Vlade Divac summarizes the Kings 2017 NBA Draft
by Charlie O. Mallonee
The Sacramento Kings entered the 2017 NBA Draft on Thursday night hoping that Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox would still be available when they had the opportunity to make their selection with the number five pick. “Lady Luck” smiled upon the Kings and Fox was still on the board when they went on the clock. There was never a doubt that the Kentucky connection with Sacramento was going to continue as the Kings made Fox the newest member of the “Sacramento Royalty”.
There had been many rumors that the Lakers were considering Fox over Lonzo Ball at number two. Many analyst feel that Fox is a more well rounded player than Ball. Ball is seen as a “true” point guard but Fox is more “well rounded” player who can create his own offense when necessary. The Lakers went with Ball despite the baggage that comes in form of his father.
There had also been rumors that Phoenix would take Fox and then move Eric Bledsoe – with whom they have been less than thrilled with over the past two seasons – on to another team. In the end, Phoenix drafted to their need – which was a shooting guard – and selected Josh Jackson out of Kansas.
The Kings were able to draft their point guard of the future which they have wanted for sometime. Fox has the elite size and wingspan that NBA teams are looking for in a point guard today. He is not only a play-maker but Fox can be a force on offense. He averaged 16.7 points per game for the Wildcats.
Fox is a strong mid-range shooter who suffered from behind the 3-point line for much of the season. With a great deal of hard work, Fox greatly improved his 3-point shooting production late in the season and in the NCAA Tournament.
Fox is also known for his rebounding. He is considered to be an outstanding rebounder for a guard.
Had the Kings not moved up from number eight to number five in draft lottery, De’Aaron Fox would have not been available to Sacramento. A little luck is always a good thing.
Turning three draft picks into four
The Kings held the number ten pick in the draft. They had that selection as part of the DeMarcus Cousins trade so getting a player of value was of great importance to the Kings.
The Kings did not have a burning desire for any player who was projected to go at number ten. Instead of wasting the selection, Sacramento made a deal with Portland to get the 15 and 20 selections in the draft in exchange for the 10 pick.
Number 15 pick
The Kings went to the ACC for their pick at number 15. Small Forward Justin Jackson from North Carolina was the Kings choice with their second selection in the first round.
Jackson- a junior – was the ACC player of the year while helping lead the Tar Heels to a National Championship. He also was a consensus First Team All-American and ACC Player of the Year.
Jackson is known for having a diversified game on offense and a high basketball IQ.
And with the number 20 selection …
The Kings went “high risk – high reward” with the number 20 pick. They chose 6-foot-10 forward/center Harry Giles out of Duke.
Prior to enrolling at Duke, Giles was predicted to be the number one draft pick this season. An ACL surgery (his third knee surgery) and missing the first 11 games of his freshman season lowered Giles stock in the draft.
Scouts compare a healthy Giles to Chris Webber. How could the Kings not take a chance on him?
This is a roll of the dice that has the potential to have a huge payoff.
The second round selection
Sacramento had the fourth (34th overall) selection in the second round. The Kings went with experience by selecting senior combo guard Frank Mason out of Kansas. He was a consensus Player of the Year and a First Team All-American.
The four-year Jayhawk player posted 20.9 points, 5.2 assists and 4.2 rebounds during his senior year at Kansas. He led the Big 12 in 3-point shooting percentage at 49-percent.
How did the Kings do in the draft?
Most analyst are giving Sacramento high marks for their moves in this year’s draft. The experts seem to really like the Kings move to trade the number 10 pick to add two first round picks at number 15 and 20.
All of the experts love the Kings selection of Fox. Virtually every draft analyst believes Fox will be a star in “the association”. They also believe that if Giles can get healthy he could be the steal of the draft.
Grading the Kings draft
Ben Stram of FANRAG Sports will join me on our Sacramento Kings podcast to grade the Kings 2017 draft. That podcast will be available beginning on Saturday June 24 at 8:00 a.m. on SportsRadioService.com.