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SB Nation Mock Draft: With the 8th pick, the Sacramento Kings select backcourt stability

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One of the fun exercises we do every year at SB Nation is put together a mock draft in which the editors of the team sites act as the GMs of their teams.  These mocks involve not just picks but also trades, and of course since it's all for fun and the stakes don't matter, there ends up being a lot more trades than would actually happen in the real draft.  Still, I think it's a useful exercise to see what some teams might be thinking.

I wasn't necessarily thinking trade going into the SB Nation mock draft, but I did let everyone know that it was available, especially if I could simply move down and still get someone I wanted.  I was happy to stay at the 8th pick if one of Kris Dunn, Jamal Murray or Buddy Hield was available, but alas, all three were taken before.  Heck, even Denzel Valentine, one of the players I wanted to trade down for, was taken before 8th, which really surprised me.

Phoenix's representatives contacted me about trading Brandon Knight and the 13th pick for the 8th pick and contract filler.  They wanted to get out of Knight's contract and move up to get a better lottery pick.  I insisted they take back Rudy Gay, which they didn't really want.  Then Orlando contacted me about acquiring Gay, and so a three team deal was born. Here are the particulars:

  • Sacramento gets Brandon Knight and the 11th pick
  • Phoenix gets Devyn Marble, Ersan Ilyasova and the 8th pick
  • Orlando gets Rudy Gay

And with the 11th pick, I still got someone I would have considered at #8, Timothé Luwawu.  From my explanation of the Luwawu pick on Ridiculous Upside, which is hosting the SB Nation mock results:

Luwawu provides athleticism and potential at Sacramento's weakest position (SG) and should also one day become a nice 3 and D player. Under Dave Joerger's tutelage, I have high hopes on at least the defensive side of the floor.

I felt that with this trade I vastly improved the Kings backcourt both in the short and long term.  Knight is locked up for four more years on a contract that is going to look downright reasonable once the new TV money boosts the cap the next two years and max offers are more like $25 million a year instead of the $16 million that Knight will see in the final year of his contract in 2020.  Knight is also 24 years old and doesn't turn 25 until December.  For comparison, Kris Dunn, a rookie, is already 22.

Knight has already proven capable of leading a good team in Milwaukee, and I think it's unsurprising that the Bucks fell off by a lot when they traded Knight for Michael Carter-Williams.  Knight might not be the premiere distributor that Rajon Rondo is, or as elite of a scorer as Damian Lillard, but he is more than capable in both areas and is still young enough to improve.  With Rondo gone and the future up in the air for Darren Collison, the Kings need some long term stability at Point Guard, and Knight is a safer bet for the Kings than trying to find someone in Free Agency or the Draft.

I can't leave out the fact that I traded Rudy Gay in this scenario, as he's basically Sacramento's 2nd best player.  However, I have a hard time seeing Rudy as a long term piece of this franchise, especially after how miserable he looked last year.  With Rudy being allowed to leave after this season (he has a player option he will almost certainly decline), I felt it was time to get some value from him.  It also allows Omri Casspi to step into a larger role, which I think he's ready for, and I also feel Knight will replace much of the offense that Rudy gave the Kings.

I also feel like the Luwawu selection will be a good one, especially under David Joerger.  With Knight and Luwawu, the Kings have an incredibly athletic backcourt that could potentially be a force on both ends of the court.

It should be noted that we also did a mock draft where we didn't allow any trades which will probably be more representative of how the draft really unfolds, and those results will be posted on Ridiculous Upside tomorrow.  I won't spoil how the entire mock went down, but I once again opted to help Sacramento's backcourt with the 8th pick and chose Providence's Kris Dunn.  If Dunn really managed to fall to the Kings at 8 on Thursday, I'd be elated.

What'd you guys think of what I did? What would you have done differently? Let me know in the comments.