June 17, 2018, 4:00 pm
Thursday’s draft is rapidly closing in and we’ve had no shortage of rumors. The Kings, with the No. 2 pick, are right in the thick of things and have a lot of weight on their shoulders. What they do with their pick will essentially dictate the rest of the first round.
The overwhelming consensus around the league is that Arizona’s Deandre Ayton will go No. 1 to the Phoenix Suns. Anything can happen on draft night itself but it’s looking like a pretty good bet he’ll be off the board when it’s the Kings turn to pick.
Sacramento has been linked to Luka Doncic, Marvin Bagley and Michael Porter Jr. to varying degrees; those three are the top names we’ve heard the most about at No. 2. Assuming the Kings stay put, it’s almost certainly going to be one of those three players headed to Sacramento.
Doncic has been the running favorite since the team landed at the second spot, but when Duke’s Marvin Bagley came in for a workout last week his name became more prominent in draft discussion, and on Friday USA Today’s Sam Amick reported that the Kings have strong interest in Porter Jr, despite the injury history. With three names firmly in the mix it’s hard to get a proper sense of what exact direction Sacramento will go.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) June 16, 2018
It’s been a long time since the Kings have had this much power in a draft. There’s a decent handful of really good options to choose from and all three of the aforementioned players could turn out to be really good. Even if the team decides to trade down, something they’ve done in each of the last two drafts, there’s still some good talent available.
The Kings can’t afford to miss on their pick this year, so you’d have to think staying at No. 2 is in their best interests. Maybe trading out completely for future picks or an established star could be in play, too? Reports surfaced late last week that the Kings could be a suitor for the disgruntled Kawhi Leonard, who is reportedly wanting out of San Antonio. The second pick would obviously have to be included in such a deal, along with a young player or two. It’s a high asking price for a guy who could decide to leave after one season, so making a move like that may not be wise. If they can somehow get confirmation that he’ll re-sign with Sacramento then that completely changes the situation, but that’s incredibly unlikely.
Trading out for an established player seemingly presents less risk than drafting a player. That way, you’d obviously be getting someone who’s already proved themselves in the league and is ready to contribute from day one. That’s a path that will probably get heavy consideration by the Kings, but it’ll depend on the right offer coming along and it’ll have to benefit the team both in the short-term and long-term.
Going back to the draft prospects. Doncic seems like the safest pick of the three players mentioned earlier. He’s the most NBA-ready and has proven that with his numerous accolades in the world’s second best league.
After talking with various Kings sources, the one thread that I get is that Vlade genuinely likes Doncic as a pick. Still, they're in evaluation mode.
— Aaron Bruski (@aaronbruski) June 16, 2018
Bagley’s potential inclusion is interesting. It sounds like Harry Giles will be good to play next season, so that’s one guy who could be in the rotation. Skal Labissiere performed well at the back end of last season and will take up a good chunk of minutes. Willie Cauley-Stein has the starting center spot locked down for now. Kosta Koufos picked up his option and will be back, and Zach Randolph is still around to soak up whatever minutes Dave Joerger feels suitable. So where would Bagley fit in?
The 6-foot-11 big man shot 39.7 percent from three last season on 1.8 attempts per game. He showed enough to make people believe he has a respectable outside jumper, but will that actually carry over to the NBA? That’s still a big question mark, and because of that it restricts him to PF/C for now. The Kings would have to get rid of one or two of their big men for Bagley to get significant minutes in his first season, though, which potentially complicates the situation.
Porter has obvious question marks regarding his back injury, but reports following his second pro-day on Friday were positive. At 6-foot-10 he’s probably more suited as a power forward at the NBA level, but his shot making and scoring ability could allow him to slide to the small forward spot and that would suit the Kings perfectly. There are minutes up for grabs there, and that’s why Porter could make sense. But is he too risky to take second overall? Possibly.
Each potential option comes with varying degrees of baggage, though. Sacramento can go with the safe option in Doncic or by trading out, they can go with Bagley who will be ready to contribute but may cause a minutes crunch, or they could take a risk on the major upside of Porter and potentially fill the hole at small forward. Filling the small forward spot via a trade could tidy up the rotation, too, and it would provide the team with an established talent to build with.
The clock is ticking for the Kings and they have many different scenarios to consider. Thursday will be a big night for the organization.
May 24, 2020, 9:20 pmKyrie IrvingPG, Brooklyn Nets
Following Governor Andrew Cuomo's greenlight from earlier on Sunday, the Nets will reopen their practice facilities on Tuesday.
The team will open its doors to voluntary player workouts. The team's statement went on to elaborate that they would strictly follow NBA and infectious disease expert protocols as they resume activities. It's another small step in the right direction as the NBA continues its climb towards trying to play actual games.
Source: Malika Andrews on Twitter
May 24, 2020, 8:03 pmKemba WalkerPG, Boston Celtics
Kemba Walker feels that his left knee hampered him earlier this year because of all of the basketball he's played over the course of his career.
The knee pain has been a constant this season, and Walker has missed eight games due to the injury overall. He should be fully recovered for when the season does resume at this point, and if he is able to get enough practice reps in he'll be able to avoid any restrictions whenever the league-wide shutdown is lifted.
Source: The Athletic
May 24, 2020, 7:56 pmAnte ZizicPF, Cleveland Cavaliers
If Ante Zizic chooses to leave the NBA when he hits free agency this offseason, he could draw interest from Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Zizic had a lot of success in 2016-17 when he was last in the Euro League with Darussafaka, averaging 9 points and 6.7 rebounds in under 21 minutes per game. In comparison, he's been an afterthought for the Cavs this season, only averaging 10 minutes per game. Moreover, the Cavs declined to pick up his player option for next season, and they already have plenty of options for the frontcourt between Kevin Love, Larry Nance Jr., and possibly DeAndre Drummond (player option). Maccabi will have to see how much salary flexibility they have this offseason as ticket sales are likely to take a hit in Israel next year.
Source: Euro Hoops
May 24, 2020, 7:33 pmKevin DurantSF, Brooklyn Nets
On Sunday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that professional sports teams based in New York may resume operations immediately.
With Governor Cuomo's green light in place the Knicks and Nets are now just waiting for Adam Silver's seal of approval on getting back into there facilities. The majority of the league now has state approval to access their practice facilities and the NBA is slowly ramping up activities in hopes of resuming games in July.
Source: Andrew Cuomo on Twitter
May 23, 2020, 9:43 pmLeBron JamesSF, Los Angeles Lakers
Ramona Shelburne of ESPN reported that the NBA has entered "exploratory conversations" with Disney on restarting the season at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida.
NBA spokesperson Mike Bass said the NBA and NBPA have discussed with Disney on restarting the season in late July. Marc Stein reported on Friday that it is looking increasingly likely that games will resume in July, and it appears that the stage for the rest of the 2019-20 season is likely to be Orlando.
May 23, 2020, 9:32 pmLaMelo BallPG, International
The Knicks have LaMelo Ball as their top-rated point guard for the 2020 NBA Draft.
The Knicks have a need at point guard and Ball is considered the point guard with the highest upside in this draft. He had poor shooting numbers in his 12 games in the NBL this past season, shooting .250 from deep and .375 from the field. He is a gifted passer though and averaged 6.8 assists per game in 31.3 minutes, adding 17.0 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.6 steals. If Ball was drafted by the Knicks, he could help younger players RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson get easier looks. Ball will likely be given an opportunity to run the offense by the team that drafts him and he could put up big assists numbers. He also has an impressive steal rate in limited play in Australia, but his shooting percentages are a big concern.
May 23, 2020, 9:15 pmBradley BealSG, Washington Wizards
Bradley Beal’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, said “There are no Beal Sweepstakes and that’s why he re-signed with the Wizards.”
Bartelstein continued to say “Brad re-signed with the Wizards because he wanted to stay in Washington and the Wizards wanted to keep him there.” Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News reported earlier in the week that the Nets had internal discussions with the Wizards for Beal. A trade out of Washington would likely hurt Beal’s fantasy value, but it’s not worth putting too much stock into trade rumors for Beal in dynasty leagues.
May 22, 2020, 9:13 pmJonathan IsaacPF, Orlando Magic
Jonathan Isaac, who sustained a serious left knee injury in January, said his knee is "feeling strong" and that he has been squatting increasingly more weight recently.
Isaac also said recently that he's open to returning if and when the NBA season is resumed and as long as the Magic organization is on-board with it. He has been running on an anti-gravity treadmill and indicated that his knee feels "110 percent" after more than four months of rehab. Isaac is a huge part of the Magic's future and it remains to be seen whether or not they will take the risk.
Source: John Denton on Twitter
May 22, 2020, 8:59 pmStephen CurryPG, Golden State Warriors
Certain NBA franchises in highly-restricted areas due to COVID-19 are inquiring with league officials about heading straight to the proposed "bubbles" rather than heading to an alternate location to train, completing a quarantine, then going to the bubble and completing a second quarantine period, according to Adrian Wojnarowski.
The idea behind this is to avoid quarantining twice, first for a training period and then for again when they reach the bubble. Since players on these teams are (theoretically) already under heavy self-quarantine restrictions, this could potentially come to fruition. It seems like a realistic proposition at this point, although everything is still in a planning stage as far as an NBA return is concerned. Only time will tell and there are rumblings that teams are preparing to recall the majority of their players on or around June 1. It seems like some definitive announcements might finally be somewhat imminent.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter
May 22, 2020, 8:43 pmLeBron JamesSF, Los Angeles Lakers
According to Marc Stein, NBA teams are likely going to be limited to "bring (roughly) 35 players/coaches/staff into a 'campus' environment if the 2019-20 season…resumes in July."
The continuation of the season is looking increasingly likely to happen in July. Those travel parties of 35, notably, have not mentioned the players' families (or anybody's family members, for that matter). There will undoubtedly be further developments as the situation materializes.
Source: Marc Stein on Twitter