Kings

Source: Kings looking at 'multiple options to make our team better'

Source: Kings looking at 'multiple options to make our team better'

It’s been almost two weeks since the Sacramento Kings jumped from the potential seventh overall selection, all the way up to No. 2. The unexpected boost in good fortune has set off a flurry of conversation about what the Kings might do with the pick.

It’s in an enviable position. The 2018 NBA Draft has plenty of talent, especially in the top five. Barring a seismic move that sees the Kings moving out of the top end of the draft, there is potential to land a much needed star.

Sacramento has time to mull over potential offers, research players and make a decision they believe will benefit the franchise long term. After multiple conversations, it appears the team is taking an open minded approach as to which player they will select.

“This is a draft with a handful of elite talents at the top,” a team source told NBC Sports California. “That presents multiple options to make our team better.”

Options are a good thing. Or at least they can be. Phoenix will dictate the opening of the action. They are expected to keep the No. 1 overall selection and Deandre Ayton is the likely choice. After that pick, things might get interesting.

Option 1 - Go with the Flow
There are plenty of NBA experts that believe that Slovenian guard/forward Luka Doncic is the second best player in the upcoming draft. Sacramento spent plenty of time during the season scouting the 19-year-old and a source confirms that they had multiple representatives in attendance at the EuroLeague Final Four.

He’s the most decorated European prospect to come along in decades, winning the European League’s Rising Star award the last two seasons to go with this season’s league MVP and Finals MVP awards.

Doncic has the basketball IQ and playmaking ability to step in and help in Year One. He’s an accomplished player with years of experience playing professionally in Europe. Like Bogdan Bogdanovic last year, Doncic has played non-stop for the last 19 months and is going to need a break this summer.

This might be the safe pick for Sacramento, unless Ayton unexpectedly falls. If Doncic can stick at the small forward position, he instantly fills the team’s biggest need and despite his age, he can step in on Day 1 and play major minutes.

Option 2 - Go Big
This isn’t an Ayton/Doncic or bust situation. There are three big men slated to go near the top of the draft that are intriguing. Marvin Bagley III out of Duke is the most accomplished offensive weapon of the group. Michigan State’s Jaren Jackson Jr. projects as a high-end two-way player with major upside and Mo Bamba out of the University of Texas is raw offensive player with incredible shot-blocking abilities.

The Kings have plenty of bigs, but Bagley, Jackson and Bamba are intriguing prospects. With Willie Cauley-Stein, Kosta Koufos and Zach Randolph all entering a contract year and questions remaining about Skal Labissiere and Harry Giles, Sacramento might be in the market for a big in the near future.

Option 3 - The Gamble
The Kings are very high on Michael Porter Jr. Coming into the 2018 season, he was considered a potential top overall selection, but an early season back surgery wiped out all but three games of his freshman season at Missouri.

Porter fits the team’s biggest need, sliding right into the starting lineup at the small forward position. At 6’-10.75” with a 7-foot wingspan, he has incredible size for the three and he has the athleticism to slide over and play a stretch four.

He’ll need a clean bill of health if he’s going second overall, but don’t be shocked if the Kings take a long look.

Option 4 - Move Down
If Sacramento could move down a few spots in the draft, land the player they want and add a piece or two, that would be ideal. The issue with this plan is that the teams in the top six don’t exactly have a lot to offer in way of trade.

Atlanta appears to be fine sitting at No. 3 and selecting Bagley or Jackson. They have three first round selections this year, a couple of intriguing young players and a top 10 protected Cleveland Cavaliers pick in 2019. They also have plenty of holes to fill in their roster.

The Grizzlies owe a protected 2019 pick to the Boston Celtics. It’s top eight protected in a year, top six protected in 2020 and unprotected in 2021, meaning Memphis can’t offer a first round selection until 2023. In addition, Memphis is void of young prospects that would help the Kings in their quest to improve their roster.

Dallas has a 2019 pick and they also have the ability to take on a contract if the Kings want to clear up some cap space. Like Atlanta, they have plenty of holes to fill in their roster, but this is one of the few trade down partners that might work if the Kings actively shop the pick.

Orlando has the sixth overall selection and a 2019 first round pick, but this might be too far for the Kings to move down. Sacramento would love to get their hands on a player like Jonathan Isaac, but it’s highly unlikely the Magic would use the 20-year-old forward to move up four spots in the draft.

Option 5 - Move Out
It would take a once in a lifetime offer from a team to get the Kings to move out of the No. 2 overall selection and drop out of the top five or six picks in this year’s draft. If a young star becomes available, the Kings would have to kick the idea around, but barring something mind blowing, this option is pretty limited.

There are potential franchise changing players at the top of this draft and Sacramento has an opportunity to change their stars with one pick. They can play it safe, add a big for the future, take a gamble or make a deal. The Kings have options, but whatever path they choose, they need to get it right.

Kings vs. Nets watch guide: Lineups, injury report, player usage

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AP

Kings vs. Nets watch guide: Lineups, injury report, player usage

Fresh off a wild come from behind victory over the Detroit Pistons on Saturday, the Sacramento Kings get back to action Monday in a Martin Luther Kings Jr. Day matinee versus the Brooklyn Nets.

Buddy Hield lifted the Kings over the Pistons with a stunning 3-pointer at the buzzer, giving Sacramento a 103-101 victory. Hield dropped in 15 of his team-high 35 points in the final 3:53 of the fourth quarter.

Like Sacramento, the Nets are surprising teams around the league with their gritty play. Brooklyn's won three straight, including victories over the Celtics, Rockets and Magic.

D'Angelo Russell is having a breakout season for the Nets, posting 19 points a game as the team's starting point guard. Spencer Dinwiddie is providing the punch off the bench, averagin 17.1 points per game in a reserve role.

Kings Pregame Live on NBC Sports California begins at 12:00 p.m., with tipoff scheduled for 12:30. All coverage can be seen on the MyTeams by NBC Sports app.

Sacramento continues their six-game road trip on Tuesday with a back-to-back against the first place Toronto Raptors. They'll hit Memphis on Friday and finish off the trip Sunday with a stop in Los Angeles.

Line

Nets +3

Projected Lineups

Kings

PG De’Aaron Fox
SG Buddy Hield
SF Iman Shumpert
PF Nemanja Bjelica
C Willie Cauley-Stein

Nets

PG D'Angelo Russell
SG Joe Harris
SF Treveon Graham
PF Rodions Kuruks
C Jarrett Allen

Injury Report

Kings 

No injuries to report.

Nets

SG Allen Crabbe (knee) out, SF Caris Lavert (foot) out, SF Chris Dudley (hamstring) out, SG Dzanan Musa (shoulder) out.

Rotation Outlook

Kings: The cardiac Kings continue to shock the league with their pace and style of play. Coach Dave Joerger's group is sixth in the league in scoring, averaging 114 points per game. They've made improvements on the defensive side of the ball, but they are still a work in progress.

Rookie Marvin Bagley started in the second half of the team's win over the Pistons, giving the team a glimpse into the near future. The 19-year-old scored 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting and grabbed two rebounds in 27 minutes of action.

[RELATED: NBA trade deadline 2019: Six early targets for playoff-hungry Kings]

Hield continues to pace the team in scoring at 20.5 points per game. In the month of January, the third-year shooting guard is averaging 23.4 points on 53.6 percent shooting from the field and 56.1 percent shooting from long range.

Nets: Brooklyn hit the reboot button a few years back hoping to rebuild their culture and talent base. They've shown massive improvement this season and currently sit in the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference standings at 24-23.

Kenny Atkinson's group doesn't blow you away statistically. They rank 16th in the league in scoring and 21st in points allowed. They play at the NBA's 20th slowest pace and sit near the bottom of the league in steals and blocks.

The Nets love to hoist 3-pointers, averaging 34.5 attempts per game. They hit 36.3 percent from long range, which is good enough for seventh in the league.

Did Buddy Hield double dribble on Kings' buzzer-beater against Pistons?

Did Buddy Hield double dribble on Kings' buzzer-beater against Pistons?

Buddy Hield gets buckets. On Saturday in Detroit, he drained one he'll never forget, heaving in an acrobatic 3-pointer to give the Kings a 103-101 win over the Pistons at the buzzer. 

"As a kid, you always dream of hitting one of those types of shots, especially at a high level like this," Hield told reporters after the game. "It’s something I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.”

But did perhaps the most memorable shot of his NBA career come with controversy? It depends on who you ask. 

Is Blake Griffin right? Let's take another look at the shot. 

“I lost the ball,” Hield said to The Athletic's Sam Amick. “I didn’t have possession of the ball. I just tried to catch it, and I lost it. It’s whatever. It counts as a win, so we’ll take it.”

Whether you believe it was a double dribble or not, Hield's right -- it counts as a win, and now the Kings (24-22) are only a half game behind the Clippers (24-21) for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference standings.