The lottery is officially behind us, so all focus turns to the draft now. One team that is anxiously awaiting the June 22nd draft is the Sacramento Kings. They are the only team in this year’s draft with two lottery selections, which is extremely valuable for a team that needs as much helps as they do.
Picking at 5th and 10th in the upcoming draft, marquee prospects such as Lonzo Ball, Markelle Fultz, and Josh Jackson are very unlikely to be there for Sacramento. That’s perfectly fine in this year’s loaded class, as there is plenty of talent within the top 10. So, who are the potential Kings targets this year?
Point guard De’Aaron Fox from Kentucky has to be at the top of the Kings board. One of the most explosive players in this year’s draft with great upside, he has also voiced out about how he wants to play for Sacramento as well.
Fox’s athleticism was on display at Kentucky and it is unreal. He has the ability to make plays in the open court unlike any other player in college last year. Fox is a willing passer who has an elite ability to drive to the basket and finish. He clearly struggled shooting the ball at Kentucky, so he definitely needs to work on that. There is no reason Fox won’t become one of the top point guards in the league. He averaged 16.7 points, 4.6 assists, and 3.9 rebounds per game, and led Kentucky to the Elite 8 in his lone season at Kentucky.
He would also fit extremely well with the Kings, and fill a position of need. Sacramento is in need of a playmaking guard, and Fox is just that. Someone to kick it to Buddy Hield for three, throw a lob to Cauley-Stein, or drive in yourself and finish around the basket. This kind of player has been missing for the Kings these past few seasons.
Dennis Smith Jr.
Drafting Smith Jr. at 5 is a bit of a reach, so this is more of a realistic option if he were to slide to 10. Still, he is a very intriguing prospect and one of the best scorers in this year’s draft.
At N.C. State this year, he averaged 18.1 points, 6.2 assists, and 4.6 rebounds per game. These were solid numbers, but the main knock on him is that his team did not win. N.C. State struggled badly this year in the ACC, going 15-17 and failing to make the NCAA tournament.
Looking at Smith Jr. as a prospect is what intrigues most teams. He’s a score-first guard with defensive upside, as he is a great athlete. Smith needs to improve on his passing ability, and become more of a leader at the next level. He has the potential to be one of the better guards in the draft, but we aren’t sure of his ability to lead a team to success and distribute the ball like you would want from a point guard.
Isaac is more of a project rather than a player who would come in and contribute instantly. At 6’10, he has the size to play both the 3 and 4 positions. He averaged 12 points and 7.8 rebounds per game at Florida State this past year.
Isaac is a great defender and rebounder, and the ability to make open shots. He was very efficient at FSU, though he wasn’t used very much. Most of his weaknesses come on the offensive side, as he is still developing the ability to create his own shot.
Nonetheless, he has upside and is a great pick for Sacramento if he falls to 10. The Kings are in need of a wing as Rudy Gay recently declined his player option and will likely be playing elsewhere next year.
Monk is a sharpshooting combo guard from Kentucky who averaged 19.8 points per game. He also has tremendous athleticism, and both of these traits are highly coveted in today’s NBA. As he is not a great passer and a bit undersized for the 2 guard at 6’3, it’s hard to see where he fits with Sacramento.
We also don’t know if Monk will ever become anything more than a scorer. At Kentucky, he did nothing else besides score. He has defensive potential, but will always be too small to guard his main position at the 2. Monk also had very little rebound and assist production.
It’s hard to see the Kings taking Monk as they are already loaded with 2-guards and their will definitely be better fits available for the Kings at 5. If he falls all the way to 10, there is a realistic possibility Sacramento takes him as he is too much of a talent to pass up on at that point.
There will be plenty of options for Sacramento in this coming draft. The Kings might draft based off of fit with the team, or they may just take the best talent available. Teams have different philosophies, but through the past years Sacramento has been mixing it up. June 22, 2017, will be a very important date for the Kings and we will have to wait and see what route they decide to go.