Team: Sacramento Kings
2011 Draft Assets: 1st (#7), 2nd (#35 & #60)
2012 Draft Assets: 1st, 2nd
#7 – Jimmer Fredette (PG) – BYU (Profile)
#35 – Darius Morris (PG) – Michigan (Profile)
#60 – Adam Hanga (SG/SF) – Albacomp (Hungary) (Profile)
Chad Ford’s Mock Selection(s):
#7 – Kemba Walker (PG) – Uconn (Profile)
#35 – Norris Cole (PG) – Cleveland State (Profile)
#60 – Andrew Goudelock (SG) – College of Charleston (Profile)
UFA’s of Significance: Samuel Dalembert,
RFA’s of Significance: Marcus Thornton
The Kings actually find themselves in quite an enviable position from a cap standpoint. They have two slightly unpalatable contracts committed to Beno Udrih and Francisco Garcia that run through 2013, but neither qualifies as a cap killer given their current production levels. After that, Sacramento actually has a nice foundation of youth– that is until you start factoring character into the equation. Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins are the headliners, with Omri Casspi, Jason Thompson, Donte Greene, and Hassan Whiteside rounding out a king’s ransom of young talent. Thornton was great since coming over from New Orleans mid-season and will most likely be a priority to re-sign.
Needs: High-character players, a backcourt fit with Evans, frontcourt depth
“Safe” scenario: Walker might be the safest pick at #7 for the Kings, as there is no doubt he will be a contributor at the NBA level. But because both Evans and Thornton are key pieces for Sacramento going forward, one would have to question how well the former Husky fits. In terms of safe picks and good fits, Tristan Thompson and Klay Thompson would serve them well. Thompson’s shooting and ability to play either wing spot pairs well with Evans while Thompson’s rebounding and defensive presence would fit nicely alongside DeMarcus Cousins. If the Kings are willing to wait to reap the benefits, both Jonas Valanciunas and Bismack Biyombo would end up being fantastic fits along their frontline.
The two most interesting names being kicked around in connection with Sacramento at #7 are Jimmer Jimmer Fredette and Alec Burks. Fredette’s intangibles and shooting ability would definitely be a boost to Sacramento, but that might be a little high for him. Burks is the really interesting proposition.
As far as playing alongside Tyreke Evans in the backcourt, Colorado product may actually be a better fit than most would expect. One of the better pure scorers in the draft class, Burks has adequate size for a shooting guard (6-foot-6 in shoes), with good length and versatility. In college he primarily operated as a dribble drive threat, able to get to the basket consistently and finish in traffic, but has reportedly been working out with former Colorado great Chauncey Billups to improve his perimeter shooting. That factor – perhaps above all others – will be paramount to his success at the pro level. Burks shot just 29% from beyond the arc in his final collegiate season due in large part to his inconsistence shooting balance. The 19-year-old often will fade away or drift to the side when elevating for a jumper, severely hampering his ability to be an effective shooter.
What is lost behind Burks’s impressive scoring numbers (20 ppg), however, is his playmaking ability. Despite being the primary scoring option for the Buffalos, he shows good passing instincts, knows how to set up teammates and even served as the team’s point guard when the starter went to the bench. He certainly isn’t the kind of player who can be a pure point in the immediate future, but facilitates enough when on the floor that you may not have to worry about playing him alongside Evans. Both are scorers first, passers second, but are smart enough to make the necessary plays. A backcourt with two talented combo-guards may work just as well as playing with a traditional one and two.
Yes, Kemba Walker may be a safer pick at this spot given the senior’s tremendous year and high character, but Burks offers more potential. He may just be scratching the surface of his all around game, and is bigger, longer and can already score and facilitate just as well as Walker. – JW
“High-Risk” Scenario: Since a lot of scenarios involving Sacramento seem to involve reaching, poor fit, or long-term investment, one option they could look into is trading back. The Knicks have been hot on Jimmer Fredette’s trail and he should be available at #7. If the Knicks sent Toney Douglas along with #17 to the Kings in exchange for #7, would Geoff Petrie bite?
Douglas would be an excellent fit at the point guard spot next to Evans. He defends, shoots the three well, and doesn’t need the ball to be effective. Plus, at 25, he’d be a veteran presence on this ballclub. The Kings would also still have plenty of good options for them at #17. Kenneth Faried (Morehead St.), Markieff Morris (Kansas), and Jordan Hamilton (Texas) all would be great value at that spot and be excellent additions to their roster. –BK