeem Olajuwon's. Here's Grantland's Bill Simmons on the big man who could go first overall:
He wasn’t playing against anyone, just going through a two-hour workout with Will Perdue. Here’s what I can tell you: He moves around as effortlessly as a 7-foot Serge Ibaka; he’s such an athletic freak that he’s one of those “still going up as he’s finishing the dunk” guys; his freakish wingspan might make Jay Bilas pass out; he has been playing basketball for only four years (which seems impossible); he gave up a world-class volleyball career; he has 3-point range; he can shoot jump-hooks with both hands already; he couldn’t have seemed more coachable/agreeable/likable; he’s a hard worker with a goofy sense of humor; his voice is just a touch Mutombo-y (deep with a heavy African accent); and his friends call him “Jo-Jo.” And again — his back seemed totally fine.
That's a pretty impressive summation, and it should be telling that Embiid's back looked fine. There was already a serious chance the injury was more of a smokescreen than a long-term concern, as concealing medical information gave the former Jayhawk's camp a chance to control the teams that looked at him seriously.
Can you imagine Embiid and Cousins playing together in a few years?
Sacramento would be able to move Boogie over to the 4, letting Embiid protect the rim and do just about everything well. The two have complementary skills, and the only problem here is actually trading up high enough to have access to him.
Chances are, this is a move that wouldn't happen unless it was draft night and both the Cleveland Cavaliers and Milwaukee Bucks had already passed on the big man. Sacramento doesn't have enough assets to move up to No. 1 or No. 2 without trading Cousins, and that obviously isn't going to happen.
But if the Sixers aren't sold on Embiid? Then you could see them moving down a few spots and picking up young assets like Ben McLemore, Ray McCallum and Derrick Williams from the Kings.
Arron Afflalo and No. 12 for Ray McCallum, Jason Terry and No. 8
Moving back just four spots could be quite advantageous for the Kings.
In this proposed move, the Orlando Magic give up Arron Afflalo, who was a fringe All-Star candidate this past season, but that actually helps them out rather significantly. Not only do they have a shot at one of the truly elite prospects in this loaded class—potentially a guy like Aaron Gordon who could help them out significantly—but they also pick up another young talent while opening up playing time for the youth movement.
Then there's Sacramento.
Afflalo is exactly what the Kings should be looking for at the 2. In a way, you could say I'm saving the best for last with this potential deal.
According to Basketball-Reference.com, only the New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies made fewer three-pointers than the Kings during the 2013-14 season. On top of that, Sacramento connected on just 33.3 percent of its shots from downtown, which left it ranked No. 28 once more, this time ahead of the Detroit Pistons and 76ers.
Obviously, that's not a good combination.
On top of that, 82games.com reveals that shooting guard was the least productive position in the lineup. Sacramento's 2-guards produced a player efficiency of 9.0 while allowing opponents to post a 16.1 PER. That net PER of minus-7.1 is worse than that put together by any other position in the lineup.
Afflalo, meanwhile, had an 18.0 PER at the 2 while holding opposing shooting guards to 14.6 in the same metric. A bit better, huh?
He's an elite shooting threat with a consistent two-way presence. Dropping back four spots is certainly worth picking that up, even if it also means losing McCallum.