June 26, 2017, 4:53 pm
The Sacramento Kings took another big step forward in their rebuild on Thursday, adding De’Aaron Fox, Justin Jackson, Harry Giles and Frank Mason to their already-young roster. While the team entered with just three picks, a trade with Portland netted them the 15th and 20th picks for the 10th overall selection.
The players selected varied heavily in terms of risk, upside and NBA-readiness but all four were known for their maturity and character, two things that the organization has put a heavy emphasis on during the current rebuild. It’s still unknown how the players will turn out but there’s no doubt that they all fit into the culture that the team is trying to create.
Armed with two picks in the top-10 and one in the early second round, the Kings had arguably the most valuable combination of picks of any team in the league. This enabled the franchise to make some major changes to the team’s current roster while adding some major talent at positions of need. Here are three big takeaways from the team’s draft heading into free agency:
The Kings are ready to run
Vivek Ranadive has expressed his desire for a more exciting, uptempo product on the floor ever since he first acquired the Kings, and the team’s selections in the draft should help them achieve that goal. De’Aaron Fox will enter the NBA as one of the fastest players in the league and showed during his time at Kentucky that he knows how to push the pace and run the offense in transition.
His ability to run a fast-paced offense should help maximize the talents of big men like Willie Cauley-Stein and Skal Labissiere. If Cauley-Stein can continue to develop as a passer, and Labissiere can continue to make strides with his ball-handling and shooting, they could be incredibly tough to stop on the break. It may take some time before it’s a major threat on a consistent basis, but fans should still expect to see glimpses of what may eventually come next season.
Vlade Divac is earning respect, but it won’t come easy
Immediately following the draft the Kings were regularly praised by various media outlets and the general consensus seemed to be that Sacramento was one of the biggest winners of the night. Praise like this goes a long way towards improving the reputation of the organization and should enable the front office to continue to rebuild their league wide image.
While the kudos were refreshing, it served as a reminder that this will not be an easy reputation to shake. Many who praised the Kings were quick to point out how surprised they were at the competency of the organization, and comments meant to give praise were often littered with reminders of past mistakes.
The Kings have made moves all offseason to rebuild their reputation adding well-respected executives to their front office while also laying low and attempting to start a proper rebuild of the team. The draft was a great way to show the league that the team is finally in good hands but it will take a lot more work before those outside of Sacramento fully change their perception.
The Kings have prepared well for their rebuild
With the team still owing their 2019 first round pick to the Philadelphia 76ers, the Kings were looking at what could have potentially turned into a very difficult rebuilding process. While the loss of the pick will certainly hurt, Divac and the rest of the front office have done a good job of mitigating some of that risk.
The team now has at least one young prospect at every position, making the pick slightly less vital than before. De’Aaron Fox, Skal Labissiere and Harry Giles all have star potential (with varying degrees of risk), and players like Willie Cauley-Stein, Buddy Hield, Justin Jackson and Malachi Richardson have the potential to contribute at a high level in the future too.
The team should also be able to use the 2018 draft to add some high-ceiling talent on the perimeter. There are six wing prospects projected to go in the lottery in DraftExpress’ current 2018 Mock Draft, and while the team added Justin Jackson it would still be wise for them to add some elite talent at small forward.
Losing a first round pick during a rebuild can be tough to prepare for, but the front office has done a terrific job by adding talent all over the roster. The Kings now have a chance to develop players at all five positions, making the loss of the 2019 pick much less daunting than before.
The team’s successful draft laid the groundwork for a potentially great offseason and should give the team plenty of flexibility moving forward. Free agency will undoubtedly be key for the team, especially given their wealth of cap space, but a strong draft should get fans excited for what lies ahead.