The Sacramento Kings have the #5 and #10 overall picks in the upcoming 2017 NBA draft, meaning they have to do more research on prospects than the other teams in the lottery. Sacramento is guaranteed one of Josh Jackson, De’Aaron Fox, or Jayson Tatum, with De’Aaron Fox to Sacramento gaining momentum. Reports are that the Phoenix Suns, picking at #4, may have promised forward Jonathan Isaac with their selection, as he is only working out for teams selecting in the top-4.
Whoever the Kings select at #5 will have an impact on who they pick at #10. For the sake of finding realistic prospects, we are going to assume the Kings take Fox at 5 for now. If this were the case, then what players would be on Sacramento’s radar at 10?
Markkanen is definitely in play with the 10th overall pick. He is the most one of the most intriguing players in the draft, easily. After all, how many guys are 7 feet tall that shoot 42% from three? Not very many. At Arizona, Markkanen averaged 15.6 points, and 7.2 rebounds per game. His defense is definitely a huge work in progress, but he has the size and length to still be effective.
Although Markkanen doesn’t fill a position of need for Sacramento, his talent is too much to pass up. He seems like he is already a good stretch-4 the moment he steps into the league. The rest of his game needs to be developed, and will be. Markkanen is only 20 years old, he can grow into an extremely good player.
Jackson was one of the best college basketball players in the nation for North Carolina last season. He averaged 18.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists per game, on 44% shooting. Jackson also shot 37% from three, taking about seven attempts a game. What Jackson can really do is shoot the ball. Coming off screens, and finding ways to get open for catch-and-shoot possibilities is what makes him very effective. There is also a lot of upside on the defensive end for Jackson.
It is a bit of a reach to take Jackson at #10, but he seems like a sure-thing. He won’t be a star in the league, he is a role player that can shoot the ball well. Jackson also fills the small-forward position of need for the Kings, meaning he could start right away.
Anunoby averaged 11.1 points, and 5.4 rebounds per game, while shooting 55% from the field at Indiana. He is a great defensive player, with a lot of upside. The problem is his offense and knee have many concerns. If you are drafting as high as #10, you shouldn’t roll the dice on a player with as many problems as he does. Anunoby can be comparable to a slightly worse Michael Kidd-Gilchrist with knee surgery as a prospect. Kidd-Gilchrist never panned out on offense, and Anunoby probably won’t either.
Although Anunoby is definitely in play at #10, he shouldn’t be the pick. He does fill a position of need, but there are too much concerns with him to be taken this high. There is no telling whether or not he will recover fully from his knee surgery, anyways.
Now, what if Sacramento drafts a small-forward like Jayson Tatum with the #5 overall pick? That means more guards are in play with the #10 pick. So, who are some realistic options now?
Ntilikina is a 6’5 point guard with amazing length. He is reported to have a 7’1 wingspan, which if true, isn’t fair in the NBA. Can you imagine him guarding Isaiah Thomas?
Ntilikina is a tremendous athlete, and can jump out of the gym. Most scouts are banking on his athleticism and physical tools helping him translate into the NBA. Still, he does show a lot of hope as a player as well. He is a good playmaker, and his shot is definitely improving. His defense is incredible
Sacramento drafting Ntilikina at #10 is definitely worth taking. His physical tools and upside are too much to pass up on if you are in need of a player his position as well. Ntilikna isn’t even 19 years old yet, he has plenty of time to develop.
Mitchell had a terrific sophomore season at the University of Louisville. He averaged 15.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game. Mitchell has a 6’10 wingspan, although he is only about 6’3. His amazing athleticism is what makes him such a highly touted prospect. He played mostly the 2-guard at Louisville, but scouts believe he can be a point guard in the NBA.
Mitchell would give the Kings a point guard with tremendous upside and could be the guy of the future. It’s probably not best for him to start right away, but picking him at #10 seems like an ideal place for both sides.