Sacramento holds the 12th pick, and there should be some intriguing options available in a draft that may lack high-end talent but is deep in the middle compared to prior years. The Kings can go several ways with their selection. The franchise has some holes to plug as it tries to end its 14-year playoff drought.
McNair could look to add a 3-and-D wing that fills an immediate need or look into taking a point guard to back up De’Aaron Fox. With some uncertainty surrounding the frontcourt, Sacramento could also be in the mix for a power forward.
The mock drafts are coming in fast and furious, leading up to draft day. Here is a roundup of the major media outlets and who they have the Kings taking.
SB Nation’s Ricky O’Donnell has the Kings taking Devin Vassell
The Florida State sophomore is perhaps the best bet in the draft to turn into a quality 3-and-D wing. While not the most powerfully built forward at 6’7 and about 200 pounds, Vassell is a super sharp team defender who buzzed around the court for a top-15 FSU defense. Vassell can challenge shots at the rim (4.1 percent block rate) and rip the ball away for takeaways (2.8 percent steal rate) while also providing more subtle value with crisp rotations. Offensively, Vassell isn’t going to be much of a creator, but should space the floor effectively from three-point range. He hit better than 41 percent from three in both seasons with the Seminoles, but he’ll have to work on increasing his volume from deep for it to truly be impactful.
If Vassell slips to No. 12, the Kings should be doing backflips on their way to draft him. Sacramento lacks high-IQ help defenders and off-ball scoring on the wings in the worst way. Vassell’s range feels like it starts with Atlanta at No. 6, but Sacramento should be the floor.
The Athletic’s John Hollinger has the Kings taking Devin Vassell
But if Vassell is available, this becomes an easy call, even with multiple shooting guards already on the roster (well, for now). I think this pick is Vassell’s floor. While it’s hard for teams in the lottery to get crazy excited over Vassell given his limited on-ball resume, the prospects of a plug-and-play 3-and-D wing for a team hoping to end its league-leading playoff drought have to be alluring. Also, of course, the analytics on Vassell are really good.
The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor went off the board and has the Kings taking Aleksej Pokusevski
A lanky 7-footer who moves like a wing and passes like a guard, but needs to grow into his thin frame to thrive in the NBA.
SHADES OF: Detlef Schrempf, Lamar Odom, Dragan Bender
NBAdraft.net has the Kings taking Saddiq Bey
Strengths: Scrappy, confident, high energy forward who broke out this season into one of the most productive players in the Big East … Outstanding three-point shooter who finished at 45% for the season on a high volume of shots (2.5 made threes per game) … Elite catch and shoot perimeter player.
Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman has the Kings taking Killian Hayes
League sources say the Kings are putting extra stock into analytics, and Hayes could be their target. While he’s not a clean fit next to De’Aaron Fox, he has a case as the best player available with 6’5” size, advanced passing skills, a soft floater and pull-up game, improved shot-creation moves and promising defensive instincts.
If Sacramento can get Vassell, it would be a huge win for the organization. Vassell is a plug-and-play prospect who will also improve the Kings’ outside shooting. The 6’6 sophomore averaged 12.7 points and 5.1 rebounds and shot over 40% from the 3-point line over two seasons with the Seminoles. Vassell has a 6’10 wingspan and can guard multiple positions, which again fills a need for Sacramento.
It’s interesting to see Hayes is ranked No. 1 in O’Connor’s big board. As Wasserman mentions, he might not be a great fit next to Fox, but head coach Luke Walton could get creative to max each players’ skill set. Adding another play maker will help on the offensive end and the Kings need to adopt a modern system that involves pushing the pace.
Who would you like Sacramento to take at No. 12?