The NBA Draft Lottery gods have spoken and they did not favor the Sacramento Kings.
Sacramento came into Tuesday night hoping to move into the top four of a star-studded draft and they came away with the ninth overall selection, which is exactly where the odds had them drafting.
What happens now is a thorough investigation into a wide variety of prospects that are projected to go in the 6-15 region of the draft. There is a lot of talent in this group, but nothing is guaranteed.
The Kings have holes to fill, especially if they think they are going to have a hard time bringing back starting center Richaun Holmes. They need a starting level forward as well and an upgrade on talent overall.
General manager Monte McNair has his work cut out for him. While he’s sifting through college and high school tape, interviewing prospects and compiling player rankings, he also needs to be on the phones looking for the right trade to improve the roster on the quick.
The No. 9 pick doesn’t have the same value as one of the top five, but it might be the sweetener in a trade that transforms Sacramento and puts them in contention for a player that helps snap the franchise’s 15 year playoff drought.
If the Kings stay at No. 9, they have a stack of players to mull over. In this area of the draft, there are a few wings that could help fill the void if the team permanently moves Harrison Barnes to the four or if Moe Harkless bolts in free agency.
Scottie Barnes out of Florida State is a strong candidate for Sacramento if he falls a few spots down in the draft. He’s a combo forward that can defend multiple positions and act as a primary hub on the offensive end. He needs to develop a perimeter shot and work on his overall game, but he just measured in at 6-foot-8 at the combine with a 7-foot-3 wingspan.
While Barnes is raw, he is the type of physical player the Kings could mold as they attempt to improve on the defensive end.
Moses Moody out of Arkansas is another player that fits what McNair is trying to build. While he measured in at 6-foot-6 at the combine, he posted a 7-foot-1 wingspan and looks like a 3-and-D wing at the NBA level in the mold of Mikal Bridges.
If the Kings decide to move on from Buddy Hield, adding a shooter like Gonzaga senior Corey Kispert makes a lot of sense. He’s a seasoned player ready to compete on Day 1 and he’s a maximum hustle player. He’s one of the best 3-point marksmen in the draft and comes from a winning culture.
Michigan sophomore Franz Wagner is another high-end shooter and playmaker. He’s also a versatile defender that can cover both the two and the three. Wagner isn’t an elite athlete, but at 6-foot-9, 220 pounds, he has good size and an advanced understanding of the game.
Two dark horses for the No. 9 pick are starting to emerge. Ziaire Williams didn’t have a great season at Stanford, but he measured in at nearly 6-foot-10 at the combine and like Wagner, he can defend multiple positions. He might take a little while to grow into his game, but his mixture of size and athleticism is intriguing.
Lastly, Josh Giddey out of the Australia Basketball League is a player on the rise. The 18-year-old plays the point guard position overseas, but at 6-foot-8, he has the potential to be a nice point-three at the NBA level. Late in the season he started dropping in triple-doubles and while he needs to get stronger and work on his perimeter shot, this is a player to keep an eye on as the draft draws near.
Overall, if McNair decides to stick with the No. 9 pick, he will have options. There is a lot of skill and plenty of players at the Kings’ biggest position of need.
While the pick doesn’t have the same trade value that it would at the top of the draft, there will still be teams looking to move into the top 10. This is considered a very good class and if packaged with the right set of assets, McNair could find a game changer via trade.