The NBA Draft is just three days away and the Sacramento Kings could use help in a lot of areas. They still don’t have a big man to complement DeMarcus Cousins, they still don’t know if Tyreke Evans is coming back and they don’t have an especially deep bench. Really, there’s no position they could look to in the draft that wouldn’t improve their team just a little bit. But one always-intriguing area is the point guard spot. This is as an area where the Kings have had a fair amount of trouble in recent years. Evans was drafted in the hope that he would become a great point guard, but that was abandoned after two years or so. Jimmer Fredette played the point in college, but the Kings quickly realized that unlike Stephen Curry, Fredette’s skills at the 1 did not translate to the NBA. Lately, Isaiah Thomas — the final pick in the 2011 draft — has taken over as the starting point guard and has done a solid, if unspectacular job. Still, the league is becoming increasingly point-guard dominated and the Kings could certainly stand to improve in this area. So, should they spend their first-round pick on a potential point guard of the future?
It may depend on who is available. The two best point guards in this draft are Trey Burke of Michigan and Michael Carter-Williams of Syracuse. Either one would be a solid lottery pick, but based on what each player did in college, Burke wold likely be the preferable option. He was the superior scorer and looks the most ready to lead a team straight out of college. Whether or not Burke is available when the Kings select at No. 7 is intriguing. Of the teams picking before the Kings, many of them are secure at the point guard spot. The Cleveland Cavaliers are locked in with Kyrie Irving for the next decade, while the Washington Wizards have seen John Wall finally start living up to his potential. The Orlando Magic — picking No. 2 — are a bit of a wild card. Jameer Nelson has been their point guard for the better part of a decade, but he’s getting older and his production has dipped well below the All-Star level of 2008-09. Many suspect that the Magic will select Kansas shooting guard Ben McLemore, but the possibility of them making a slight reach and going for Burke can’t be ignored. He would make a great successor to Nelson.
If the Magic don’t select Burke, the odds are fairly high that he will be on the board when the Kings make their pick. Some have floated the possibility of the New Orleans Pelicans taking him with the No. 6 pick, but after the excellent season Greivis Vasquez has, it seems unlikely they would go for a point guard when they have bigger holes to plug. A small forward like Shabazz Muhammad or Anthony Bennett (if he can play the 3) would make more sense. This means there is a strong chance of Burke being available when the Kings make their pick, and if he is, they would be wise to select him. Thomas is a solid player, but he’s not a franchise point guard and he can’t hang with other young talents like Irving, Wall and Damian Lillard. Burke has the potential to be an All-Star and to add some much-needed potency to the Kings offense. He is a great scorer and the thought of him working the pick-and-roll with Cousins is certainly intriguing. Burke is the type of player who could alter the fortunes of the lowly Kings and turn them into a playoff team once again.
If he is off the board when the Kings make their selection, things get trickier. Carter-Williams is a solid player im his own right and he might still be an improvement over Thomas, but he’s not as electric as Burke and might not be as ready to start right away. He wouldn’t be a terrible choice by any means, but if Burke is gone, the Kings may want to look another position, specifically the small forward spot, where they still have some questions (such as: Is Marcus Thornton going to be a King in the long-term?). Muhammad would be a solid pick to give them some scoring, while Bennett would be intriguing due to his ability to play the 3 or the 4. They could team him with Cousins and create a formidable pair of big men or play him at the 3, giving them one of the biggest lineups in the league.
A new point guard should be Sacramento’s highest priority, but they have holes at several areas and they may look to simply take the best player who is available. Trey Burke would be a great pick who could improve the Kings right away and create tons of excitement among the fan base. Michael Carter-Williams would be a solid backup plan, but if they just want to grab a great player, Muhammad or Bennett should both be taken into consideration. The Kings have a ton of holes and looking just about anywhere might help them, but point guard is a huge problem area for them and fixing that on draft day would certainly be a logical way to go.