For teams not named the Toronto Raptors, Cleveland Cavaliers, Oklahoma City Thunder, or Golden State Warriors, the next big important NBA ‘event’ is Tuesday nights NBA draft lottery that will air on ESPN at 8pm ET. Akis already detailed what the draft lottery could mean for the Sacramento Kings, but with draft season comes draft rumors, and Chad Ford is already on that beat.
Chad Ford, ESPN –
The best case scenario for the Kings is the Sixers getting the No. 1 pick and Sacramento landing No. 2. Either Simmons or Ingram would be a godsend.
And if the Kings move up to No. 4, Kings GM Vlade Divac is absolutely in love with Buddy Hield.
More likely they pick around No. 8. They need a point guard, but I don't see either Dunn or Murray still on the board and the next best point guard, Tyler Ulis, is a stretch this high. They also need shooting, but again, unless they reach for Furkan Korkmaz, I think they have to opt for best player available.
I think the most likely scenario is for them to seek out a trade. They want to win now and don't have a lot of interest in a rookie. But if they kept the pick, Jaylen Brown has all the physical tools to make him an intriguing pick here.
The most notable of Chad Ford’s remarks being that Vlade Divac ‘is absolutely in love with Buddy Hield’ and as a person who is also in love with Buddy Hield, I like where Vlade Divac’s head is at should Ford’s report hold water.
Hield sort of fits that Willie Cauley-Stein mold that worked so well for Vlade is last years draft in the sense that Hield is also an older college player that could conceivably contribute in year one, who, also like Willie Cauley-Stein, would fill a gaping hole the Kings have had for the last several years. The Kings needed a versatile, rim protecting interior defender last offseason, and they drafted one. The Kings need something productive at shooting guard this offseason, and Hield would be a great option to full opening with.
Of course, Divac runs tight-lipped ship, or has when it’s been up to him. The most recent stealth hiring’s of Ken Catanella and Dave Joerger support that claim, so it would be bizarre for Divac’s top draft candidate to leak this early. With that being said, Willie Cauley-Stein was a top draft candidate at this time last season before the Kings publically ‘cooled’ on him as an option before surprising everyone with that selection last season, so we could be witnessing a similar move here.
The strategy being, get hot on Hield early to get your appropriate meetings and research in (It's hard to scout a player without agents leaking info like this, it's good pub for their player to seem wanted), ‘leak’ incorrect or misleading info closer to the draft so other teams can’t play you by knowing who your targeting, and react accordingly.
At any rate, I’m happy to see that the Kings are seemingly targeting Buddy Hield at this time, although it’ll take some sort of a trade, draft slide, lottery luck, or workout disaster to make Buddy a realistic option in Sacramento.
Players slide, though. It happens, particularly older college players, so while Buddy looks like a sure-fire top-5 pick as of May 16th, things can, and often do, change.