Kings

Kings fill biggest need, select PG Fox No. 5 overall in 2017 NBA Draft

Kings fill biggest need, select PG Fox No. 5 overall in 2017 NBA Draft

SACRAMENTO -- Patience is a virtue. The Sacramento Kings showed great restraint over the last few weeks, turning down opportunities to move up in the 2017 NBA Draft to select the player they have targeted. Instead of giving away the fifth and tenth overall selection to move into the top three, they held tight and Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox fell to them at No. 5.
 
Fox instantly fills the team’s biggest need. With both Darren Collison and Ty Lawson entering the summer as unrestricted free agents and veteran Langston Galloway opting out of the final year of his contract, Fox becomes the Kings lone player at the point. 
 
The 19-year-old freshman posted big numbers in his lone season with the Wildcats, posting 16.7 points, 4.6 assists and 4.0 rebounds in 29.6 minutes per game. He struggled from long distance, shooting just 24.6 percent from 3-point range, but he is considered the fastest player in the draft. 
 
At 6-foot-3 with a 6-foot-6.5 wingspan, Fox is a tenacious defender that projects as a high-end two-way player. 
 
With Fox in tow, the Kings have filled one opening and they still have both the 10th pick and an early second rounder to add to the roster. 

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

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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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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.