Sacramento Kings fans fell in love with De’Aaron Fox before he was even picked with the No. 5 pick in the 2017 NBA draft.
I was bracing myself for the disappointment that someone would take him in the first four picks but alas the Fox Era has now officially begun here in Sacramento.
Who would’ve thunk the Kings would get as lucky as they did as the draft continued to unfold.
They traded their No. 10 pick to the Portland Trailblazers in exchange for the No. 15 and No. 20 picks where they selected SF Justin Jackson out of North Carolina and F Harry Giles III out of Duke. And finally with the No. 34 pick the Kings took 4-year PG Frank Mason III out of Kansas.
Based on post-draft analysis the Kings hit the jackpot. Things couldn’t have possibly gone better for a team that decided to go full rebuild at the trade deadline this past season when they parted ways with DeMarcus Cousins.
Here was Sacramento’s first official introduction to the newest members of the Kings.
Sitting on a podium answering questions is great and all but for those of you who aren’t as familiar with what you can look forward to seeing ON the court let me just enlighten you!
No. 5 PG De’Aaron Fox – Kentucky
The upside with Fox is limitless. I’ll spend less time on breaking down his game because Kings fans are way more familiar with his game at this point than the other draftees but I will say this…he is athletic, fast, has great handles, can flat out score and tops all that off with the personality and competitiveness you want to see in a franchise player.
He’s young and playing what I feel is the most difficult position in the NBA to assimilate to but based on his skill set and his personality I don’t anticipate there being any long term issues. The Kings are definitely handing over the keys to the kingdom to this kid and I think he will prove worthy.
No. 15 SF Justin Jackson – University of North Carolina
Jackson played 3-years of college ball and capped off his college career by winning a national title. One of the things that stuck out to me the most was his improvement last season with his long range shooting.
In his first two seasons Jackson shot a combined 29.7% from three. In his junior year he showed a massive jump in production shooting 37%. But don’t get your hopes too high Kings fans. There will undoubtedly be and adjustment at the NBA level with the increased 3-point line but the improvement he made in college shows his work ethic and potential long term.
One of the things not talked about enough when it comes to this guy is his defensive abilities which not only has been a weak position for the Kings in the past but is something Dave Joerger will definitely appreciate.
No. 20 F Harry Giles II – Duke
Harry Giles III is being touted the steal of the draft. He was the No. 1 prospect coming out of high school but has encountered some serious knee injuries to both knees which severely dropped his draft stock. He tore his ACL, MCL and meniscus in his left knee in 2013, his right ACL in 2015 and has had to have his left knee scoped as recently as October of 2016.
There are obvious warning signs with Giles III but taking him with the 20th pick makes it easier to take a gamble on a player who has tremendous upside IF he can get/stay healthy. There may be a silver lining here in that these injuries occurred when he was very young which may mean he will be able to rehab and bounce back without it seriously impacting his career trajectory.
Stu Jackson, who’s been around the NBA for years as an executive and is now an analyst for NBA TV, believes Harry Giles could end up being the best player to come out of the 2017 NBA draft which says a lot about the potential of this young man.
No. 34 PG Frank Mason III – Kansas
Mason III is not only a rare bread of NBA draft prospects in that he has 4-years college experience but he is also the reigning 2016-17 John R. Wooden College Player of the Year. He’s undersized at 5’11” but he’s a bulldog on both ends of the floor.
He averaged 20.9 PPG last year at Kansas which led the Big 12 and were the most points averaged by a Kansas player since 1987-88. Mason III also owned the highest offensive rating in the nation last season among major-conference players. Add in the fact he shot 47.1% from long range last season and you can see he may very well end up having the capacity to be an Isaiah Thomas type offensive weapon.
And like Isaiah whom wasn’t looked at as a player who could have success in the NBA based on his size, Frank Mason III also seems to be undervalued. Take the fact that the last 12 Wooden Award winners have been taken in the lottery and Mason III fell into the 2nd round as all the proof you need. Hopefully this provides motivation and a very large chip on his shoulder.