• Jim Horan

The Draft Outlook for the Sacramento Kings

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*Photo via USA Today

The Sacramento Kings clearly have potential and have a few good pieces in place, such as Rudy Gay whose reputation as a ball-stopper and poor play within the team concept has been assuaged by career highs in assist rate(14.5%) and PER(player efficiency rating) and the burgeoning interior play of their franchise player, Demarcus Cousins. For a team that finished in top 10 in pace, middle of the road in offensive efficiency and bottom 5 in defensive efficiency, the first order of Business should be to improve their defense. Thankfully, the Kings should have some options available with the 6th pick that could provide help on the defensive end, without impeding their offense. The Kings do not own a second round pick this year. Off the Glass breaks it down:

The Kings, with new veteran coach at the helm in George Karl, would be wise to aim for a fast paced, defensive team next year ala the Golden State Warriors. The reason being that the offense should be fine with the talent they have the roster. The Kings should aim for a high utility role player with the potential to become part of their long term core. The Kings have struck out in the lottery with multiple busts in the past decade with the exception of Demarcus Cousins, and they should look at this draft as a new beginning. Justise Winslow, Stanley Johnson and Myles Turner all should present an intriguing option to the Kings come June 25th.

1. Myles Turner- Turner fits the bill as a defensive four that won’t compromise their spacing. However, he is not the most fluid or mobile athlete and possibly most optimally suited as a center for the duration of his career. Demarcus Cousins is a solid defender overall(101 Defensive Rating) even if he does not exactly intimidate as a rim protector. Turner averaged nearly 5 blocks per 40 minutes in college and has exceptional timing and length, especially for a four. His 27% shooting from the 3 in college undersells his overall shooting ability as he has a textbook, effortless shooting stroke that should be a weapon inside the arc at the outset and eventually he should become proficient from the NBA three-point line as well.

2. Justise Winslow- If the Kings want to play small with Gay at the four and play fast without diminishing their defense, they should select Winslow to be their small forward next year. This year the Warriors had success defensively playing the 6 foot 7 multitalented Draymond Green at the four spot, and Gay has the size to defend most fours in the league so why not try to emulate the Warriors? Winslow has superior lateral quickness, timing on blocks, recovery speed and motor that figures to equate to playing good defense in the NBA. Winslow should be a low-usage player at first in the NBA, but he is a cerebral kid and has the work ethic to improve in all areas of the game in time, as evidenced by his improvement this year under the tutelage of one of the greatest coaches ever, Mike Krzyzewski at Duke.

3.Stanley Johnson- Choosing between Johnson and Winslow can seem like splitting hairs at first; they are pretty much the same size, both solid but not outstanding athletes and both offer immediate utility and long term upside. Johnson has a better midrange game than Winslow but did not get to the rim and finish nearly as well. Winslow is said to be the better athlete but without either participating in the athletic testing portion of the NBA Draft Combine, it is difficult to distinguish one from the other. Given the Kings hiring of Karl and new lucrative contracts for Gay and Darren Collison, the Kings seem to be trying to win now. Johnson has a more NBA-ready game now due to a developed skill-game that includes a post-game, ball handling, off the dribble shooting and creation skills in the halfcourt.


1. Willie Cauley Stein- Stein I believe offers less utility to the Kings because his poor feel for the game would figure to throw more wood on the fire in that regard for the Kings. The Kings don’t move the ball or pass well at all as evidenced by being tied for the third worst assist ratio of all teams in the league. I don’t see any player available at six who should immediately resolve this problem but you must cut your losses when you can and go for other things.

2.Kristaps Porzingis- ‘Staps is a long-term project who doesn’t offer much to an NBA team immediately. The Kings don’t have forever to wait. Cousins’ free agency is in 2018 and they must show him that they can put a team around him and start winning some games.

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