Every year the editors of the SB Nation NBA blogs come together and perform a mock draft with the editors acting as GMs of their respective teams. Unlike other mock drafts, we were able to perform trades with the other "GMs", thus resulting in a mock draft that will still be just as inaccurate as all the others, but hopefully in a more interesting way!
As usual, I acted as the Sacramento Kings GM and I went into the exercise trying to behave as I thought the Kings would in real life; I wanted to focus on getting better immediately. As such I made it known to the group that the 6th pick was available, but that I wanted proven talent for it, not further draft picks. Denver immediately came asking about a potential Lawson trade, and Philadelphia surprised me with interest in the 6th & something else for Nerlens Noel depending on how the order shook up. However I was most intrigued by Phoenix, who came around and offered up a deal centered around Eric Bledsoe.
To me, Bledsoe would have been particularly intriguing for a Kings team looking to add playmaking and defense. As such we ended up making a three team deal in which I sent the 6th pick to Philadelphia and Darren Collison and Jason Thompson to Phoenix. Philadelphia sent the #3 pick to Phoenix in return for Sacramento's pick and Phoenix's #13 pick and Reggie Bullock.
From Ridiculous Upside, where you can follow the entire mock draft as it is revealed today and tomorrow, my explanation:
The Sacramento Kings are in a tough place because they want to get better immediately. A high draft pick, while probably beneficial in the long run, offers no guarantees of success. DeMarcus Cousins will be entering the 2nd year of a 4 year max contract and a new arena is on the way in one more season. Sacramento's goal is to be at least playoff-caliber by that time, and they'll need to be if they want to keep DeMarcus Cousins long term. As such, the Kings were looking for impact players in return for their draft pick.
Sacramento has also been craving a long term solution in the backcourt for a while now (see every Rajon Rondo rumor since Vivek took over the Kings) and Eric Bledsoe provides that. Bledsoe is just 26 years old, locked in for four more years, and gives Sacramento's backcourt an explosiveness that its probably never had before as well as a two way threat. The fact that Bledsoe is already close with DeMarcus Cousins from their college year in Kentucky is just another plus. Losing Darren Collison's quality play and cost-efficient contract was tough, but worth it to replace him with a player of the caliber of Bledsoe. Sacramento tried to include Carl Landry's contract in the deal, but Phoenix preferred Jason Thompson's better fit and his partially unguaranteed 2016-17 contract.
With Cousins, Gay and now Bledsoe, the Kings have a true core to build around and some stability at those positions going forward. Now to add some shooting...
What do you guys think of my decision? What would you have done differently? Let me know in the comments below!