Kings owner Vivek Ranadive, GM Monte McNair scout top draft prospects at pro day workouts

·3 min read
Chris Szagola/AP

Kings owner Vivek Ranadive and general manager Monte McNair were spotted in Southern California over the past few days at agency-led pro day workouts for some of the top prospects in the NBA draft.

The Kings have the No. 4 pick in the draft after moving up three spots in the lottery. They also have a pair of second-round picks at No. 37 and No. 49. The Kings will explore all options leading up to the draft. They could try to trade up, move back to acquire additional assets or package the pick in a larger deal to acquire an All-Star caliber player who complements De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis.

Ranadive and McNair attended a CAA pro day workout featuring Purdue shooting guard Jaden Ivey and Duke small forward AJ Griffin, both of whom are projected as top-10 picks. McNair was also seen in footage of a separate pro day workout in Santa Barbara that featured Arizona shooting guard Bennedict Mathurin, another player who could be taken in the top 10.

Ivey, 20, could be the best player available if the Kings stay at No. 4. He is the top-rated shooting guard in the draft and the fourth-ranked player on ESPN’s big board behind Gonzaga center Chet Holmgren, Auburn power forward Jabari Smith and Duke power forward Paolo Banchero.

At 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds with tremendous speed and leaping ability, Ivey might be the most explosive athlete in the draft. He averaged 17.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 31.4 minutes per game as a sophomore at Purdue, shooting 46% from the field and 35.8% from 3-point range.

Ivey has been described as the shooting guard version of Ja Morant, a player he idolized while his mother, Notre Dame women’s basketball coach Niele Ivey, was an assistant with the Memphis Grizzlies. The thought of Fox and Ivey pushing in transition and cutting off of Sabonis in the halfcourt is intriguing, but it’s also fair to wonder about fit and redundancy given the similarities between Fox and Ivey.

The Kings could also consider Griffin and Mathurin, particularly if they trade down in a deal with the Detroit Pistons at No. 5, the Indiana Pacers at No. 6, the Portland Trail Blazers at No. 7 or the New Orleans Pelicans at No. 8.

Griffin, 18, is a 6-6, 222-pound small forward with a 7-foot wingspan. He is considered the top player in the draft at his position despite missing two years in high school due to knee and ankle injuries.

Griffin possesses excellent size, strength and length with tremendous shooting ability. He averaged 10.4 points and 3.9 rebounds in 24.0 minutes per game in his first year at Duke while shooting 49.3% from the field, 44.7% from 3-point range at 79.2% at the free-throw line.

Mathurin, who will turn 20 on June 19, is a 6-6-, 205-pound shooting guard with a 6-9 wingspan. He averaged 17.7 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 32.5 minutes per game as a sophomore at Arizona. He shot 45% from the field, 36.9% from beyond the arc and 76.4% at the foul line.

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