Sacramento Kings and NBA Draft
The NBA draft is tonight and the consensus is that the first three picks are already set. With that in mind, the draft essentially starts with the Sacramento Kings at No. 4. Now the Kings have a multitude of avenues they could travel, but there’s only a few that make the most sense.
Draft Jaden Ivey
This outcome is simple. Jaden Ivey is the best player on the board and the Kings can’t afford to make the same mistake they made in the 2018 draft.
Now, I’ll admit I don’t love the fit, especially when the Kings traded guard Tyrese Haliburton who was a good fit alongside Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox, but it’s unquestionably the right move to draft Ivey if they keep the pick.
The duo of Fox and Ivey will be the fastest and most athletic guard-duo in the league, but what worries me is their perimeter shooting. Fox shot 29.7% from three last season, the second lowest mark of his career. In Ivey’s last season with Purdue this past year, he shot 36% from three, which was 10% better than the year prior.
It remains to be seen how newly appointed head coach Mike Brown will run the Kings’ offense, but it will most likely run through Fox and forward Domantas Sabonis. Of course Ivey will get his fair share at creating his own offense, but to start out, Ivey’s going to have to prove to the Kings that he can be a reliable shooter in their new offense.
Draft Keegan Murray
This isn’t the most likeliest of outcomes, but then again we’re talking about the Kings. If this is the path that they choose, they were clearly worried about the Fox-Ivey fit.
Keegan Murray would give the Kings some much needed versatility with his ability to play three through five. He’s most likely a small forward who can play power forward at times, which would be great news for the Kings since forward Harrison Barnes has one year left on his deal.
Murray is relentless at attacking the rim and uses his spin move the bulk of the time to get to his spot. (If you’re thinking of Pascal Siakam at this moment, no one blames you)
Alongside attacking the rim, Murray provides shooting that the Kings are in need of. In Murray’s last season at Iowa, Murray shot 38% on catch-and-shoot opportunities from three and 40% from three overall.
If Murray plays primarily on the perimeter, he’ll need to develop a better handle and will have to work on getting quicker laterally because he struggled at times when defending quicker guards.
At the end of the day, this wouldn’t be a terrible spot for Murray, it would just make sense for the Kings to move back a spot or two and take him then, but that may not be in the cards.
Trade the pick
This is probably the best option for the Kings because it doesn’t seem that Ivey and the Kings have been on speaking terms. However, you need two to tango in this situation and the Kings may not like what other teams offer them in order to move up to the fourth pick.
One team that has been reported to have interest in Ivey is the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers own the sixth pick, so they are in range to make a trade, however, with a lot of teams viewing the next pick as a dropoff in talent, it remains to be seen how big of an asking price it is to move up to No. 4.
Per usual, the New York Knicks have also shown interest in moving up to four, since they haven’t had an All-Star quality point guard in over a decade. They own the 11th pick, so their path to the fourth pick wouldn’t be all that easy. Most likely they’ll have to attach a protected first-round pick long with a younger asset to get a deal done.
One of the last teams that’s shown interest is the Washington Wizards. With the uncertainty around shooting guard Bradley Beal re-signing with the Wizards, they may be inclined to move up to four to draft Ivey. The Wizards own the 10th pick, so like the Knicks, they’ll have to give up a larger number of assets in order to move up.