The NBA Draft has past and there were a few winners of the draft, but one clear cut King in my eyes. Ironically enough it is the Sacramento Kings, a team that is believed by many to have one of the worst Front Offices in the League.
They proved for one night at least that they may have been the smartest, drafting four top tier college athletes who led their teams, and were a part of the deepest draft class in years.
With their first pick in the draft they selected De’Aaron Fox, who is viewed as the point guard of the future and was definitely worth the 5th overall pick in the draft. Fox is a leader on the court and has the ability to drive to the hoop, and has the tangibles required to be a good defender as well.
The only weakness Fox truly has in his game is that he is not a good shooter and will have to develop that at the next level to become the All Star that he can be. Fox will have to be more consistent in the NBA as well, but he is going to be the centerpiece of a young team so he has the time to work on things before this team becomes legitimate contenders.
Fox is the best overall player that the Kings drafted, but he will be joined by three players two of whom were the best producers on their talented college teams.
The Kings had the 10th overall draft pick but traded down, exchanging the 10th pick with the Portland Trail Blazers to acquire the 15th and 20th overall picks. They put those picks to good use drafting two guys that can help this team in the near future.
With the 15th pick the Kings selected Justin Jackson out of UNC, a team in which he was the best producer on, and helped lead them to the National Championship.
Justin Jackson in my mind is the most NBA ready player in the draft and will be able to help the Kings right away, however, there is a double edged sword when discussing Jackson as he also has a very low ceiling as to how good he can get. Jackson can help right away though, as a prototypical small forward who can score and shoot beyond the arc.
He needs to work on his rebounding and defense, but he should be a valuable bench piece this season and for years to come. This draft pick will pay off.
The second pick that the Kings acquired from the Trail Blazers turned into the Power Forward out of Duke, Harry Giles. Now this is an interesting pick because going into this past college basketball season Giles was expected to be the best incoming freshman on that talented team. Unfortunately he was not able to get into a groove and that may be because of his injury prone knees as he has had series on both knees the past few years.
Giles struggled all season long, never truly getting going. What makes this pick so interesting is that Giles may be the most purely talented player in the draft and if he can keep those knees healthy he will prove that the sky is the limit and he can be a centerpiece of the future for this long struggled franchise.
Now to their fourth pick, and my personal favorite player in the draft, Frank Mason. The 23 year old point guard was the best player on a Kansas team that went to the elite 8 in this years March Madness Tournament. It was a team that also had the fourth pick in this years draft, Josh Jackson.
Now, you may be confused as to why the best player on the team went 34th overall and not 4th, but I will quickly explain. Part of it is that Mason is 23 and has less time to develop than the 23 year old Josh Jackson, but the main reason is purely size. Mason is a 5’11” 185 pound Point Guard and is believed to be too small to succeed in the NBA, it is ironic considering a big storyline this season was how well the 5’9″ Isaiah Thomas performed this season.
Now I understand basketball is a tall mans game but Mason is much more than 5’11” he is tough, and determined. You can’t help but root for him as he plays with such heart and intensity it is exciting to watch. Mason can shoot from beyond the arc and run an offense, while finding ways to penetrate. Mason won the Wooden Award this season and it was well deserved.
At 23 Mason is viewed as a mature young man and a leader as he may be thrown into that role on a team that has a very young core. I am rooting hard for Mason to succeed as I pleaded for my Knicks to draft him, but the Kings pulled the trigger and rightfully so. Mason should be a valuable bench piece at least, but I believe he will prove early on to be much more than that and be the surprise rookie this upcoming season.
These four draft picks will team up with the young Hield and Cauley-Stein and the Kings may be a force of the future.
The Kings won the draft, and we will see if they can win in the future with these prospects.