2017 NBA Draft: The shifting perception of the Sacramento Kings

Ahead of the 2017 NBA Draft, the Sacramento Kings are starting to combat the image that has surrounded them in recent years.

The Sacramento Kings have been here many times before.

For the last 11 seasons, the Kings have failed to clinch a postseason berth and have ended up in the NBA Draft Lottery. While their lack of success has been at the heart of their futility, it’s only half of what has come to define them over the last decade-plus.

Throughout the numerous coaching changes, ownership changes and even the threat of relocation, instability has been the name of the game for the Kings and that trickled down to the product on the court. But if the events of this season showed anything at all, it’s that even the Kings can reach the point where enough is enough.

Now with a burgeoning rebuild underway and armed with two top-10 draft picks, the Kings are looking at the 2017 NBA Draft as the key to help usher in a new and hopefully prosperous era.

Not long after they wrapped up their regular season, the Kings were quick to address one of their biggest weaknesses by adding the experienced front office executive Scott Perry to act as their executive vice president of basketball operations.

That move in particular has already had ripple effects regarding the Kings’ reputation throughout the league as they’ve gotten deeper into the evaluation process for the upcoming draft.

Speaking to James Ham of NBCS Bay Area over the course of this year’s draft combine, notable agents spoke favorably on the possibility of their clients joining the Kings via the draft, like B.J. Armstrong, who represents Kansas forward and projected top-five pick Josh Jackson:

“If other people see problems, we see enormous opportunity,” Armstrong told NBC Sports California about Sacramento.

Along with Armstrong, Aaron Mintz, an agent from CAA, also spoke on the subject of any of their high ranking clients being drafted by the Kings this summer:

“We have as a company (CAA), four or five guys that are going in the top 20,” agent Aaron Mintz told NBC Sports California. “They will all be going to Sacramento and we are very hopeful that the Kings will take one if not two of them.”

It’s certainly a stark turn from just last year, when the Kings were being spurned from agents in the lead up to the draft, according to ESPN’s Chad Ford.

This shift in perception doesn’t end there, however, and potential targets are slowly starting to trickle out as we inch closer to the draft.

NBA.com’s Scott Howard-Cooper pointed out late last week that Kentucky product De’Aaron Fox views the Kings as a legitimate landing spot for him, due to their need for a point guard as well as his Wildcat connections to Kings big man Willie Cauley-Stein.

For any other team, these votes of approval would be par for the course. But for the Kings, it’s an intriguing start of a transformation for a team that has been derided and ridiculed throughout the league for some time.

For how critical this draft has become for the Kings, this change couldn’t have come at a better time and hopefully it’s just a sign of things to come.

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