With No. 2 pick, Kings can draft a franchise player


With No. 2 pick, Kings can draft a franchise player

The basketball gods shined brightly down on the city of Sacramento Tuesday evening. Defying the odds, the Kings moved up in the NBA Draft for one of the few times in their franchise history, climbing from the seventh overall selection to No. 2 overall.

Sacramento came into the night with just a six percent chance of moving up to the second pick. But when the Chicago Bulls’ card was turned over at the seventh spot, the excitement level in amongst Kings fans went through the roof.

When the Atlanta Hawks pulled the third pick, the Kings were guaranteed a top-two selection in what many experts believe is a two man race for the top overall pick.

"We couldn’t be more thrilled to secure the second selection in this deep and talented draft class,” general manager Vlade Divac said via press release. “We are well positioned moving ahead and look forward to continuing to develop and improve our team.”

Arizona big man DeAndre Ayton is considered an early favorite for the top spot, but Slovenian sharpshooter, Luka Doncic, isn’t done playing overseas and has plenty of time to unseat the 7-footer. 

What does all of this mean for the Sacramento Kings? It’s early in the process, but they have a legitimate opportunity to select a franchise-altering player. 

Ayton is a beast in the post. At 7-foot-1, 250-pounds, the 19 year-old center is built like Hall of Fame big man David Robinson. He has an advanced offensive game, including the ability to shoot from the perimeter. In his lone season in the Pac-12, he averaged 20.1 points and 11.6 rebounds per game. 

He will take a year or two to develop at the NBA level, especially on the defensive end, but Ayton is a starter on day one and has superstar potential. 

While Ayton has an NBA body, Doncic is a versatile player that can see time at the point guard, shooting guard and small forward positions. He has an incredible basketball IQ and has played professionally for years in Europe. 

At 19 years old, Doncic would step in and instantly start at the wing for Sacramento alongside De’Aaron Fox and Bogdan Bogdanovic. He can shoot, handle the ball and create for others. He lacks elite lateral quickness, which will hurt him on the defensive end, but like Bogdanovic, he is a solid team defender with an advanced understanding of the game.

Sacramento comes into the offseason with roughly $20 million to spend in free agency and a roster filled with young players on the rise. With a lot of luck in the lottery, they now have the opportunity to add a star-level player to their core with the second overall selection. 

The ping pong balls have spoken. Be it Ayton or Doncic, the Kings are in a position to potentially add a franchise player. It’s a good day to be a Kings fan. 

Divac explains why Bagley over Doncic was an 'easy choice' for Kings

Divac explains why Bagley over Doncic was an 'easy choice' for Kings

SACRAMENTO -- Deliberate. Calculated. Secretive. The Sacramento Kings held the NBA in suspense throughout the 2018 NBA Draft process. It wasn’t until Thursday morning that anyone knew for sure what Vlade Divac and his group were going to do and even then, there was a possibility of a last minutes swap.

With the second overall pick the Kings selected Duke big man, Marvin Bagley III. According to Divac, Sacramento focused on the 19-year-old leaper early in the draft process.

“He’s a guy who works hard, wants to improve, learn, coachable, good teammate, checks all the boxes of what we want,” Divac said.

Bagley tore up the ACC in his lone season as a Blue Devil and has been vocal about his want to be the first overall selection. He reiterated that desire on his post draft phone call with Sacramento media members on Thursday.

“That’s just the kind of player I am, I have confidence in my game,” Bagley said. “I still think I’m the best player in the draft and I stand by that. I put a lot of work into it and I’m glad I’ll be able to show it with Sacramento and I’m super excited.”

With Bagley in tow, the Kings now have six big men, including veterans Zach Randolph and Kosta Koufos, as well as young players Willie Cauley-Stein, Skal Labissiere and Harry Giles. It’s a crowded frontline that Divac will need to adress, or maybe not.

“He can play small forward,” Divac said of Bagley. “He can play 3, 4 and 5. Marvin’s a unique talent. He can play multiple positions.”

[RELATED: How Marvin Bagley fits with Kings]

Whether or not Bagley can play the wing is unknown at this time. He played primarily at the power forward and center position at Duke. At 6-foot-11, 234 pounds, he is a lean athlete and he shot nearly 40 percent from behind the 3-point line last season.

Much to the ire of plenty of Kings fans, Sacramento’s front office passed on Slovenian star, Luka Doncic. When asked about the decision, Divac made it clear where his group ranked Bagley.

"Marvin, for us is better fit, better player. Great talent. So it was an easy choice for us," Divac said.

Bagley will land in Sacramento Friday morning. The Kings will introduce him to fans during Music in the Park at Cesar Chavez Plaza at 5pm.

He will meet with the media on Saturday for his introductory press conference and according to Divac, fans won’t have to wait long to see him in action. The plan is for Bagley to see action in both Sacramento and Las Vegas summer league tournaments beginning in early July.

Kings trade No. 37 overall selection in 2018 NBA Draft for two future second-round picks


Kings trade No. 37 overall selection in 2018 NBA Draft for two future second-round picks

SACRAMENTO -- With all of the fanfare focused on Marvin Bagley III, the Sacramento Kings snuck in another Duke Blue Devil with the 37th overall selection, taking guard Gary Trent Jr. with their second round pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.

Moments later, it was announced that they had a deal in place to ship Trent to the Portland Trail Blazers for two future second round selections.

With eight players on rookie scale contracts already on the roster, plus the addition of Bagley, the Kings were expected to move off of their second-round selection this season. 

Trent, 19, averaged 14.5 points and 4.2 rebounds a game as a freshman this season for Duke. He is the son of former Trail Blazers big man, Gary Trent.