The Sacramento Kings have been the laughing stock of the NBA for a few years now and the recent DeMarcus Cousins trade has not helped their case. The star power forward was shipped off to New Orleans along with Omri Casspi for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, 2017 1st and 2nd round draft picks. Sacramento owner, Vivek Ranadive, has stated that he believes Hield has Steph Curry potential which had people scratching their heads in disbelief.
While most have criticized the Kings organization for the trade, I feel as if they did the right thing. Boogie needed help in Sacramento and he was not getting it. The Kings have drafted poorly to say the least and have not signed a quality free agent in over 15 years (I hope my research was correct on that). Making this trade has started a clean slate for the Sacramento organization and most importantly they are rebuilding with the guy they think is going to be pretty good in Buddy Hield. He has shown glimpses, although very rarely, of what he can do at the NBA level, but Hield has not put together a run of five, or six games where he scores 20+. I think that is something he will accomplish this season playing in Sac-Town. Having veterans like Evans and Collison will benefit Hield without a doubt.
NBA Draft-make good on your picks
Sacramento has struggled to say the least when it comes to making quality picks in the draft which has been well document.
Below is a list of players taken in the first round in the last 10 years
|Year||Pick #||Position||Player||Career points per game||Alternative pick (within three spots)|
|2016||13||C||Georgios Papagiannis||1.2 PPG||Juan Hernangomez|
|2016||22||SG||Malachi Richardson||3.6 PPG||Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot|
|2016||28||PF/C||Skal Labissiere||4.0 PPG|
|2015||6||C||Willie Cauley-Stein||6.6 PPG||Frank Kaminsky|
|2014||8||SG||Nik Stauskas||7.2 PPG||Elfrid Payton|
|2013||7||SG||Ben McLemore||9.2 PPG||C.J. McCollum|
|2012||5||PF||Thomas Robinson||4.8 PPG||Damian Lillard
|2011||7||PF||Bismack Biyombo||4.8 PPG||Kemba Walker|
|2010||5||PF/C||DeMarcus Cousins||21.1 PPG|
|2009||4||SG||Tyreke Evans||16.3 PPG||Steph Curry|
|2009||23||SF||Omri Casspi||8.4 PPG||Taj Gibson|
|2008||12||PF||Jason Thompson||8.9 PPG||Robin Lopez|
|2007||10||C||Spencer Hawes||8.8 PPG||Thaddeus Young|
|2006||19||PG/SG||Quincy Douby||4.1 PPG||Rajon Rondo|
As you can tell by the picks above, Sacramento has had trouble making the right decisions in the past. The jury is still out on the players taken in 2016, 2015 and quite possibly even McLemore, who was taken in 2013. Over a span of 10 years, you can argue that Sacramento has made two solid draft picks-DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans.
This draft, the 2017 draft, is much different than the other ones. It will be one of the deepest, if not the deepest draft since the LBJ, Wade, Bosh one. Landing a pick in the four to seven range would be exactly what the Kings need at this point. Having Josh Jackson fall to them would be a blessing, but unless he underperforms during March Madness, there is no way Jackson falls out of the top three picks, in my opinion.
Building a team usually starts from the back, so taking a point guard-Dennis Smith or De’Aaron Fox is also a real possibility. Sacramento can trade Rudy Gay and ultimately take a small forward such as Jayson Tatum with a top seven or eight pick. With the amount of great talent, I think this the year where the Kings will get it right.
Rudy Gay has a player option for 2017/18, while Darren Collison, Tyreke Evans and Ty Lawson are all free agents and most likely will not be back with the team. I did some digging and found out that Sacramento has not signed a big name free agent since about 2002. That is a very long time. This off-season should be much of the same. If free agents really like the west coast, they will most likely choose to sign with either the Lakers or Clippers. Lakers have the history, while the Clippers have been a top five team in the west for the past five seasons.
Looking at the free agent point guards this summer, Sergio Rodriguez would be a good pick up for a young team. He has plenty of experience in both the NBA and overseas and has been steady for the Sixers this season. Other options could include: Shaun Livingston and Patty Mills.
If Kings opt to take a small forward in the upcoming draft, they will surely need to sign a veteran three to help their new draft pick adapt to the NBA. Some names that come to mind are P.J. Tucker or former finals MVP, Andre Iguodala.
All in all, this is a fresh start for a Kings organization that has been in need of a face lift. Boogie is gone, and now it is time to re-build-the right way this time. The organization better hope that Hield works out and that they make good on the draft pick(s) they received in return for Boogie, otherwise this could be a long process, yet again.
Ogi is a graduate of Humber College’s Sport Management program. He is the founder of Blago Blogger Sports.