Sacramento Kings fans can exhale now that the NBA Draft Lottery is over and the Kings get to keep their No. 8 overall pick. If three teams behind them leapfrogged them, they would lose their pick. Also if they landed a pick before the Philadelphia 76ers, then the 76ers would swap picks with the Kings. Those scenarios were slim, but still a possibility.
While none of that happened, the Kings are just happy to have a draft selection set in stone. Since they moved to Sacramento in 1985, the Kings have had two selections at No. 8 overall: Brian Grant in 1994 and Nik “Sauce Castillo” Stauskas in 2014.
Despite the draft being more than a month away and there will be hundreds of mock drafts released between now and then, let’s take a look at what prospects the Kings should select with their pick:
1. Kris Dunn, PG, Providence – 6’4″, 205 lbs., Junior
Dunn would be a great pick for the Kings here, assuming they lose out on the Rajon Rondo sweepstakes in the free agency period. He is considered seasoned enough to start on most teams at point guard right out of the draft and the Kings definitely could use some help on the perimeter.
He has good size, speed and athleticism for a point guard, drawing comparisons to Jordan Clarkson of the Los Angeles Lakers. With a new coach in Dave Joeger, the Kings may want to groom a new, young point guard instead of investing in high-priced free agents.
2. Denzel Valentine, SG, Michigan State – 6’6″, 225 lbs., Senior
Continuing the void at guard, the Kings may be interested in shooting guard Valentine to compete with Ben McLemore (and possible Seth Curry if they re-sign him) for a starting guard spot.
Valentine was coached by one of the best in Tom Izzo and it shows. His leadership and basketball IQ are his biggest strengths, much like former Michigan State Spartan Draymond Green. The Kings have tried making DeMarcus Cousins the sole vocal and physical leader, but a guy like Valentine may help out more than other prospects available.
3. Skal Labissiere, PF/C, Kentucky – 6’11”, 225 lbs., Freshman
This pick is a wildcard and may seem a bit repetitive after picking Willie Cauley-Stein last year, but Labissiere would have top-pick potential if it weren’t for a disappointing freshman year at Kentucky. He is big, fast and athletic, but lacks in strength and fundamentals.
DeMarcus Cousins, who recently discovered his three-point stroke this past season, may have competition at practice if the Kings pick Labissiere – he has been known to have a sweet jump shot with some great range. The pick’n’pop could be this guy’s best friend in the NBA.