Kings

Jimmer Fredette returns to NBA just in time to face his former Kings

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AP

Jimmer Fredette returns to NBA just in time to face his former Kings

SACRAMENTO -- Luka-Mania rolled through Sacramento Thursday evening. The 20-year-old rookie has been the talk of the NBA this season, but he has no concept of what it’s like to be basketball’s Elvis Presley.

Jimmer Fredette does, and on Saturday evening, it’s Jimmer-time back in the Capital City when the guard drops by as a newly-signed member of the Phoenix Suns.

Luka has appeal, but what Jimmer faced was on a different level. When Fredette showed up for his pre-draft workout for the Kings, there was a woman hiding in the bushes with a sign ready to jump out to greet him.

During the 2011 NBA lockout, Fredette played in the American Century Golf Tournament in Lake Tahoe. Where the course meets the lake, a group of female fans carried signs that read, “Jimmer can we be your sister wives?”

Acquired by the Kings on a draft day deal with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2011, Fredette spent two and a half seasons in Sacramento trying to make things work. The Kings waived the former lottery pick in February of 2014, but that didn’t spell the end of his basketball career.

Following his stint in Sacramento, Fredette spent parts of the next two years fighting to stay in the league. He made stops in Chicago, New Orleans and with the New York Knicks before heading overseas following the 2015-16 season.

The NBA chewed up Fredette and spit him out. He walked into the league as an incredible college scorer. He walked out five years later a completely different person and player.

After three seasons playing in China, Jimmer is back in the NBA. He inked a two-year deal with the Phoenix Suns on Friday and will potentially suit up against the Kings Saturday at Golden 1 Center.

Fredette has taken the CBA by storm, averaging 36.8 points per game over the last three seasons. The 30-year-old guard posted 36 points, 5.3 assists, and 5.6 rebounds in 40.4 minutes per game this season in China. He shot an impressive 41.9 percent from long range, knocking down an incredible 223 3-pointers in just 45 games.

[RELATED: Buddy Hield looks to break Kings' record]

There is no word on what the second year of Fredette’s contract might look like, but if he can play the way he did overseas, there might be a place in the league for him. He can shoot the lights out and has the ability to space the floor with his range from all over the court.

It hadn’t worked in the past, but there’s always a chance he finds a niche in the league. Whether he makes it or not, Fredette has always been a class act. He’ll likely receive an ovation from the Kings’ faithful if he gets a call from Suns coach Igor Kokoskov on Saturday evening.

New NCAA rules allow Kings, NBA to evaluate draft prospects early

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USATSI

New NCAA rules allow Kings, NBA to evaluate draft prospects early

SACRAMENTO -- One foot in, one foot out. It’s the new NBA draft process, and the players seem to love it.

According to new NCAA rules, undergraduate college players can hire agents and work out for NBA teams without it impacting their eligibility. The agents can pay for their travel and food for NBA workouts, and they can collect feedback from clubs before deciding whether to stay in the draft or return to school.

“It allows people like me to the opportunity to test and still have a chance to get their education if they want to go back if it’s not their time," University of Florida freshman guard Andrew Nembhard said from the Kings facility Wednesday. "It’s been great.”

Players have until May 29th to make their final decision, which can get dicey for college programs waiting to hear whether they’ll have open roster spots or not.

There is hope thatm by allowing players the opportunity to test the NBA market, potential prospects can get a better feel for their strengths and what they need to focus on moving forward before making an educated decision on their future.

“I’m very thankful, grateful for the opportunity,” Virginia big man Mamadi Diakite said. “If you look back at the time people didn’t get to do this, if you were trying to test the water, you were done, basically.

“You had no way back to college,” Diakite added. “But now we get an opportunity to come and play in a great facility like this, with Hall of Famers and go back to school with that experience, you know how much you have to work and you know your weaknesses and everything. It’s a really good process.”

With fewer and fewer players fully participating in the NBA Draft Combine, this opens the door for teams to bring in more players for individual and group workouts. Many of the players who have visited the Kings this week already have plans to go back to school and re-enter the draft next year or possibly the year after that.

“With a lot of the new rules, it was a little easier decision to make,” William and Mary center Nathan Knight said. “Just the ability to test the waters and not risk my eligibility, because school is important as well.”

These players will return to school with professional assessments from multiple clubs. It’s an experience that might even raise the level of competition at the NCAA level.

“All of these GMs, all of these coaches are wise people when it comes to the game of basketball,” Knight added. “It’s a lot to take in, so I’m just doing my best to take it all in and really just put together a really robust template of what I need to work on, where they think I could go this year and what they think I can do if I went back next year.”

The process of group workouts also allows prospects to test themselves against different competition. Twelve different schools from all over the map were represented during Wednesday’s workout in Sacramento.

“I’ve been able to get great feedback on my game and just learn from great coaches and great players and get to play against the best competition in the country,” Penn State junior forward Lamar Stevens said. “This has been great for me, just being able to go through this process the way it’s been set up.”

[RELATED: Kings will reportedly go after free agent Tobias Harris]

Sacramento will host a fourth workout this week on Thursday when UCF’s 7-foot-7 center Tacko Fall headlines another six NBA hopefuls. This is the new standard for prospect evaluation.

The Kings will make a file on every prospect who rolls through Sacramento, whether it’s for one of their three second-round selections this year, or for next summer when the process starts all over again.

Kings will host UCF big Tacko Fall in workout ahead of 2019 NBA Draft

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USATSI

Kings will host UCF big Tacko Fall in workout ahead of 2019 NBA Draft

The Kings might need to raise the ceilings for their next NBA draft workout. 

University of Central Florida center Tacko Fall is among the six players Sacramento will host Thursday for a workout ahead of the June 20 draft in Brooklyn. Fall, who the Kings listed as 7-foot-7 and 289 pounds, was ninth among NCAA Division I basketball players during his senior season with 2.6 blocks per game. 

NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig, citing conversations with six NBA teams and other league sources, wrote Monday that Fall was among the players who stood out at the draft combine in Chicago. Fall become something of a viral sensation in four years with the Golden Knights because of his height, and the Senegal native didn't start playing basketball until he was a teenager. 

[RELATED: Kings will reportedly go after free agent Tobias Harris]

In a league that's getting smaller and spacier, Fall is something of a throwback and "is not gonna be a guy that's gonna be a 35-40 minute a game guy," according to ESPN's Jay Bilas. The Athletic's Sam Vecenie pegs Fall as "probably a 10-minute per game guy given his propensity for fouling and his complete and utter inability to make foul shots," but noted that Fall's length (8-foot-2 wingspan) and size could make him a situational big in the NBA. 

Fall, like all of the players the Kings will host Thursday, figures to be available when the Kings pick in the second round at Nos. 40, 47 and 60 overall. Duke center Marques Bolden, who is listed as a whopping eight inches shorter than Fall, is the only workout participant listed on NBADraft.net's top 100.