Thursday Mail Sac/Pick & Droll: Draft picks, free agent small forwards, pickup games and bad buys

Looking for Mr. (W)right - Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Hey...How you doin'?

The postman rang twice today, so we'll be getting to some of the questions today, and the rest of them tomorrow. Let's start with some draft related queries.

From Chris: "It's pretty clear that our biggest team need is at small forward, but none of the prospects at that position aside from Otto Porter, like Bennett or Muhammad, excite me very much. What would you guys think about trading down in the draft and trying to pick up Sergey Karasev? Karasev seems like he would be a great fit for the kings-- he has high basketball IQ, can shoot the ball well, is a good passer, and isn't ball-dominant. By trading down to the mid-first round, we could also pick up another asset. I'm surprised his name isn't getting more attention around STR. What do you think?"

I'm not concerned about addressing our small forward issues in the draft. As I've noted elsewhere, we are lacking in at least three starting positions (a big next to Cousins, small forward, and point guard), and we don't know for sure whether or not Evans will be here next year. For that matter, we can't be overly confident that Cousins will be here long term. Our needs are so vast that this draft is wide open.

However, if we were to target Karasev, for example, you still have to be very careful when it comes to trading down. You only want to do it if you know for a fact that the player(s) that you want will still be there, or if you are simply not enamored of any of the "lottery" guys that you are working out. Let's go through a couple of scenarios...

On the SBNation draft, Tom and Akis traded the 7th pick for the 11th and 25th pick. Their reasoning was that there were three prospects that were still on the board at 7 that they liked equally, and the 7th pick was not going to be used on any of those players by the team onboarding the 7th pick. Whether or not they talked with other "GMs," they were confident that one of those three players would still be on the board at 11. They ultimately chose Michael Carter-Williams at 11 (one of their three guys), and got a "free" 25th pick out of the deal, which they have not gotten to as of this writing. Personally, I would have preferred C.J. McCollum (who was drafted 8th), but I understand their thinking here, and agree with their methodology.

Now, could you make the same deal and grab Karasev at 11? Maybe, but again, you better have a couple of alternatives that you really like, because there is absolutely no sure thing in this draft. There are guys that could go anywhere from 7 to 23 in this draft, depending on how the chips fall. Dieng, Adams, Karasev, Caldwell-Pope, Franklin, Muhammad, Adetokumbo, Olynyk, and Gobert could land anywhere. We are still seeing names like Burke, Bennett, Oladipo, Porter and McLemore drop to 7. Len and Noel seem to be the only two guys that are completely eliminated from our range, and it was only a couple of weeks ago that Sacramento was a potential destination for Len...incredible how he has moved up the draft board without working out!

What I'm saying is that you could trade the 7 for the 17th and 18th picks with designs of drafting (say) Karasev and Dieng. But they could both be gone by 17-18, and perhaps Olynyk and Gobert are your best remaining prospects. Do you go big twice? Or do you take one and perhaps Shane Larkin? Now you've dealt the 7 pick for either Olynyk or Gobert and Larkin? Are you happy with that result? Because I don't think that I am.

My guess is that the Kings are going to have a few prospects that they like enough that they won't take the chance of the draft running away from them. But as young as this team still is, and as relatively full as the roster is, and given that they will probably be able to fill another roster spot with their 36th pick, I'm not so sure that they even want an extra draft pick. Now, if they can pick up a starting caliber veteran by trading down, that's another story. But I'll let the thread pick up that ball.

Sticking with the draft theme, here's fccpw: "I think the first round choices are pretty much set (from Zeller to Muhammad to MCW to Burke etc.). What are your choices for the Kings' second round pick? I like the two Jrs. in the draft, Glen Rice Jr. - has the length and size to be a SF (sure could be an answer to a lot of the SF question). Huge athleticism and some fabulous blocks; Hardaway Jr. also has the size to be one and is an excellent shooter. What do you think?"

The Kings have the 6th pick in the 2nd round, 36th overall. While I'm not concerned about drafting for need at 36, I am encouraged that we could potentially get a player that could make some sort of contribution. To wit, we are up to 19 players on our StR draft board (as of this writing), and here are the guys that have gotten at least a little love around here that have yet to make the board: Rice Jr., Hardaway Jr., Olynyk, Plumlee, Withey, Muscala, Larkin, Crabbe, Snell, Bullock, Nogueira, Green, Wolters, Mitchell. That's 33 guys right there, so it is a virtual certainty that one or more of these guys will still be on the board at 36.

One thing that is possible is that the Kings could trade into the late 1st round in exchange for the 36th pick. There will be cap-strapped teams down the stretch of the 1st round that might prefer to not have that guaranteed 1st round contract count against their cap. These teams might prefer the "open air" of the 2nd round, especially if they intend on drafting and stashing an international player. For what the Clippers are facing, they might deal their 25th pick under such a scenario, which could explain why a guy like Tony Snell has been back for a 2nd workout. Or Rice Jr. or Hardaway Jr. if the Kings are so inclined. One thing that we're not short on heading into this draft is scenarios. There is so much volatility on the draft board that anything could happen.

And since we're on the topic of roster additions, let's get to this one from misterbrister: "Of the available free agent SF out there, who would be your first pick? Who, if anyone, is your "most likely" pick?"

I'm really focused on Dorell Wright. He can stick the perimeter shot, he showed last year in Philadelphia that he can be an enthusiastic defender, and I believe that he and Malone at least know each other a little from Wright's time in Golden State. I think that he instantly fits with the current roster as a starter, and is a guy that would still be a plus wing player off the bench if you ever landed/developed a mega-3. And he shouldn't break the bank. 3 years and less than $15m seems about right.

Andre Iguodala is certainly one of those "mega" guys, but he won't be cheap, and Sacramento would probably have to pay quite a bit extra to get him to come to a rebuilding team. I don't really see Josh Smith as a small forward, and I really, really don't see why he'd want to come here unless we were offering him insane money. Chase Budinger is a very interesting prospect, and he probably wouldn't cost much, but he's far less than a sure thing.

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We're also going to let misterbrister kick off "Pick & Droll:" "If you were to play a pickup game with the Kings' roster, who is first pick, and who is last pick?"

Tough one. Is this call your own, and how many T's does Cousins get?

You know what? Give me Jimmer. No one likes to guard the perimeter in a pickup game, and Fredette would kill it from out there. He'd probably also be the one guy out of all of these guys that made sure that you got your shots. Last pick would be Salmons. I'm sure he's a nice guy, but he'd be the last guy on the roster that I'd want to team up with.

And from my fertile mind: Looking back, what was your most ridiculous purchase? Your John Salmons of acquisitions?

My first "I'm not bitter" response would be my ex-wife's engagement ring, but I got a really cool daughter out the marriage and I still have full dog visitation, so that one was really not a bad deal when you get right down to it. I'm going to go with the Jaguar XK-8 convertible that I bought used back in 2005. I was driving a 2001 Chrysler Sebring convertible that was completely paid off and ran like a champ (had fewer than 40,000 miles), and I determined that paying $28k for a 2000 Jaguar with 58,000 miles was the prudent move. Man, it was fun to drive, but the maintenance killed me. Between the car payment and the maintenance and the more expensive insurance, I probably dumped an extra $600 a month onto my budget. What a moron.

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Send your questions and topic ideas to asksactownroyalty@gmail. com. And remember, if you're going to jack the thread, wear a conundrum.

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