The NBA Draft is coming up on October 16, which means The Game Haus will be doing draft profiles for each NBA team. Each day, a new team will be analyzed for their past season, their team needs and projected targets. Today, the Sacramento Kings will be evaluated.
After a 39-43 season in 2019, the Kings fired their head coach Dave Joerger. Former Warriors assistant and Lakers head coach was hired to replace him. Names of note added by Sacramento before the season included Trevor Ariza, Harrison Barnes and Dewayne Dedmon, among others.
Although Sacramento did participate in the NBA restart in Orlando, which started on July 31, they did not qualify for the playoffs. The Kings currently have the third-longest playoff drought in the four major sports leagues.
The Kings have four picks in the 2020 NBA Draft, including one in the first round. Last season, they did not have a first round pick due to trades.
The Kings have four picks in the 2020 NBA Draft.
First Round: Pick No. 12
Second Round: Picks No. 35, 43, 52
Rebounding- The Kings ranked 28th in team rebounds in 2019-2020. Their offensive rebounding ranked 22nd (9.7 per game) which was slightly better than their defensive rebounding at 25th (32.9 per game). Sacramento needs more possessions in 2020-2021.
Shot blocking- Furthering the team’s need for a big man was their lack of shot-blocking. 4.1 blocks per game sounds great, but Sacramento was still in the bottom five in this category (27th overall).
Playmaking- A dynamic guard who can pass should also be on the Kings’ shopping list in the draft, as they averaged only 23.8 assists per game. More playmaking can put this team where they need to be as far as offense is concerned.
First Round, Pick No. 12: Precious Achiuwa, PF (Memphis)
Look at many mock drafts, and they will have the Kings drafting Precious Achiuwa in the 12th spot in the first round. For good reason, too, as he will check off a lot of boxes immediately.
Achiuwa is a great rebounder, averaging 10.8 per game including three offensive rebounds. He has huge defensive upside as well, as long as he is coached to his potential. His near-two blocks per game is also huge, especially for a 6-foot-9 power forward (as opposed to a 7-footer).
The only drawback is his shooting touch, which needs some work. Considering Sacramento’s offense is already good, though, the team will have plenty of time to work on his shot.
Second Round, Pick No. 35: Udoka Azubuike, C (Kansas)
There are a litany of true centers that Sacramento could take with this pick, or even their next pick. Filip Petrusev, Daniel Oturu, Aleksej Pokusevski and even Isaiah Stewart and Zeke Nnaji come to mind. Unless there is a truly huge run on big men, the Kings could have any of these players and they would fit well.
However, Azubuike and his 7-foot-7 wingspan may be the best fit. If he is not the best fit he is at least the biggest name, as he spent four years in a high-profile basketball program.
Just through sheer height, Azubuike further plugs the holes mentioned in the team needs above. 10.5 rebounds per game and a massive 2.6 blocks per game are the kinds of numbers that will translate into the NBA right away. Plus, he scores well, averaging 13.5 points per game.
He needs to add weight and he needs to figure out how to pass the ball out of the post. Those skill sets will need to be tuned, but he will not be asked to do that much in his first couple of years. If the Kings draft him and put him in the middle with some more weight on him, it will pay dividends immediately. Again, however, any of the above-listed centers would be completely fine in Azubuike’s stead.
Second Round, Pick No. 43: Tre Jones, PG (Duke)
Tre Jones averaged 6.4 assists in college. That does not sound overly impressive, but considering the guard talent available at the 43rd pick, 6.4 assists is actually fantastic.
A true quarterback on offense, Jones can direct traffic and run pick-and-rolls with anyone on the big board. His scoring is not an issue either, averaging 16.2 points per game. Even his defense is well above average for where he will be available.
The only question is whether or not the Kings should trade these last two picks to move further up in the first round to get a guard with a higher ceiling. If they are keeping them though, Tre Jones is a sure-fire hit for what they need.
Second Round, Pick No. 52: Kenyon Martin, Jr., SF (IMG Academy)
If Sacramento’s draft goes as predicted above, they will have selected a power forward, a center and a point guard. Considering the Kings have supremely underrated shooting guard Buddy Hield locked up, maybe some small forward depth is what they can take with a bottom-10 pick.
Kenyon Martin, Jr. is a borderline pick. He skipped college for IMG Academy straight out of high school to prepare for the draft. His stats are borderline unavailable and he is the very definition of raw. But, he is a part of an NBA family and his commitment to the game clearly outweighs his need to adhere to the tradition of going to college.
Like him or not, he is a prototype for a new wave of player that is starting to skip college for the NBA. Maybe the Kings could see if he will work.
Featured Image courtesy of Sacramento Kings
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