The Kings front office continues to openly express interest in obtaining a second-round pick in the upcoming draft, and six potential second-round/undrafted players came through the team's practice facility on Saturday for a pre-draft workout.
Kings assistant general manager Mike Bratz said the workout was great and that all of the players involved were competitive and good athletes. With the 8th pick and currently no second round picks under their belt, however, he admitted it is has been a challenge getting some guys to come to Sacramento at the same time for workouts.
"It's a challenge, I mean, obviously, we have No. 8 and so there is a pool of players that we have had in looking at that spot. We don't have a second round pick as of right now. We're very interested in obtaining one, but right now we don't," Bratz said. "We have to convince their agents that we are serious about these players and we do want to take a look at them, and that's why the guys are here today."
Participating in the workout was forward Kyle Casey (Harvard); forward Jarell Eddie (Virginia Tech); forward C.J. Fair (Syracuse); guard Joe Jackson (Memphis); forward JaKarr Sampson (St. John's); and guard Xavier Thames (San Diego).
Duke standout Rodney Hood was originally slated to be a part of Saturday's workout, but on Friday, the team announced that he had been replaced by JaKarr Sampson. Hood was the only player in the original workout lineup that is expected to go in the first round of the draft.
Though no clear reason was given for the change, Bratz confirmed on Saturday that the team has been in contact with Hood's agent and that the Kings plan on getting him in for a workout sometime before the draft on the 26th. Bratz said the Kings will hold a couple of more workouts and expects to have a few second looks at players that already came through Sacramento. Of course, that could include Marcus Smart, Noah Vonleh and Tyler Ennis.
As far as Aaron Gordon and his "surprise" visit a few weeks back, Bratz said the visit was last minute and that he wasn't "really too aware of it up until it happened."
"He didn't do much in the workout, he just did some light shooting, but I've watched Aaron play quite a few times this year so I'm real familiar with his game," Bratz said. "He's a terrific athlete, one of the best in the draft and very young so I think he's going to be a great player."
A highlight of Saturday's workout was 23-year-old Sacramento native Xavier Thames, who could go in the second round but has a strong chance of being undrafted. Thames attended Pleasant Grove High School in Elk Grove before having a good run at San Diego State University. The 6'3'', 195-pound Thames averaged 17.6 points, 3.2 assists and 2.9 rebounds last season for the Aztecs.
He is mainly known for his defense (1.6 steals per game last season), his speed and willingness to take big shots.
Though he was only in 5th-6th grade when the Kings were challenging for a championship, he still remembers it all very well.
"One game away from going into the Finals, so I remember all of that," Thames said. "Growing up, watching the Kings - Peja [Stojakovic], Chris Webber; all those guys. It's just a blessing to come here and work out with the hometown team."
His favorite King growing up was Mike Bibby. Thames' sister also was a babysitter for Shareef Abdur-Rahim's kids. Abdur-Rahim, of course, is the Kings director of player personnel and general manager for the Reno Bighorns.
Thames also followed the relocation saga and is happy the team stayed in Sacramento.
The former Aztec has had quite the workout schedule. When all is said and done, he will end up having 16 total workouts. The Kings' workout was his 10th after flying from Indiana Friday. Next, he is off to Houston, Dallas, Minnesota, Brooklyn, Detroit and Orlando.
Because of the amount of traveling, Thames said getting the proper amount of rest is one the main things he's focused on as he bounces from city to city - something he learned from friend Kawhi Leonard, who also if a former Aztec.
"I talked to him before the Finals started and I told him good luck … He just told me to get my rest and go out there and compete and give 110 percent and that's what I've been doing in these workouts," Thames said.
Thames has a decent jump shot, but a knock on him is that he may not fit into either the point guard or shooting guard spot in the NBA.
But Bratz believes he can be a point guard.
"He was a combo in college because he scored and he distributed the ball. In the NBA, I look at him as a one and I think he's got the athleticism and mindset to play one and, you know, he's a tough kid so that's where I see him," Bratz said. "He's a real solid player. Physically strong, he does just about everything pretty well. He's got a nice shot, real tough kid, defender. So I mean, he does a little bit of everything and I think he can be an asset to a team."
With the rumor mill swirling around the Kings, it will be interesting to see if the team ends up with a second round pick via a trade.
Buckle up for an interesting couple of weeks.