Kings

Tacko Fall highlights six NBA draft prospects to roll through Sacramento

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AP

Tacko Fall highlights six NBA draft prospects to roll through Sacramento

SACRAMENTO -- Cat stuck in a tree? Smoke alarm battery running low? Need someone to wash the middle of the roof of your car? Tacko Fall has you covered.

Imagine walking through life never needing a step stool and having to watch out for ceiling fans in every room you visit. At 7-foot-7 with an 8-foot-2.25 wingspan, Fall grasps the rim standing flat footed.

One of the largest prospects to ever measure at the NBA combine, the 23-year-old center out of the University of Central Florida dropped by Sacramento as part of the Kings’ fourth six -man work out of the week.

“I feel like teams already have an identity of what I can do, they have seen me a lot,” Fall said. “It’s just me being more consistent with what I do, running up and down the floor, being great defensively and that’s what I can bring to any team.”

Fall put up solid numbers in his four years with the Knights. He finished his senior season averaging 11.1 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.6 blocks in 24.9 minutes per game under head coach Johnny Dawkins.

The giant out of Dekar, Senegal shot an incredible 74.8 percent from the field in his final, collegiate season, although he struggled from the free throw line, knocking down just 36.2 percent from the stripe.

“Big dude, big physical presence,” Duke big man Marques Bolden said. “I kind of knew what to expect coming in today.”

Fall and Bolden faced off in the NCAA tournament, with Duke coming away with a narrow 77-76 victory to advance to the Sweet 16. Fall out performed Bolden in the contest, posting 15 points, six rebounds and three blocks.

Bolden is still deciding whether he will stay in school for another year. He played with both Harry Giles and Marvin Bagley during his time at Duke and there’s a chance he’ll return for his senior year with Coach K.

For the rest of the players at the workout, playing with Fall was a new experience.

“Fun, Fun, I’ve never played with someone 7-7 or 7-6,” Amir Hinton out of Shaw University said. “He’s huge. All you have to do is throw the ball to the rim and he’s going to catch it. I had fun, I enjoyed that.”

Playing at a Division II college, Hinton is a rarity in the workout process. He skipped the AAU experience, instead choosing to earn his stripes as a street baller in Philadelphia. He posted huge numbers at Shaw, earning DII All-American honors while averaging 29.4 points per game for the Bears.

Iowa State’s Nick Weiler-Babb is an experienced player after four seasons at the NCAA level. He’s a big guard that held his own in the Big 12 and he had a unique take on playing against Fall.

“In the league, everybody is tall, everybody is athletic,” guard Iowa State Nick Weiler-Babb said of playing against Fall. “It just gives you a little preview of what you’re going up against. Tacko’s a good player. He’s not clumsy, nothing like that. He knows what he’s doing. He’s good with his feet. It’s good to go against a guy like that.”

Myles Powell from Seton Hall had the honor of following Fall in the media sessions. While the camera guys adjusted their tripods back to normal level, the junior point guard showed a maturity and confidence that you don’t often see during the interview process.

“You’ve never really been around someone that big, let alone on the basketball court with them,” Powell said. “Going through this process, about ready to be in the NBA, it’s always good to get a good body like that on the floor with you.”

After posting 23.1 points per game last season in the Big East, Powell has a huge decision in front of him. With just days to choose whether to return for his senior season or stay in the draft, workouts like the one in Sacramento are extremely important to gain valuable feedback.

Senior Jalen Hudson doesn’t have the option of going back to school before the May 29 deadline. Coming off a rough shooting season at Florida, he was looking to impress NBA scouts with the hopes of continuing his basketball career.

“I’m just trying to show people that I can shoot it really well, that I have confidence that I can really play at this level,” Hudson said. “Obviously numbers are kind of a big thing, but really when you can come in here and show off, that says a lot too.”

[RELATED: How NCAA rules change Kings' evaluation process]

Of all the players that came through Sacramento on Thursday, Fall is the lone player that is listed on some draft boards and even he is expected to go in then late second round.

The Kings have picks No. 40, 47 and 60 to work with and are looking for a few diamonds in the rough. They’ve hosted 24 prospects this week, many of which will return to the college level next season.

De'Aaron Fox finishes third in NBA's Most Improved Player Award voting

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USATSI

De'Aaron Fox finishes third in NBA's Most Improved Player Award voting

After a breakout second season with the Sacramento Kings, De’Aaron Fox finished in third place in his bid for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award Monday evening as part of the league’s postseason award show.

The Kings' starting point guard was one of three finalists for the award, but Toronto's Pascal Siakam took home the trophy after posting a big season for the Raptors. Nets' All-Star point guard D'Angelo Russell finished second in voting.

Fox, 21, turned heads not just with his numbers, but with his ability to win with the Kings. Sacramento showed a 10-game improvement over the previous season and picked up their most victories since the 2005-06 season. It wasn't enough for Fox to take home the trophy.

The Kings missed the playoffs for a thirteenth consecutive season, but they are a team on the rise and Fox is the centerpiece of their rebuild.

After posting 11.6 points, 4.4 assists and 2.8 rebounds in his rookie campaign, Fox improved to 17.3 points, 7.9 assists and 3.8 rebounds in his sophomore season.

Selected with the No. 5 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Fox improved in almost every facet of the game, including his 3-point shooting. He jumped from 30.7 percent in Year 1 to 37.1 percent in Year 2.

[RELATED: Examining Kings' roster before free agency]

Sacramento has designed their entire offense around Fox and they intend to continue that trend in the coming seasons.

Siakam had a great season for the Raptors, finishing the year averaging 16.9 points and 6.9 rebounds in his third NBA season. He was a huge part of Toronto's success this season, which culminated in the team's first NBA Championship.

NBA free agency 2019: Examining Kings' current roster construction

NBA free agency 2019: Examining Kings' current roster construction

The 2019 NBA Draft is over and now the real work begins for the Sacramento Kings. They have massive holes to fill in their roster and a Brinks truck full of cash to spend.

Free agency begins June 30, although no one can officially sign until July 6. Teams around the league are lining up for big fish like Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, Khris Middleton, Kevin Durant, Tobias Harris, Jimmy Butler and Al Horford.

Sacramento is an up-and-coming team with a solid core and a play style that should be attractive to free agents. Whether they can land a big fish is still in question, but they have the cash to be a player.

Long-term flexibility is still a priority, but adding a major piece or two is a necessity at this point with the improvements throughout the Western Conference.

Cap Space 

$60.8 million (with seven minimum scale -- 7 x $900,000 = $6.3 million) cap holds and without the contracts of Yogi Ferrell, Frank Mason and three second-round selections

Current Roster

(Guaranteed contracts): De’Aaron Fox ($6.4 million), Buddy Hield ($4.9 million), Bogdan Bogdanovic ($8.5 million), Marvin Bagley ($8.6 million), Nemanja Bjelica ($6.8 million), Harry Giles ($2.6 million), Caleb Swanigan ($2 million)

Options: Yogi Ferrell ($3.2 million team option July 4), Frank Mason ($1.6 million team option Oct. 15)

Free Agents: Kosta Koufos (UFA -- $16.6 million cap hold), Willie Cauley-Stein (projected RFA -- $6.3 million qualifying offer, $14.1 million cap hold), Alec Burks (UFA -- $17.3 million cap hold), Harrison Barnes (UFA -- $32.7 million cap hold), Corey Brewer (UFA -- $2.4 million cap hold)

Dead Money: Matt Barnes ($2.1 million)

Roster Space: Without counting any of the three second-round selections, the King' roster currently stands at seven, but that number could grow to nine if they pick up the team options on both Yogi Ferrell and Frank Mason.

Needs: Center, Small Forward, Defenders, Overall Depth

Trade Chips

In past season, the Kings have had at least a few veteran players on expiring contracts. That is not the case this year. If they are going to improve their roster, it has to come through free agency or as a soft landing spot for a salary dump.

If the team extends a qualifying offer to Willie Cauley-Stein, they can possibly facilitate a sign-and-trade, but there is limited value in this scenario. The team could also dip into their young core, but that seems unlikely at this point.

Expectations

The Kings have holes to fill and this is a strong free-agent class. Vlade Divac has to dip his toe in Tier 1 and Tier 2 of the group, even if that means overpaying or swinging and missing.

He also needs to get on the phone and see if he can improve his team by taking on a significant contract from a team that is either over the luxury threshold or in need of a reboot.

[RELATED: 10 options to replace Willie Cauley-Stein in free agency, trade]

Last summer the team took a cautious approach to free agency. That cannot be the team’s approach this year.

The Western Conference has loaded up. Teams like the Lakers and Jazz have already made significant strides forward. If the Kings hope to compete for a playoff spot, they need help and they need it now.