By selecting Nik Stauskas with the No. 8 pick in the draft, the Sacramento Kings have already addressed some of their offseason needs.
Coming into the draft, one of the team's biggest needs was perimeter shooting, as the Kings finished 27th in three-point percentage last year at 33.3 percent. Well, Stauskas should help fill that void.
As KFBK's Bill Herenda points out, "Stauskas has range like Frank Sinatra, Chaka Khan and Ledisi" to his shot.
According to Herenda, that range should help the Kings on offense in ways other than simply shooting from downtown. "Stauskas will help space the floor with DeMarcus Cousins gaining attention in the paint and of course Rudy Gay on perimeter."
While the addition of Stauskas will certainly help the Kings, there's only so much he can do. After drafting another shooting guard in Ben McLemore last year, it seemed as if the Kings may go in a different direction. Yet, given the way the picks before them shook out, drafting Stauskas was the best option in filling a need and getting a quality player.
"Given Aaron Gordon and Marcus Smart were off the table, I'm not surprised by the pick," Herenda said. "I thought perhaps they'd go Doug McDermott, but the pick is solid and makes sense. There wasn't a real impact basket protector to make a real impact on the anemic defensive numbers like points allowed and three-point percentage against."
Now that we know who the Kings drafted and what he'll bring to the table, we have a better idea of the areas they still need to address.
Find Someone to Protect the Rim
As Herenda pointed out, the Kings need an interior presence who can protect the rim. Even if DeMarcus Cousins continues to improve on the less glamorous end, he'll never be a bona fide rim protector. DMC had his best season as pro in this regard, averaging 1.3 blocks per game and posting a block percentage of 3.2 percent.
But it's not as if the Kings had other players to pair with Cousins who were capable of consistently blocking shots or protecting the rim. The team finished 27th in the NBA, averaging 3.87 blocks per contest. Only the Minnesota Timberwolves, Charlotte Bobcats and Brooklyn Nets were worse.
Even if you can't block a shot, affecting one can be just as important, and the Kings also struggled in this area. According to NBA.com, opponents shot 62.6 percent within five feet of the rim against Sacramento. That ranked 29th in the NBA, ahead of only the Timberwolves.
With the draft now out of the way, there are only two options to upgrade their rim protection: free agency or a trade.
In terms of free agency, there are a few options who wouldn't cost the Kings too much but could help in this regard, including Nazr Mohammed, Greg Stiemsma and Cole Aldrich.
It's something worth exploring for the Kings. By having someone who can protect the rim, they can help hide some of the deficiencies of their other defenders.
Find a Solution at Point Guard
Isaiah Thomas did a solid job running the point for the Kings last season, averaging 20.3 points and 6.3 assists. The problem—if there can be one after posting numbers like that—is that Thomas is a restricted free agent.
After giving him a qualifying offer, the Kings have right of first refusal in matching any contract he may receive.
Yet, Sacramento may not be sold on going forward with Thomas as the point guard of the future.
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
If that's the case, the Kings probably don't want to get into a situation where they're paying him a ton of money. And after putting up the numbers that he did, someone may give him a sizable offer the team won't want to match.
If Thomas leaves, the Kings need to find a backup plan. One option could be Ray McCallum, who impressed while filling in for Thomas late in the season. However, according to Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee, the team views McCallum as more of a scorer than a facilitator.
"With Isaiah Thomas and Ray McCallum, the Kings believe they have two point guards who are better scorers than facilitators."
Stauskas also thinks he can play some point guard.
Stauskas said shooting is what he does best, but thinks he can plays some point guard— Jason Jones (@mr_jasonjones) June 27, 2014
Even then, it's not likely to be his primary position. That means it could be an area in need of addressing, especially depending on what happens with Thomas.
Solve the 2-Guard Conundrum
With both Stauskas and McLemore in the fold, the Kings have two shooting guards drafted in back-to-back years. They need to find out whether the two of them can mesh together, or if they're rolling with only one of them going forward.
General manager Pete D'Alessandro thinks the two of them can share the court together and mentions the pick is not an indication of the team souring on McLemore.
Pete D'Alessandro says team is still high on McLemore, could play him with Nik Stauskas— Jason Jones (@mr_jasonjones) June 27, 2014
Assuming that's the case, drafting Stauskas makes more sense, at least in terms of need. Not only will he be able to provide the perimeter shooting that the team is lacking, but he also wouldn't detract from a player in McLemore who the Kings thought so highly of coming out of last year's draft.
Following the draft, I asked NBA.com's Scott Howard-Cooper what he thought of the Kings' pick. While he likes Stauskas, he expressed some concern over what it could mean for McLemore:
@SimRisso I think he’s going to be good. A lot of positives. Just not sure what this means for McLemore’s development. That’s an issue.— Scott Howard-Cooper (@SHowardCooper) June 27, 2014
There's still plenty of time for the situation to work itself out. The one thing the Kings couldn't afford to do was draft a lesser player who may have fit more of a need. If they think Stauskas was the best player available when they were on the clock, then drafting him was the right call.
Maybe this lights a fire under McLemore. Who knows? But if the two of them can't coexist together, it'd be a shame to see the Kings give up on a player so soon after drafting him at No. 7 just a year ago.
Unless noted otherwise, all quotes obtained firsthand.
If you want to talk Kings basketball, you can find me on Twitter @SimRisso.