As things come down to the wire in connection to the teams future in Sacramento I thought it a good idea to think about some basketball issues for our sanity's sake. And entering into the offseason regardless, the draft will be a huge factor on the success of this summer if the KIngs stay.
It is clear that this is quite possibly the worst draft since Kenyon Martin was the first pick. In a strong draft the projected top 5 this year would be mid first round picks and frankly where the Kings are slotted at 7th is possibly the worst place to be. A seventh pick is leaves a dilemma for a front office and sometimes can make GM's see fools gold, a player with all star potential but has a huge hole in his game. You also raise the question do you draft the best player available ( who as it looks like wont be a awe inspiring prospect) or draft by your teams needs which in the Kings sake has them forced to look a lackluster group of guys.
Recently searching out mock drafts the Kings are consistantly paired with SF Shabazz Muhammed out of UCLA or oversized PG Micheal Carter Williams of Syracuse. Neither of these picks am I a fan of nor do I think present themselves as something worth the trouble and the alternatives around the same area don't seem much better. Which makes me think that the Kings would be smart to trade down.
Take a team like Atlanta who are projected to have the 18th and 20th picks in some mocks. Atlanta is a team that will be in contention with some of the best free agents for this and next year. They are a team with lots of guys all of them above average role players, granted many of them are on one years but they are in a position of strength entering into the summer. They would relish in having a ceiling guy to possibly lead the second unit as well as youth and have the wiggle room to take a potential star, however unlikely that might be. You put Shabazz on the Hawks and now ATL have another angle, something that sets themselves apart from some teams in the league. This is the case with a lot of the bubble playoff teams, they need an X factor and are willing to gamble for they are not bad enough to draft one and dont want to overpay for a sparkplug.
Sacramento has to hop on those chances for frankly looking for a star or above average player is almost as easy in the middle to late first round as it is on the top of the pile. Take a guy like Jamaal Franklin out of San Diego State who as a prospect I actually think is a better player with more potential then either of the previous players mentioned simply off his defense, athleticism and motor. Or Kontavious Caldwell Pope out of Georgia who is arguably the best shooter in the draft, can get hot and is an exeptional defender. This team needs mature, well rounded contributors not wanna be ISO players who shoot below 30% and give you 5 plus turnovers a night. More often then not those players are helping you loose then win however much good they do otherwise. Take Austin Rivers the tenth pick in last years draft. Rivers dazzles with his crossovers and offensive plays however little know he had the worst statistical season in the history of the league. Its time we look for the Kawhi Leonard or Kenneth Faried type impact players(both guys I wanted the Kings to draft) and not a 25% chance all stars. We need another clear star but more than that, right now we need brains, hustlers and defenders.
This also makes sense entering the 2014 draft, which is as of right now presenting itself as a freakishly talented group. The Kings would be smart to bring in guys that can start to be role guys that are efficient and are not great but good at everything. They have some good pieces but they would be wise to make some trades and build a unit however good moving forward. This team wont turn it around by next year and if thats the case drafting guys who are poised, collected and work horses is the way to go while preparing for an all star piece. The Magic are a perfect example, a terrible team no doubt but at least a smart team who once they find that all star piece, will have an above average first and second unit to pair him with.
The Kings have enough guys who dazzle me and show off with three on one slashes to the rim or fade away threes 5 seconds in the shot clock. They also have enough guys shooting below 30% who cant work as a unit and the problem is those players however much fanfare are more often the reason were loosing games.
This is a rebuilding process and as much as we might think we are one piece away, that piece isn't available or existing for Sactown in this draft. Lets not pretend it is.