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2022 NBA Mock Draft Roundup 1.0: Shaedon Sharpe among popular picks for Kings

Are the Kings in a position to gamble on Shaedon Sharpe?

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Mississippi State v Kentucky Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Sacramento Kings shocked their fans when they took Davion Mitchell with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. Not only was Mitchell one of the oldest players in the draft at 22 years old, but he was a guard and the Kings used their 2020 lottery pick to select a guard, Tyrese Haliburton.

With Haliburton now in Indiana and the Kings in need of a 3-and-D player next to De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis, it would make more sense for Sacramento to select a guard in the 2022 NBA Draft and the latest mock drafts project that they will.

ESPN: Johnny Davis, Wisconsin

The Ringer: Shaedon Sharpe, Kentucky

Bleacher Report: Shaedon Sharpe, Kentucky

SB Nation: Shaedon Sharpe, Kentucky

The Athletic: Benedict Mathurin, Arizona

These mock drafts should be taken with a grain of salt because 1. They’re just educated guesses and 2. The NBA Draft Lottery order hasn’t even been set yet, but they do give us an idea of who might be available when the Kings are on the clock should they stay in that No. 7 slot.

So far, Kentucky shooting guard Shaedon Sharpe seems to be a popular pick for the Kings. Sharpe, an 18-year-old from London, Canada, declared for the 2022 NBA Draft as an early-entry candidate on Thursday after sitting out of the 2021-22 NCAA season. The early expectation was that Sharpe wouldn’t declare for the draft until 2023 but that doesn’t appear to be the case anymore.

The obvious concern with Sharpe is that he hasn’t played a minute of competitive basketball since high school, so teams will have to gamble on the raw skill he showed at the prep level and the flashes he shows in his pre-draft workouts. The Kings wouldn’t be the first team to take a chance on a player with no collegiate experience, but it’s worth questioning whether that would be the right decision given their desire to compete now.

Even if Sharpe is as polished as his peers that did play competitive basketball in the 2021-22 season, he’ll likely need more time to develop than they will because of how drastic the jump from high school to the NBA is. Summer League can serve as a buffer, but there’s really no comparison.

In other words, if the Kings aren’t willing to be patient, they should seriously consider other options. If they don’t mind a project, then Sharpe’s potential as a multi-level scorer and secondary playmaker should excite the front office.