Kings get their point guard at #5 plus turn three draft picks into four

Vlade Divac summarizes the Kings 2017 NBA Draft

by Charlie O. Mallonee

Brooklyn Hoops Winter Festival
Point guard De’Aaron Fox is now a Sacramento King

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

J Jackson
Justin Jackson the Kings #15 overall draft 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 …

Harry Giles – is he the next Chris Webber?

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

Kings second round selection Frank Mason

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


College basketball debuts at the Golden 1 Center: UC Davis downs Sac State 81-72

by Charlie O. Mallonee


SACRAMENTO–History was made tonight at the Golden 1 Center when the Sacramento State Hornets and the UC Davis Aggies Men’s basketball teams met for their annual “Causeway Classic” game. It was the first NCAA game to be played in the new entertainment and sports complex in the Capital City.

Both programs were winners because of the attention the game drew from the community at large. On the court, UC Davis (4-1) downed Sacramento State (1-3) 81-72.

UC Davis used high-percentage shots in the paint along with an outstanding 3-point shooting barrage to defeat very physical Sacramento State team.

50-percent was the Aggies number

UC Davis shot 50-percent from the floor (29-for-58). The Aggies also shot 50-percent from beyond the 3-point line (8-for-16). They hit five of those 3-pointers in the second half which helped propel them to the win. Brynton Lemar was the Aggies leading 3-point shooter going 3-for-5 from long range.

The Aggies had five players in double-figures

  • Guard Brynton Lemar was UC Davis’ leading scorer with 23 points. He was also the assists leader with five. This was the second time this season he has been the Aggies top scorer.
  • Forward Moneke Chima posted a double-double scoring 15 points and grabbing 13 rebounds
  • Mikey Henn put up 13 points coming off the bench
  • J.T. Adenrele and Darius Graham each scored 10 points against the Hornets


Sacramento State shot strong in the first half but dropped off in the second half

The Hornets shot 45.5-percent (15-for-33) in the opening half. That allowed them to go in at halftime trailing by just two points. In the second half, that shooting touch went away. Sac State shot just 29.4-percent (10-for-34) in the closing half.

The Hornets 3-point shooting finished at just 25-percent (7-for-28). Head coach Brian Katz pointed at taking too many 3-point shots as one of his team’s weaknesses in the game.

The Hornets had four players score in double-figures

  • Grant Dressler was Sac State’s leading scorer with 15 points. He went 3-for-4 from long range and 4-for-4 from the free throw line
  • Forward Nick Hornsby put up 14 points shooting 50-percent from the field (6-for-12)
  • Forward Justin Strings recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds
  • Guard Marcus Graves added 12 points to the Hornets total production


What they said after the game

“We challenged the guys at halftime and these guys responded. They made the changes that were needed, ramped up their physicality and intensity. That turned the tide in tonight’s game, in my opinion,” said UC Davis head coach Jim Les whose team held a two-point lead at halftime.

“I thought we were able to wear down a well-coached Sacramento State team, and take advantage of that fatigue throughout the last 10 minutes of the game,” added Les.

“It is crazy now that the game is over and I am able to look back at that shot. That was never my plan, I was open in the corner and took the shot. I can always tell my kids that I played in the first college game and made the first basket too. They can believe me, or not, but it’s true,” said Darius Graham talking about his three-point basket that was the first collegiate points scored in the Golden 1 Center.

“Their offense is built around penetration and kick. I thought they did a great job looking for him,” Sacramento State head coach Brian Katz talking about the Aggies finding Brynton Lemar on offense.

“I think we shot too many 3’s,” said Katz. “I give their defense credit for that. I don’t like to lose and then make excuses and say we didn’t play well. I think it had a lot to do on how they guarded us. They did a great job with that.”

What’s next for the Aggies and the Hornets

The Aggies head north for the GCI Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage that begins on Thursday night. Their first opponent will be Weber State. The other teams in the tourney are Drake and Iona.

The Hornets will travel to Cheney, Washington to play in the Eastern Washington Tourney along with San Francisco and Denver on November 26 and 27.

Mark December 21, 2017 on your calendars now

The Kings and the Golden 1 Center announced on Monday night that Stanford and Kansas have been scheduled to play a NCAA Division I basketball game in Sacramento on December 21, 2017. They did not make an announcement about it being a doubleheader, but somehow I have the feeling that Sacramento State and UC Davis might be playing in the same building on that night as well.