June 5, 2018, 1:18 pm
On July 21, the Kings will find themselves in as prime of a draft position as they’ve been in in recent memory.
At the Draft Lottery they jumped from a projected seventh pick to the No. 2 spot in the upcoming draft and it opened up a window of opportunity, while it also left fans hoping that the team cashes in on their fortuitous climb.
Enter Vlade Divac: the man who’s done enough wheeling and dealing in recent NBA drafts to make Ric Flair proud. He has a sureshot opportunity to snag a team-changing player if he makes the right choice.
Luka Doncic is the name that many envision Adam Silver announcing when that time comes in a couple weeks. He’s a tall, point-forward style player that has proven himself overseas. But — and it’s a big but — it leaves to wonder if his play will translate.
Some think it would, but with little tape that he has out there, some see defensive and athletic limitations. Others see the basketball IQ of someone way older than 19 and a skill set that can compete in basketball’s highest level of play.
Then, there’s Deandre Ayton, a monster of a man from Arizona who could be the No. 1 pick if the Phoenix Suns so choose. Ayton has a dominating prowess in the post, but can also stretch his defender with his outside shot. He can work off the dribble or catch a lob with the best of them.
Another option for Sacramento is Marvin Bagley III. Bagley was a standout at Duke and, though not 7-foot 1 like Ayton, has some size himself at 6-foot 11. He also showed the ability to take over games, like the previously mentioned prospects.
So, with talent like that, there’s no way the Kings give up their pick… right? Well, Divac has proven in back-to-back drafts that he’s willing to part with a pick — if, of course, he’s able to receive adequate compensation.
Two years ago, Divac and the Kings selected local kid Marquese Chriss and fans around Sacramento cheered. Only he would never play a game for the Kings and was gone minutes later. He was traded to the Suns for the rights to Bogdan Bogdanovic and the 13th and 28th pick in that year’s draft.
Last season, the Kings once again traded down and selected Zach Collins for the Portland Trail Blazers, receiving the 15th and 20th picks in the draft as well.
This season, though, the Kings may not look to deal for just picks. The Kings need more veterans on a roster that is filled with players under-25.
With Vince Carter being a free agent, Zach Randolph receiving minimal playing time down the stretch and the Kings sending George Hill away mid-season, the three veteran additions Sacramento added last offseason could all be gone by the time next season rolls around.
So, what could the team do? They could trade down to receive some veteran help, while also getting themselves in prime position for a couple of talented rookies (possibly this year and in the future) as well.
The first player they could trade down for is Michael Porter Jr.
Porter was once looked at as the top player in the upcoming draft; out of high school, he was highly renowned. However a back injury hampered his collegiate career and he played just 53 minutes all season. Porter told reporters he feels he’s the best player in the draft, and that he could prove to be if he’s healthy and can return to his dominance he showed in high school.
Many mock drafts have him winding up in Orlando with the Magic. However, the Kings could attempt to snag someone like Nikola Vucevic from the Magic while sending their pick for Orlando’s sixth. HoopsHype mentioned Vucevic’s name last season as a possible player on the move.
Or the Kings could look to a big like Mo Bamba, who is a little more of a project but could have defensive upside to the moon and back if he can establish himself as an interior force; not to mention if he can add some weight to his slim frame.
Bamba is projected to go anywhere between fourth and seventh at this stage. The Kings could swap picks with a team like the Mavericks in the five spot and snag Mo Bamba, and they could also have the opportunity to get a player like Wesley Matthews in the deal. His contract is large and he’s already 31 years old, but he could temporarily fill the small forward void the Kings have. After a down year with the Mavs, though, the jury is out as to whether Matthews can be a competent player in the league again.
It’s important to remember that just like in everything else, there are winners and losers, and it’s very easy to land on either side of that win-loss column.
Just last season the Boston Celtics showed just how well trading down can go when they swapped their No. 1 overall pick for the Philadelphia 76ers third pick. The Celtics got Jayson Tatum and a future first rounder from Philly and the Sixers got Markelle Fultz in the deal.
On the other end of the spectrum, last season the Nuggets traded down from the 13th pick in the draft and missed out on Donovan MItchell. They received the 24th pick and a two-year veteran at the time in Trey Lyles during that swap.
The Kings know there are needs for a team that hasn’t touched 40 wins in 10 years and they have built a roster that’s loaded with potential. That potential, however, hasn’t translated into wins for the team with the longest playoff drought in the NBA. There’s plenty of options for the Kings and everything should be on the table for Sacramento.
February 18, 2020, 7:23 pmTerry RozierPG, Charlotte Hornets
Terry Rozier (left knee soreness) practiced in full on Tuesday.
Rozier missed the Hornet's final game heading into the All-Star break, but it wasn't considered to be a long-term concern. Feel free to get Rozier back into all lineups ahead of Thursday's game against the Bulls.
Source: Rod Boone on Twitter
February 18, 2020, 7:18 pmDamian LillardPG, Portland Trail Blazers
Coach Terry Stotts said that he wouldn't put a timetable on when star point guard Damian Lillard (right groin strain) would return, but he is expected to be re-evaluated on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Lillard was given a timetable of 1-2 weeks last Wednesday, as the All-Star break came at an ideal time. Lillard has a shot to avoid any missed time if his re-evaluation shows progress, but owners should prepare for a scenario in which he misses a handful of games. The Blazers have five games remaining in February.
Source: NBC Sports
February 18, 2020, 7:12 pmDario SaricPF, Phoenix Suns
The Suns expect Dario Saric (left ankle) to be available to play against the Raptors on Friday.
James Jones said that he expects everyone outside ok Frank Kaminsky to be available for Friday's game, meaning Tyler Johnson will be out there as well. While Saric has been out, Mikal Bridges has seen his role expand while Kelly Oubre Jr. has played a lot of PF. Keep an eye on how the rotation shakes out now that the Suns are healthy shakes out.
Source: Kellan Olson on Twitter
February 18, 2020, 7:08 pmAron BaynesC, Phoenix Suns
James Jones said that he expects Aron Baynes (left hip soreness) to be available for Friday's game against the Raptors.
Baynes will be joining Deandre Ayton and the rest of the injured Suns' players in returning for this one. Baynes hasn't played in roughly a month and should be seeing a minimal role off the bench down the stretch. He can be left on the waiver wire unless something happens to Ayton.
Source: Kellan Olson on Twitter
February 18, 2020, 7:03 pmDeandre AytonC, Phoenix Suns
James Jones said that he expects Deandre Jordan (left ankle soreness) to be available to play against the Raptors on Friday.
Ayton missed a few games to close out the first half, but it looks like the second-year big man will be good to go when the Suns return to action. Ayton was putting up top-12/16 per-game value in 9/8 cat leagues in the 13 games before going down, and owners have to be ecstatic to get him back in their lineups. Cheick Diallo will revert to a deep reserve role.
Source: Kellan Olson on Twitter
February 18, 2020, 6:58 pmCody MartinPF, Charlotte Hornets
Cody Martin (concussion protocol) fully participated in Tuesday's practice session.
Martin found himself in the starting lineup before going down a few weeks ago, as he has started to earn a bigger role in coach James Borrego's rotation. With Marvin Williams and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist out of the picture, Martin should have a reasonably safe role for the second half of the season.
Source: Rick Bonnell on Twitter
February 18, 2020, 6:49 pmClint CapelaC, Atlanta Hawks
Clint Capela (right heel) did not participate in Tuesday's practice.
Capela doesn't have a specific target date as he continues to fight the heel issue. With Capela out, Dewayne Dedmon will continue to absorb the bulk of minutes at C with Damian Jones backing him up. Over his past four games, Dedmon has averaged 8.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals, 3.8 blocks and 1.0 trey in 28.3 minutes per game.
Source: Chris Kirschner on Twitter
February 18, 2020, 6:43 pmOtto Porter Jr.SF, Chicago Bulls
Otto Porter Jr. (left foot fracture) returned to Bulls practice on Tuesday.
Porter added that he felt good and will return to game action when is 100 percent healthy. It was being reported earlier this week that Porter is eyeing a return before the end of the month, and this would be in line with that projection. It is unclear what type of minutes Porter can handle down the stretch, but his versatile skillset makes for an upside stash in fantasy circles.
Source: K.C. Johnson on Twitter
February 18, 2020, 6:37 pmWendell Carter Jr.C, Chicago Bulls
Wendell Carter Jr. (right ankle sprain) resumed practicing on Tuesday as he eyes a return to game action.
Carter is hopeful of playing when the Bulls return to action against the Hornets on Thursday. The Bulls may take a cautious approach and let him get in a few more practices before clearing him, but Carter's arrow is pointing straight up right now. If he is lingering on your league's waiver wire, go grab him.
Source: K.C. Johnson on Twitter
February 18, 2020, 5:45 pmKyrie IrvingPG, Brooklyn Nets
Brian Lewis of the New York Post is reporting that Kyrie Irving is expected to see a shoulder specialist as it is still bothering him.
Irving is currently out with a knee injury, but that is said not to be an issue and is recovering fine, but the shoulder is still causing him problems. This is a glaring red flag as Irving missed 26 games earlier in the year because of the shoulder. Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert would stand to benefit the most should Irving's shoulder forced him to miss additional time.
Source: Brian Lewis on Twitter