The search for a diamond in the rough has begun in Sacramento. With head coach Luke Walton looking on, the Kings held their first predraft workout Monday.
It won’t be an easy search for Kings general manager Vlade Divac. Sacramento doesn’t have a first round pick in this year’s draft, although the Kings own three second-round selections: Nos. 40, 47 and 60 overall.
NBC Sports California confirmed that Stockton Kings head coach Ty Ellis and player development coach Bobby Jackson helped run the six-man workout. On Monday, ABC 10's Sean Cunningham reported that no new staff members conducted the workout.
Kings head coach Luke Walton present at the first day of pre-draft workouts in Sacramento on Monday. No new staff members working with players. Stockton Kings coach Ty Ellis, Bobby Jackson & other returning basketball ops staffers worked players out. pic.twitter.com/lRMuapWFGc— Sean Cunningham (@SeanCunningham) May 20, 2019
Houston guard Armoni Brooks was a late addition to the group Monday, as he most likely tests the draft waters prior returning to college for his senior season. At 6-foot-3, 196 pounds, Brooks improved in each of his first three seasons at the NCAA level. He posted 13.4 points and 6.3 rebounds per game and made 39 percent of his 3-point shots this season.
“Everytime you come to one of these workouts, we’re all really good players,” Brooks told reporters at the Kings facility (via ABC 10). “You’ve just got to find a way to impact the game in little ways - defense, rebounding, just doing the little things to separate yourself.”
Icelandic guard Jon Axel Gudmundsson is an intriguing prospect. Standing 6-foot-5, 190 pounds, he stuffed the stat sheet in his junior season at Davidson and posted 16.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game. He had a down shooting year from distance, hitting just 35.3 percent from 3-point range. But he shot 40.6 percent a year prior, so there is room for growth.
Despite growing up overseas, Gudmundsson has watched plenty of NBA games and even knows a little about the Kings.
“This year I feel like it was kind of their rising year,” Gudmundsson told reporters Monday. “I feel like they’re coming up, and I feel like next year is going to be a playoff team and they’ve got a bright future ahead of them.”
Kansas State small forward Xavier Sneed matched up with BYU's Yoeli Childs in the workout. Sneed posted modest numbers as a junior and is undersized for a three. Childs, meanwhile, averaged 21.2 points and 9.7 rebounds in his third college season.
“It’s awesome,” Childs told reporters Monday in Sacramento about the pre-draft process. “It’s so much fun. You’re so close to living the dream that you’ve had your whole life. I really try to not take a single moment for granted. I’m really feel just blessed to be here.”
Reggie Perry from Mississippi State and Kevin Samuels out of TCU provided the post play. Perry is the youngest of the lot at just 19 years old. He averaged 9.7 points and 7.2 rebounds per game in his lone NCAA season.
Samuels, 21, was the big body. Measuring in at 6-foot-11, 250 pounds, the Horned Frogs center posted a modest 7.4 points and 6.9 rebounds in 24.9 minutes per game this season.
Perry is the only player from the current group who was invited to the NBA Combine in Chicago. None of the six prospects are currently listed on most two-round mock drafts, but plenty can change in the next few weeks.
This is only the beginning for Sacramento. The Kings likely will hold multiple workouts like this over the next month while they build up to the NBA draft June 20 at Brooklyn's Barclays Center.