Wow. That did not go as planned for the Kings.
On a personal level, the 2011 NBA Draft played out like a house of horrors. It exposed me to my worst fears as a basketball fan and left me curled in the fetal position, dripping cold sweat. Figuratively, I mean. Literally, it was a much quieter desperation.
While the reacquisition of John Salmons was, to put it mildly, not the news that Kings fans were hoping for, there were silver linings (of sorts) to be taken away from the night.
Like Jimmer...he might be good, right? Right?
Without further ado, here are the official (and by that I mean incredibly unofficial) grades for the Sacramento Kings and the moves they made on draft night.
Jimmer yells at an innocent official. So typical.
I get where the Kings were going with this one, I really do. But, man, did they pick the wrong way to get there.
They needed a small forward and a point guard, and saw that a point guard would be available at No. 10. They took the opportunity to unload Beno Udrih on some poor team while simultaneously filling both of their needs.
It sounds like a great idea on paper.
Unfortunately, the small forward they acquired was John Salmons, and the point guard they passed up at No. 7 was Brandon Knight, who basically everyone agreed would be a great fit in Sacramento.
I'm actually fine with the Jimmer part of this equation. If Knight had been taken earlier, I would have been fine with the Kings drafting him at seven.
But the fact that Knight fell right into what would have been Sacramento's lap, and the Kings weren't there to capitalize makes this deal an epic failure.
Some Kings fans will say that this was a good move because it filled two needs instead of one. I only have one counterpoint to this argument:
JOHN SALMONS IS NOT AN ANSWER AT SMALL FORWARD! HE'S NOT EVEN A GOOD SMALL FORWARD! THAT'S WHY HE GOT TRADED OUT OF SAC IN THE FIRST PLACE!
Wow. I feel much better now that I got that out of my system.
I would love to give a Jimmer draft pick a passing grade. Under normal circumstances I would. But Knight falling to seven and John Salmons coming to town sinks it.
Tyler Honeycutt airballs a jumper.
Tyler Honeycutt plays the same position as John Salmons, yet is not John Salmons. So I'm a fan of that.
Sacramento continued the game plan of "upgrading" its two weakest positions, and drafted an athletic small forward who projects most realistically as a defensive specialist at this point.
Honeycutt stands a wiry 6'8"and was used by UCLA coach Ben Howland to defend both forward positions, so he's versatile in that respect.
However, offensively Honeycutt has a long way to go before he's competing with legitimate NBA small forwards. Or even Francisco Garcia. He shot 40.6 percent from the field last season and had a negative turnover-to-assist ration (2.0-3.0). That, I'm not so excited about.
The Kings drafting Honeycutt means that one of three things will definitely happen now:
1) Either Cisco, Casspi, or Salmons (or more than one) are gone.
2) Honeycutt doesn't make the team.
3) The Kings and Timberwolves are far ahead of the curve, and future NBA championship winners will all be teams comprised entirely of small forwards.
I'm betting on door No. 1.
...And with that, the draft of point guards and small forwards officially came to an end for Kings fans.
In the last year, Thomas improved his shot selection, cleaned up his jumper and showed speed and athleticism that will certainly translate to the next level.
That would be great if he weren't 5'8". Yes, you read that correctly. Five foot eight. Which probably means that you and most of your family are taller than him.
If Thomas can play, he can play, and there will be a place in the league for him no matter how small he is in stature. But the odds of him becoming a true impact player are slim and none. Not that you would expect to draft an impact player 60th overall.
Maybe Thomas will provide Kings fans with years of Nate Robinson-type hijinks, although hopefully they won't be so Nate Robinson-y.
The 2011 NBA Draft was a bloodbath, folks. Things went horribly, horribly wrong. And the grades aren't gonna be good. But hey, at least the team is staying in Sacramento for another year!
Reacquiring John Salmons: F-
Trading the Brandon Knight pick: F
Trading Beno Udrih: A+ (in theory, does not count towards composite grade due to botched execution)
Drafting Jimmer: B
Tyler Honeycutt: C+
Isaiah Thomas: B
Final grade: D+