With the NBA Draft taking place this coming Thursday, the Sacramento Kings find themselves in the somewhat unenviable position of having the fourth pick. We say unenviable because most people believe that the fourth pick will be the point at which the draft will really start. With Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith Jr., and Paolo Banchero the consensus top three picks, the fourth pick is where things will get interesting.
For this reason, there are many who believe that the Kings will end up trading the pick and save themselves from making a decision that could alter the franchise for years to come.
Why the Sacramento Kings shouldn’t trade the fourth pick in the NBA Draft
As easy as it can be to call the Kings a laughing stock, they do still have De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis. Those are two players with All-Star level talent, and adding a more experienced player while moving the fourth pick could get them back to the postseason. You know, a place they haven’t been since 2006.
So, there is a lot riding on the decision that the Kings make. If you look at it logically, though, this really isn’t a hard decision at all. The Kings have to keep this pick and go with either Jaden Ivey (despite some dicey enough comments on playing in Sacramento) or Keegan Murray.
If we assume Ivey is the guy to take, as many seem to believe he is at this stage, then there are three reasons to just go with him and figure everything else out later. The first is that he is really good. Obvious, of course, but he showed the kind of game at Purdue that should have the three teams above the Kings in the draft at least talking about what he would look like on their team.
Secondly, there seems to be this belief that because the Kings have Fox, drafting another guard would be a silly thing to do. It would also be the third draft in a row that the Kings have done just this in the lottery, having taken Davion Mitchell and Tyrese Haliburton in the two prior drafts. Haliburton had the potential to be the best of the lot, and he now plays for the Indiana Pacers.
But what people seem to forget is that the next disgruntled star is always around the next corner. Fox has been with the Kings since 2017, and other than averaging close to 30 points a game, he has done nothing else of note. Casual fans don’t know or care who he is, and individual accolades have not come his way either.
If Donovan Mitchell is apparently sick of not getting to where he wants to with the Utah Jazz, a team that routinely makes the playoffs and has had several strong regular seasons since 2017, then how fed up must Fox be? You draft Ivey now so that, if and when Fox forces a move away, you already have his replacement within the organization.
Ivey shouldn’t just be looked at as Fox insurance, though. If you squint long enough, he was doing a serviceable Ja Morant impression while at Purdue with his longish frame and above average athleticism. Fox has been great for the Kings, but at some point the conversation will turn to the fact he puts up big numbers, but that they don’t result in any sort of success for the franchise.
In reality, that conversation is already being had by some. Sometimes you have to lose a key piece in order to truly move forward, and whether it is Fox asking to leave or the Kings cashing in on his trade value, you get the feeling that he will not be part of the franchise in the long-term. Ivey next to Mitchell would be a fascinating backcourt tandem that would work well.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the Kings should just draft Ivey because they can always move him later if they don’t like what they see. Remember, this is the team that moved Haliburton, who many believed was off the table in trade talks because of how high his upside was. After less than two years in the league, he was the main player in a deal that got them a former All-Star in Sabonis.
So if Ivey shows even some promise, his value will go up around the league. We might live in a league saturated by guards at this point. But if you are good enough, you will still stand out. Situations change quickly, to the point where even organizations only a couple of years removed from the Finals could come calling about Ivey.
The only reason the Kings should entertain moving off the fourth pick is if one of the top three want to move down. That seems highly unlikely to happen, so they should just stay put, draft Ivey (or possibly Murray) and figure the rest out later. He will either be good enough to make Fox expendable, or be used to net some more talented and experienced guys down the road.