A guard? A big? Here’s who the Sacramento Kings could take in the draft

·4 min read
Frank Franklin II/AP

With the fourth pick of the 2022 NBA Draft, the Sacramento Kings select ...

How to fill in that blank is paramount to how the Kings can improve a talent-thin roster. The King have to nail this draft, unlike the swing-and-miss selection in 2018, when they took Marvin Bagley over you-know-who in the 2018 draft. The Kings found a keeper in last season’s draft, tabbing defensive-minded guard Davion Mitchell with the ninth pick out of Baylor.

The Kings’ roster also features two cornerstone pieces in floor-leader guard De’Aaron Fox and forward/center Domantas Sabonis, a two-time All-Star from his Indiana Pacers days who represented Sacramento on Tuesday night at the NBA Draft Lottery. Another vital player could go a long way in ending the longest NBA postseason drought in history — 16 seasons and counting.

Here’s a peek at whom the Kings could pick, and we’ll put all the top prospects here because the draft is not always a sure thing:

Jabari Smith

School: Auburn

Position: Forward

Height/weight: 6-10, 220 pounds

Last season’s numbers: 16.9 points, 7.4 rebounds

The Skinny: Smith played just one college season, but he is considered the top shooting power forward in the college game, and he can score in transition or off pick and rolls, and he’s powerful, likely meaning the Kings won’t have a shot at him.

Paolo Banchero

School: Duke

Position: Forward

Height/weight: 6-foot-10, 250 pounds

Last season’s numbers: 17.2 points, 7.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists.

The skinny: The Kings would kiss the ground, heaven and earth if this versatile big lasted to the fourth pick. He won’t. Didn’t mean to tease you.

Chet Holmgren

School: Gonzaga

Position: Center

Height/weight: 7-foot, 200 pounds

Last season’s numbers: 14.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, 3.7 blocks.

The Skinny: Yes, Holmgren is every bit long and skinny, but he is also skilled with deceptive physicality with instincts and a desire to block shots. It would be a gift if Holmgren slips to four.

Jaden Ivey

School: Purdue

Position: Guard

Height/weight: 6-4, 195 pounds

Last season’s numbers: 17.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists.

The Skinny: The driving force behind Purdue’s Sweet 16 March Madness run, Ivey is this draft’s top guard prospect with a 6-9 wingspan. But the Kings have two guards in place in Fox and Mitchell. Find a way, right? Ivey is perhaps the top athlete in this class, a quick first step with the power to blast through defenders.

Shaedon Sharpe

School: Kentucky

Position: Forward

Height/weight: 6-6, 200 pounds

Last season’s numbers: None (read below)

The Skinny: This is the draft’s question mark, a superb athlete from Canada who committed to Kentucky but sat out the season and did not play. He’s draft eligible because his high school class graduated before this NBA season. He can create shots, he’s a leaper, but how good is he? Can the Kings afford to gamble here?

Keegan Murray

School: Iowa

Position: Forward

Height/weight: 6-9, 220 pounds

Last season’s numbers: 23 points, 8.1 rebounds.

The Skinny: He’s skilled, prolific, an inside finisher, and he’s strong. Just might fit the bill.

Jeremy Sochan

School: Baylor

Position: Forward

Height/weight: 6-9, 230 pounds

Last season’s numbers: 9.2 points, 6.4 rebounds

The Skinny: Sochan’s hook is his ability to score inside and to defend multiple positions, and he is known for his timing and instincts. The concern is shooting, but one can learn to shoot.

Bennedict Mathurin

School: Arizona

Position: Wing

Height/weight: 6-6, 210 pounds

Last season’s numbers: 18 points, 6.1 rebounds

The Skinny: The Pac-12 Player of the Year in his lone collegiate campaign, Mathurin is a shooter, and the NBA is all about shooting. The more he improves as a ball-handler, the more defenses will fret.

Adrian Griffin Jr.

School: Duke

Position: Forward

Height/weight: 6-6, 225 pounds

Last season’s numbers: He has an NBA body with a 7-foot wingspan, and is a terrific 3-point shooter. But can he guard fellow forwards?

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