The Kings got the steal of the draft in 2020, landing Tyrese Haliburton at No. 12, and they’re hoping for some similar luck this summer. General manager Monte McNair hopes to add another talented young player to join Haliburton and De’Aaron Fox as the team’s core pieces for years to come.
It’s a mixed bag when looking back at No. 9 picks since 2010. Here is each selection that went ninth overall over the past 11 drafts.
2010: Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz)
2011: Kemba Walker (Charlotte Bobcats)
2012: Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons)
2013: Trey Burke (Minnesota Timberwolves)
2014: Noah Vonleh (Charlotte Hornets)
2015: Frank Kaminsky (Charlotte Hornets)
2016: Jakob Pöltl (Toronto Raptors)
2017: Dennis Smith Jr. (Dallas Mavericks)
2018: Kevin Knox (New York Knicks)
2019: Rui Hachimura (Washington Wizards)
2020: Deni Avdija (Washington Wizards)
Hayward, Walker and Drummond have combined for seven All-Star appearances and are easily the best of the bunch. Each player is still going strong in their respective NBA careers and has provided great value for where they were selected.
Burke, Kaminsky (who had a short stint with the Kings last season) and Pöltl have all been solid contributors since joining the league and will likely stick around for years to come with their seasoned veteran status.
Although Smith’s game has fallen off in recent years, he had a good start to his career. Smith averaged 15.2 points and 5.2 assists during his rookie season with the Mavericks and was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team.
Out of the selections made before 2017, Vonleh has had the worst career. The 25-year-old only played in four games with the Brooklyn Nets before being waived last season. It appears Vonleh will have a tough time sticking with an NBA team next year.
The three most-recent No. 9 selections have shown both positive and negative returns. At age 19, Knox had a strong rookie season with the Knicks. He averaged 12.8 points and 4.5 rebounds in his inaugural campaign, but as New York became a better team, he has found himself being pushed further down the depth chart.
Knox averaged just 11 minutes per game for the fourth-seeded Knicks last season and put up a career-low of 3.9 points per game. Although his shooting has improved, Knox might not be in head coach Tom Thibodeau’s plans for next season.
Washington landed a couple of talented pieces at No. 9 the past two years. Hachimura has averaged more than 30 minutes per game since being drafted by the Wizards and is putting up 13.7 points and 5.8 rebounds during his two NBA seasons. Hachimura appears to be a long-term piece that Washington can pencil in as a starter for years to come.
Prior to last year’s draft, Avdija was getting some attention as a possible top-five pick. The Israeli forward slid down the draft board and landed with the Wizards. Avdija experienced some growing pains early on but did begin to improve before suffering a fractured ankle on April 21. Avdija started 32 games during his rookie year and averaged 6.3 points and 4.9 rebounds.
Given Sacramento’s current situation, adding a young, cost-controlled option who can contribute next season and steadily improve as his career wears on will be a win for the franchise.
If McNair is able to land a player like Moses Moody or Keon Johnson, who can help with the team’s defensive issues while also being a threat on the offensive end, it will help set the foundation for the future.
The Kings are in a good position to add a talented piece at No. 9. Which prospects are you hoping will be on the board when Sacramento makes its selection?