Jun 22, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; De’Aaron Fox (Kentucky) is introduced as the number five overall pick to the Sacramento Kings in the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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The Sacramento Kings did some some dealing and took in quite a haul to add to their growing foundation. Here’s a look at their successful night with 2017 NBA Draft grades.
The Sacramento Kings are now a team looking towards the future and judging by what they came away with in the 2017 NBA Draft, it’s one that looks a lot brighter.
That future started once the Kings moved on from DeMarcus Cousins and for as shortsighted and hastily put together as that trade looked when it went down, it represented a chance for the team to finally move forward and start anew.
With that type of promise to build on, this year’s draft stood as a chance for the Kings to add plenty of high level talent as they held three picks heading into draft night, two being lottery selections.
Whether they would be able to select the players that they had reportedly targeted for some time, as in the case of De’Aaron Fox, was a question that was quickly answered, judging by how the draft unfolded. Nevertheless, some surprises were in store and overall, the Kings came away as a clear winner by the end of the night.
So with that, let’s go ahead and take an in depth look at each selection the Kings made in the 2017 NBA Draft.
iJun 22, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; De’Aaron Fox (Kentucky) is introduced by NBA commissioner Adam Silver as the number five overall pick to the Sacramento Kings in the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
No. 5 — De’Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky
Throughout the pre-draft process, there was no secret who the Kings and their fans had their eyes on for the fifth overall pick. Now that it’s a reality, the Kings finally have their point guard of the future in De’Aaron Fox, the speedster from the University of Kentucky.
Fox brings a level of athleticism and point guard play that will surely open up the Kings’ offense in a variety of ways when paired alongside natural shooters like Buddy Hield and potentially Serbian international Bogdan Bogdanovic.
A tough defender, Fox has a penchant for competing hard on that end of the floor and putting his length to good use by creating turnovers, whether it’s by swiping away the ball entirely or playing passing angles.
Although strength is certainly a big question regarding the Texas native, the concerns Fox will have to quell the most when he reaches the next level is his jump shot. To what degree he can improve on that remains to be seen, but his production and fit offensively will hinge on him doing so.
For now, all that matters is that the Kings got their guy and Fox was selected by the team he was drawn to the most throughout this process. Where he leads them now will be seen in a matter of time, but it’s a partnership that has plenty of potential.
Jun 22, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Justin Jackson (North Carolina) is introduced by NBA commissioner Adam Silver as the number fifteen overall pick to the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
No. 15 — Justin Jackson, SF, North Carolina
Heading into the night, the Kings held an additional lottery selection with the 10th overall pick. However, in a surprising move, the Kings traded that pick to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for the 15th and 20th overall picks, as first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical.
Sacramento is trading the No. 10 pick to Portland for Nos. 15 and 20 in draft, league sources tell @TheVertical.
So by the time the Kings were on the board at 15, one player certainly made a lot of sense for the Kings to take at that spot. By adding swingman Justin Jackson from the University of North Carolina, the Kings get a solid wing to round out their starting five of the future, which can develop from day one next season.
While Jackson may not have the same kind of upside for a fringe lottery selection due to his age, his well-rounded offensive profile makes him a worthy selection for the Kings, considering their lack of small forward depth.
Like Fox, Jackson faces the same questions over his build and how far he goes in gaining strength will determine whether he will be able to hold his own when matched up against strong, physical forwards.
Overall, there’s plenty to like when it comes to Jackson’s fit with the Kings. Whether he can break through his role playing potential or not, we don’t know yet, but the baseline of talent he brings to Sacramento is enough to be encouraged by what he can bring to the table now and in the future.
Mar 9, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Harry Giles (1) reacts after a dunk against the Louisville Cardinals during the first half of an ACC Conference Tournament game at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sportsat Barclays Center.
No. 20 — Harry Giles, PF/C, Duke
In the second pick they acquired from the Blazers, the Kings took arguably the biggest gamble of the draft.
There are plenty of questions that come when you select a player with as many red flags as Harry Giles has. In his lone season at Duke, Giles played very much like a player returning to action after suffering a torn ACL, the second time the 19-year-old has done so.
But before the injuries Giles has accrued over the years, he was as highly regarded as any prospect in his class — so much so that he was projected as a possible No. 1 overall pick at one point in time.
With Giles starting to return to full health, the Kings are betting on that he can return to the type of player he was capable of becoming before he suffered his many injuries. Having shown this in just a year’s time, the Kings have a track record of methodically developing big men that carried concerns in the lead up to last year’s draft between Skal Labissiere and Georgios Papagiannis.
With that in mind, taking Giles is a gamble the Kings can afford to take with where they are in their rebuild, especially at 20. The question of whether he can remotely return to the player he once projected to be will only be answered in the years to come.
Mar 25, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas Jayhawks guard Frank Mason III (0) goes up for a shot ahead of Oregon Ducks defense during the first half in the finals of the Midwest Regional of the 2017 NCAA Tournament at Sprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
No. 34 – Frank Mason III, PG, Kansas
Selecting one point guard was enough for Kings fans to feel excited over the team’s return on draft night, but the idea of selecting two would have been ideal for a Kings team that had no point guard under contract for next season.
Well, that’s exactly what the Kings did by taking point guard Frank Mason III out of the University of Kansas with the 34th overall pick in the second round.
An accomplished four-year player, Mason is an incredibly prolific and efficient scorer from all levels of the court. Although he looks for his shot more than you might like, there’s no question whether the 23-year-old will be able to translate that in the NBA, due to the variety of ways he’s able to do so.
On the defensive end, the Naismith winner is a tough, hard-nosed defender, one that’s capable of causing turnovers with his active hands and being physical with his assignment.
The knock on Mason is that he is undersized at his position as he stands at 5’11”. How he’ll go about his size concerns will heavily determine what type of player he’ll be when he reaches the next level, whether it’s as a backup point guard or even a possible starter.
This much is clear though: The type of player and person Mason is absolutely fits with the type of player the Kings have started to zero in on now. Although Fox may be the crown jewel of the night, Mason may turn out to be a diamond in the rough in his own right.
Jan 28, 2017; Lexington, KY, USA; Kansas Jayhawks guard Frank Mason III (0) shoots the ball against Kentucky Wildcats forward Edrice Bam Adebayo (3) and forward Wenyen Gabriel (32) at Rupp Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports
The Overall Night
With the four picks they selected, the Kings covered all their bases for what they needed moving forward.
They have their point guard of the future in Fox, a solid wing in Jackson, the wild card in Giles and the reliable floor general in Mason. That’s an incredible haul for a team whose roster was increasingly bare and was in desperate in need of talent.
But most of all, the Kings continue to add players who are consistently lauded for their character and work ethic. For a team that has had a checkered history with both traits in recent years, seeing the Kings target people of that caliber is a welcomed sight.
However, it should be stated that just selecting all four players doesn’t automatically mean the Kings will be on their way towards contention.
Things take time to develop and questions still exist over how the Kings will look to round out their roster once free agency begins.
Along with that, how the Kings, primarily head coach Dave Joerger, go about handling playing time for the many young players that are now on the team’s roster will certainly be something to watch once the season rolls around.
There’s absolutely no guarantee what the future holds for the Kings moving forward, but if the players they selected come close to becoming the players they project to be, this night could stand as a turning point for the franchise when we look back years from now.