The NBA All-Star break is upon us and the Sacramento Kings find themselves in last place in the Western Conference. The Kings are 13.5 games out of the playoffs and would need to win 17 of their last 29 games just to get to .500. Therefore, at this point it is time to look towards the lottery chances for the Kings, as they will be drafting in the lottery for the eighth straight year. The good thing about being in the lottery this season is the fact that this draft class is considered one of the best in a long time. Some experts feel that five or six guys are potential All-Stars in this draft. Now as mentioned the Kings are sitting in last place in the West, but sadly the East is simply terrible, putting the Kings in the fourth spot in the lottery. In addition the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics are rumored to be ready to trade away some of their veterans for draft picks and expiring contracts. Therefore, the Kings could end up with anywhere from the first pick to the seventh pick. Let’s take a look at the two best options for the Kings in regards to the 2014 draft.
Joel Embiid, University of Kansas, Freshman. Embiid is considered by most to be the number one overall pick in the draft. He is seven foot center and is still learning the game of basketball. Embiid biggest strength is his defense, which is the greatest weakness for the Kings. He would be a great fit next to DeMarcus Cousins; the Kings would have their own twin towers. Now the only way the Kings get Embiid is if they get the first or second pick, so the chances are not great, but they do have a chance. I believe that Embiid would be a perfect fit for the Kings; he would raise the defense up that much right away. Furthermore he would take a lot of pressure off of Cousins to clean up the defensive mistakes of the rest of the team.
- Julius Randle, University of Kentucky, Freshman. Randle is the best power forward in the draft, and many believe he is the most “NBA”ready of all the draft picks. Randle is 6’ 9” power forward, who can play in the post. He like Embiid would be a great fit next to Cousins and Randle would be able to shoulder much of the post offense load. In addition, Randle would be able to match up with the other great power forwards in the West and help slow them down on the defense end.
Embiid and Randle are the best to fits for the Kings because the need to help down low next to Cousins. However, the chances that the Kings could end up with one of those two are not great as both are considered top three picks. Thanks goodness this draft is loaded with other talented players like Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins, Aaron Gordon, and Dante Exum.
Jabari Parker, University of Duke, Freshman. Parker has tons of offensive talent, he can shoot and post up at the forward position. Now at 6’ 8” and 240 pounds, Parker could play either forward position. Parker has a very high basketball IQ and will come in as a team leader. For the Kings, a selection of Parker would hinge on what happens with Rudy Gay. If they end up keeping Gay long term it would seem that Parker would not be the right pick.
Andrew Wiggins, University of Kanas, Freshman. Wiggins is a great athlete, and has started to show the type of player he can be with his play of late. Wiggins is listed as a shooting guard, but he is listed at 6’ 8” and could play small forward as well. Like Parker the selection of Wiggins depends on what happens with Gay, as they play the same position. Now Wiggins could be the answer at shooting guard if the Kings feel like Ben McLemore is not the long term answer.
Aaron Gordon, University of Arizona, Freshman. Gordon is not as skilled on the offensive end like Parker and Wiggins, but his defense is one of the best in the draft. He is a great athlete and has a very high motor. Like the other two players Gordon is listed at 6’ 8” and could play both forward positions. For the Kings he would play power forward and his rebounding ability along with his defense will be a welcome sight for Sacramento.
Dante Exum, Australia, 18 years old. Exum is considered the best point guard in the whole draft. He is 6’6” so he could play both guard positions. Exum is extremely quick with the ball and an excellent passer. Now if the Kings were to draft Exum he could play next to Isaiah Thomas at the shooting guard position. However, with the Kings having just drafted McLemore you would wonder if they would select Exum with other good players left on the board.
Now even with one of these players the only way the Kings make the playoffs in the upcoming years it will depend on the development of other players. The main player is McLemore; he has the athletic and scoring ability to be the shooting guard the Kings need to complete in the West. Furthermore, they have to find a way to play better defense, and unfortunately it falls on coach Mike Malone to figure that out. If he cannot do that, the Kings will be looking for another coach in the next couple of seasons.
Slam Dunk Contest
I am actually really excited for the Slam Dunk Contest Saturday night, for the first time in a long time they have players participating who are household names. That being said, if McLemore can pull off this contest it will help him with his confidence and he should become the player many thought he could be. McLemore has been rumored to be trying a 720 dunk tonight and if he pulls it off he will win for sure. So keep a close eye on the contest tonight it could be historic.