Looking at the standings today, the Kings have the seventh worst record in the league. Before the Suns double header, we were sitting at number 3. My humble prediction is that the Kings will end up with the fourth or fifth pick in the draft. Sitting below the Kings at the moment are the Cavs, Celtics, Knicks, and Nets, and based on star power and just being in an easier conference, two of these teams will get their act together and end up ahead of the Kings. I think any trade we make will make us worse in the short term, assuming we ship out veterans for picks or prospects. It has been reported that Pete D has been aggressive trying to make this happen. I don't see it happening, at least until December 15th when free agents signed over the summer become available. Call me a pessimist, but I doubt we will climb much in the standings, and I believe a few teams below us will climb out of the cellar. Ideally, we don't go into full tank mode and just become the league doormat, but we don't become good enough to lose the protected 1st round pick. There is just no way the Kings are going to end up with a worse record than the Jazz or Bucks, who appear to be tanking harder than Rommel in North Africa, World War II style. I doubt either of the three consensus top picks (Wiggins, Parker, Randle) will be able to help either of those teams much anyway.
Suffice it to say I don't think the Kings end up with a top 3 pick. So ideally, Vivek has a decision to make with the 4th pick. Which leads me to what Vivek was talking about when he coined the Kings at the forefront of NBA 3.0: DANTE EXUM. If you haven't seen this kid from Australia, go check him out NOW via DraftExpress on Youtube. He is a 6'6 PG, huge wingspan, creative playmaker, high basketball IQ, and can dunk over bigs. He idolizes Derrick Rose, his ability to finish over bigs and slash through the paint. His lateral quicks are off the charts. He is lean, slightly lacking strength, but he's only 18 and still basically a senior in high school. But he doesn't go to high school, he goes to the Australia Institute of Sport. He has been absolutely bred for NBA success, one GM sees him as having a higher ceiling than any of the consensus top-3 picks. He would bring to the Kings everything that Isaiah Thomas does, except he can rebound and create plays for others more effectively. Isaiah has been murdering it this season, his PER is upwards of 24, but is he really the kind of PG the Kings want long term? Considering the money he's going to be offered this summer, I doubt the Kings keep Thomas. Sorry. I know he is currently our best guard scorer, but his game is lacking in some pretty crucial areas that Pete D is definitely going to put under a microscope. His passing instincts are secondary to his tendencies to drive, shoot and create for himself. This tendency, I believe, is why Vasquez is still the starter, and why Sacramento plans to keep him long term. IT's handles are handles are phenomenal, but sometimes he dribbles too much when there is an easy pass. Easy passes, while not the sexiest, lead to more easy passes, which is what they call good ball movement. See: San Antonio Spurs. This is why we see good ball movement when Jimmer is on the floor, he is willing to make the easy pass much quicker than Marcus Thornton, who just bought benchfront property for the foreseeable future. Don't get me wrong, I love IT. He is my favorite guard we have right now, but he is a score first point guart at 5'8. Good grief. We need a creator, a playmaker for others, who happens to be able to drive over anyone, with off the charts basketball IQ, and who is long enough to defend, rebound, and fit nicely into Malone's defense. We need someone to cross em' up, to Exum.
One might argue we need a capable SF or PF coming up in the draft, and with the fourth or fifth pick one might suggest Aaron Gordon out of Arizona. The problem with him is he is undersized. We already have an undersized center, I do not see that fitting nicely with an undersized PF. There is hope that Gordon can play the 3, but that is yet to be seen, an obviously not his natural position. Randle would be awesome, but I don't think we fall that low in the draft. And if we do end up with a top three pick, and get one of these top 3 overhyped youngbloods, I doubt they will have long term plans to stay in Sacramento. See: LeBron, Bosh, Howard, Carmelo, Love who won't speak about his future, or Durant who won't speak about his future. We need someone under the radar, someone who doesn't want to fall out of the national spotlight. Big stars want big markets. Sad, but true.
Either way, no draft pick is going to solve all the Kings' problems. We do have somewhat talented PF's in Patterson and Thompson, an SF in Mbah a Moute who is coming 'round, and a newly aggressive front office. It is easier to find 3-and-D guys than someone who can create for others, as well as penetrate like Tyreke. Exum presents the best of both worlds, he can drive like Tyreke but will forego shots for open shooters almost all of the time. The SF and PF market is not franchise changing below the top 3.
Just a bored kid procrastinating ~ share your thoughts on where you think we'll draft, and who you would expect us to take at that position.