The Sacramento Kings have been busy scouting all of the prospects for the upcoming draft. The team holds the No. 8 pick and has a good shot at adding a quality player, assuming of course that it doesn't swing some sort of trade involving the selection.
For the Kings, there are a couple of things to consider with this pick. Do they want to try and target a specific position or two, or will they simply pick the best player available, regardless of their position. It's tough to say for certain which direction Sacramento will go.
This is our last attempt at providing an educated guess on how the Kings have stacked their draft board, based on a combination of need, where the players are projected to be selected and recent reports linking the team to a player.
The Kings' interest in Elfrid Payton kind of came out of left field, not necessarily because he wouldn't fit but because many people didn't think he'd be selected this high. However, in his most recent mock draft, ESPN's Chad Ford (subscription required) pegged Sacramento taking the point guard:
Point guard seems to be a main area of focus, and both Smart and Payton are in the mix here. If the Lakers or Celtics grab Smart and Julius Randle falls, I think they could shock everyone and take Payton over a player like Randle. Two months ago, having Payton this high seemed nuts, but he's been one of just two or three guys that have gotten rave reviews in every workout. His size, toughness, defense and leadership abilities would all be welcome in Sacramento.
Ford also pointed out in the article that the Kings were looking to deal their pick. That's not particularly surprising. Yet it's noteworthy for the Payton storyline, as Ford pointed out in a subsequent article that Sacramento's interested in the point guard if it ends up trading and moving back in the draft.
"Payton is being considered, as well, although it appears the Kings are looking at him more for scenarios where they move down a few spots in the draft."
As for what he'd bring to the table, there's plenty to like about Payton.
Unlike some workout warriors, Payton had the production to go along with it. The junior averaged 19.2 points, 5.9 assists, 6.0 rebounds and 2.3 steals.
If there were one area to improve on, it'd be his shooting, as Payton only hit 25.9 percent of this three-pointers last season.
The Kings recently attended a workout in Chicago in which both Nik Stauskas and Doug McDermott were present.
Kings GM Pete D'Alessandro, Mike Bratz and Chris Mullin meeting with prospects Doug McDermott and Nik Stauskas right now in Chicago.— Ailene Voisin (@ailene_voisin) June 16, 2014
According to NBA.com's Adam Zagoria, the team is also reportedly interested in selecting the shooting guard with the No. 8 pick.
Some NBA Draft intel I've heard...Utah loves Dante Exum at 5, Sacramento likes Nik Stauskas at 8 & Charlotte likes McBuckets at 9— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) June 12, 2014
On the surface, picking Stauskas would seem puzzling, mainly because Sacramento just drafted a 2-guard, Ben McLemore, with its first-round pick just a year ago. However, this wouldn't be a case of the team giving up on McLemore as much as it'd be an endorsement of Stauskas and his abilities.
The 20-year-old is an excellent shooter, nailing 44.2 percent of his three-pointers last season. And it wasn't as if it was a small sample size either, as Stauskas attempted 5.8 three-pointers per game. With the Kings needing shooting, that alone could make this an enticing option.
Yet ESPN's Chad Ford also thinks the former Michigan Wolverine has a lot of versatility to his game, even showing the ability to play some point guard. While this wouldn't be his primary position, it would give the Kings the option of pairing him in the backcourt with McLemore from time to time.
Ideally, the Kings wouldn't be selecting another shooting guard. However, when you've missed the playoffs as many years as Sacramento has, just getting quality players needs to be the first consideration.
So if the Kings think Stauskas is far and away the best player on the board when they're on the clock, they should just draft him and figure out playing time and how he'll fit later.
Unlike with Payton and Stauskas, there's not really anything linking the Kings to Marcus Smart. His inclusion here is more of an indication of his fit with the team and an educated guess about what the front office is thinking.
As for the latter, it was reported last week by Jake Fischer of Slam Online that the team's front office is split on whether to go forward with Isaiah Thomas as the primary point guard.
Per multiple sources, Sacramento Kings' front office is split on moving forward with Isaiah Thomas at PG, has engaged in prelim trade talks.— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) June 18, 2014
With Thomas being a restricted free agent, the Kings will need to decide whether or not to retain him. Selecting a point guard in the draft could help them make that choice, or at least provide a guide as to how much they're willing to spend on matching an offer he receives.
Being one of the better guards in this year's draft, Smart could be an option as the team's future floor general. At 6'3", 227 pounds, he'd provide a size upgrade at the point, but there's more to like about Smart than his physical stature.
Of the three listed players, who would you like to see the Kings select?
The 20-year-old can do a bit of everything. He can impact the game on offense, averaging 18.0 points and 4.8 assists last season. He's also a solid defender, posting 2.9 steals, and he's not afraid to clean the glass, pulling down 5.9 rebounds per contest.
The point guard does all of the little things right. Chad Ford's write-up on Smart lists plenty of positives about his mentality. Ford describes him as having an "excellent motor," being "a natural leader" and a "high character player."
One area for Smart to improve is outside shooting, as he only hit 29.9 percent of his three-pointers last season. The Kings could certainly use better shooters on the team. But the positives outweigh the negatives with Smart.
Assuming the Kings keep the No. 8 pick and Smart is still available when they're on the clock, they could do a lot worse than selecting the Oklahoma State product.
If you want to talk Kings basketball, you can find me on Twitter @SimRisso