The Kings Finally Win
Armed with their own #5 pick and the #10 acquired in the Boogie Cousins deal, the Sacramento Kings were prepared to add two lottery talents to a roster teeming with young talent. Lacking a legitimate starting point guard since Mike Bibby was traded to the Atlanta Hawks in 2008, nearly a decade ago, the entire NBA draft punditry assumed a top-shelf lead guard was a lock at #5. The Kings predictably took the University of Kentucky speedster De’Aaron Fox, a 6’5 playmaking dynamo with a seriously shaky jump-shot. Fox is actually such a dismal shooter that teams dared him to shoot in his lone collegiate season.
Though, even with the concern about his shooting prowess, or lack thereof, Fox was a homerun pick for a team needing something to excite the fanbase. Fox may very well end up being the best two-way guard prospect in this draft as he projects as a plus-plus defender and assist man. Are we looking at Rajon Rondo 2.0, but with an antithetical personality than Rondo’s off-putting aloofness? Fox looks like a star in the making with talent and personality that are as outsized as his spectacular hair.
Kings GM Vlade Divac added assets by trading the #10 pick for the #15 and #20 picks from the Portland Trail Blazers. One could argue that Divac should have kept the pick and selected either scorer supreme Malik Monk or Kevin McHale junior, aka Zach Collins. The pick at 10 ended up being Gonzaga’s Collins who will look really good in RIP City black and red. Armed with two additional first round picks the Kings took University of North Carolina national title game hero, Justin Jackson. Jackson looks to be a direct replacement for the departing Rudy Gay but no one expects Jackson to be a star. He looks like a solid 3-and-D small forward who will probably start from day one in Sacramento.
The selection of Duke freshman Harry Giles at #20 was a high-risk gamble. With three serious knee injuries at only 19 years old, the former #1 rated high school recruit will be given plenty of time to recuperate and develop in a rebuilding situation. Any type of productivity from Giles will be seen as a bonus for the Kings as he was a complete non-entity in one season at Duke. This type of thinking ended up looking great for Sacramento as last year’s gamble Skal Labissiere flashed excellent potential at the end of the year.
Divac’s coup de grace in this draft came in the second round with consensus National Player of the Year, Kansas Senior Frank Mason Jr.. Mason is a true team leader, exactly the kind of player the Kings have needed for years. After a decade of lottery busts, one year rentals and the Boogie Cousins experience a heady player of Mason’s ilk can step into the veteran void on this squad and direct the young pups to better days. Fox may have better size and athleticism but expect to see Frank Mason introduced as a starter in his first NBA game.
The Kings won the draft on talent, character and exciting selections. After years of being dejected by the likes of Nick Stauskas, Ben McLemore, and Jimmer Fredette Kings fans are genuinely thrilled about the club’s future. Accolades to Vlade Divac for maneuvering out of an impossible situation with Cousins to an incandescent future brimming with young talent. Buddy Hield, Willie Cauley-Stein, De’Aaron Fox, Skal Labissiere, Justin Jackson, Harry Giles and Frank Mason, Jr. are seven exciting and talented youngsters ready to run in Sactown.