Day five of our 2017 NBA Draftmas special is here and it is time to look at one of the most dysfunctional organizations in sports: the Sacramento Kings. The Kings have been stuck in mediocrity for a decade, although the 2017 draft could generate a change of tides in Sac Town.
The Kings have failed to finish above .500 since the 2005-06 season. They are arguably the worst franchise in professional basketball. Over the last ten seasons, they sport a winning percentage of .343 and have had a revolving door of eight different coaches.
Their current coach, Dave Joerger, was hired after three seasons of being a head coach with the Memphis Grizzlies. During Joeger’s tenure, the Grizzlies made the playoffs every year, but failed to make it past the Western Conference semifinals, which eventually lead to his firing.
In his first season with the Kings, Joerger lead the team to a 32-50 record, while being ranked 24th in points per game and 18th in points allowed. As much as I personally like Joerger, there is clearly plenty of room for improvement.
The Kings’ roster is mediocre at best. Without a true superstar, or All-Star for that matter, the Kings have no chance to compete in the Western Conference whatsoever. They will look to build upon their current young core, including two top 10 draft picks in Buddy Hield and Willie Cauley-Stein.
Hield was a major piece of the trade that sent DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans back in February. With Sacramento, Hield averaged 15.1 points and 4.1 rebounds in 29.1 minutes per game. He also shot 48 percent from the field and 42.8 percent from behind the arc. He seems like a perfect wing scorer to build around moving forward.
Cauley-Stein began the year in a bench role, averaging only 13 minutes per game before the All-Star break. After the team traded away Cousins, Cauley-Stein’s minutes per game rose to 31. His post-All-Star break averages were 13 points, eight rebounds and two assists per game on 50 percent shooting. The 23-year-old is an athletic and versatile big man who will be the Kings defensive stopper and offensive anchor for years to come.
The Kings’ have many needs, so with two top-ten picks, this is their opportunity to turn the franchise around.
Picks & Needs
The Kings have four picks in the 2017 draft, including two top-ten picks in both the first and second rounds.
First Round: No. 5, No. 10 (Via NO)
Second Round: No. 34 (Via NO), No. 38
Sacramento has plenty of needs, including a floor general to replace Darren Collison, a wing to replace Rudy Gay, depth scoring and defense. With four draft picks, the Kings can address many different needs this offseason.
Targets & Thoughts
Pick #5: De’Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky
The superstar point guard took the NCAA by storm, leading a young Kentucky team to a 32-6 record and an Elite Eight appearance in just his freshman year. Fox’s skill set has drawn comparisons to former Kentucky guard John Wall, as they both possess elite quickness, explosiveness, ball handling and playmaking ability.
The one thing that makes Fox stand out is his defense. The 6-foot-3 guard has great length and averaged 1.5 steals per game in college. He most notably held top prospect Lonzo Ball to only 10 points in their Sweet 16 matchup. Fox’s length, quickness and basketball IQ will allow him to make a smooth transition from guarding college guards to NBA All-Stars.
The only knock on Fox is his 3-point shooting ability, as he shot only 24.6 percent. There were similar knocks on point guards like Wall and former MVP Derrick Rose, who both shot under 35 percent from 3-point range in their college careers. In today’s NBA, the 3-point shot seems like a necessity, although a player like Fox does not need to rely on 3-point shooting to score.
If the Kings are lucky enough to land Fox, they will have their floor general for the next decade and will eventually return to the playoffs.
Pick #10: Jonathan Isaac, F, Florida State
Isaac, another freshman, has drawn comparisons to Kevin Durant because of his 6-foot-10 frame and shooting ability. Durant averaged 25.8 points per game in his freshman year, whereas Isaac only averaged 12. However, they both possess similar skill sets. Isaac is lethal from mid-range and has no problem stepping out and hitting 3-pointers.
He is also an above average defender and rebounder, as he recorded 7.8 rebounds and over one steal and block per game. His size and athleticism will allow him to be an extremely versatile piece for any NBA team.
If he lands with the Kings, he will immediately become one of their top three scoring options, rebounders and defenders.
Pick #34: Edmond Sumner, G, Xavier
Sumner, a 6-foot-6 combo guard out of Xavier, was forced to redshirt in his freshman season after suffering a head-on collision that left him motionless on the floor for about 10 minutes. After playing a full season in 2015-16, Sumner suffered a torn ACL that cut his sophomore campaign short.
His injury history has him dropping down draft boards, although his size and skill set project him to be an all-around guard who can contribute with or without the ball on offense. He is also long enough to defend the one through three positions.
Pick #38: Semi Ojeleye, F, SMU
Ojeleye, a former Duke Blue Devil, is a freak athlete who carried his team to the NCAA tournament. He averaged 19 points and 6.9 rebounds per game, which was good enough to win AAC Player of the Year (AAC). Ojeleye is flying under the radar as the AAC has been labeled as having lesser talented competition.
The 6-foot-7 junior would be a great second-round pick for the Kings, as he is an inside-outside scoring threat who also adds a necessary toughness factor that may have been lost with the exit of Demarcus Cousins.
The Kings need to address a large group of needs. By adding De’Aaron Fox, they will address their point guard position for the next decade. With Jonathan Isaac, the team is adding an all-around versatile scorer who can impact the game on both ends of the floor. With their second round picks, they need to add as much talent as possible. With Edmond Sumner and Semi Ojeleye, they are adding two older players who can impact the game offensively and defensively right away.
Thanks for checking out the Sacramento Kings 2017 NBA Draft profile and tune in tomorrow for day six of NBA Draftmas to see what the Orlando Magic may do.
(Featured Image by NBA.com)
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