Here’s a look at four players Sacramento Kings could consider with No. 4 pick in NBA draft

·5 min read
Brynn Anderson/AP

With a little luck, the Kings moved up in the lottery Tuesday to secure the No. 4 pick in the NBA draft.

Kings general manager Monte McNair and his staff will be busy evaluating players in the weeks leading up to the draft, which will be held June 23 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The Kings could try to target the best player available or the player who best complements De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis, the two young cornerstones of Sacramento’s rebuild.

The first three picks in the draft are widely projected as the big three of Gonzaga center Chet Holmgren, Auburn power forward Jabari Smith and Duke power forward Paolo Banchero. If one of those players falls to No. 4, the Kings will have an opportunity to add another gifted young big man to a frontline that already features Sabonis.

If those players are off the board, the Kings will focus on what looks like a second tier of prospects that includes Purdue shooting guard Jaden Ivey, Iowa power forward Keegan Murray, Kentucky shooting guard Shaedon Sharpe and Duke small forward AJ Griffin.

Here’s a closer look at four players the Kings consider with the No. 4 pick in the draft.

Jaden Ivey, SG, 6-4/195, Purdue

Ivey, who just turned 20 in February, is ranked as the No. 1 shooting guard in the draft, according to Tankathon.com. He averaged 17.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 0.9 steals as a sophomore at Purdue, shooting 46% from the field, 35.8% from 3-point range and 74.4% at the free-throw line.

The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor draws comparisons to Donovan Mitchell, a “jumbo” Darius Garland and Victor Oladipo, describing Ivey as a “power guard with an elite first step and the kind of electric shot-making ability that could make him a star, but he needs to improve on defense.”

David Cobb of CBS Sports notes: “The way Ivey gets downhill and finishes in the paint and at the rim with a combination of athleticism and touch is reminiscent of Ja Morant,” but Ivey “lacks Morant’s distribution skills and is more of a shooting guard.”

Keegan Murray, PF, 6-8/225, Iowa

Murray, who will turn 22 in August, averaged 23.5 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.9 blocks, 1.3 steals and 1.5 assists while hitting 55.4% from the field, 39.8% from 3-point range and 74.7% at the free-throw line as a sophomore at Iowa.

His draft age might be a deterrent for some teams, but that probably isn’t true for the Kings, who want to win immediately after 16 consecutive losing seasons. Last year, they chose Davion Mitchell, who turned 23 before the start of his rookie season.

Murray is one of the players near the top of the draft who might complement both Fox and Sabonis. NBA Draft Room describes him as a “floor spacer and do-everything forward” who “doesn’t need the ball in his hands much to be effective,” adding: “Murray is a versatile defender who shows a lot of smarts and awareness on that end of the floor. He plays with great positioning and solid fundamentals and has enough mobility to step out and guard in space. He’s also a committed rebounder who works hard on the glass.”

Shaedon Sharpe, SG, 6-6/200, Kentucky

Sharpe joined the Wildcats at midseason after enrolling at Kentucky early. He never appeared in a game after choosing to focus on his development for next season, but he isn’t waiting to turn pro after going from a once-unranked high school prospect to the top of the draft boards.

Sharpe will be described as the “biggest mystery in the draft” over the next five weeks, but the Kings will have an opportunity to unravel that mystery through a series of workouts. They are getting a look at Sharpe this week at the NBA draft combine and will likely bring him to Sacramento for one or more in-person visits.

Bleacher Report points out Sharpe’s game has shades of Jalen Green, Paul George or a “tall” Bradley Beal, describing him as “an above-the-rim athlete who skies for dunks in space and blocks on the break. … With long arms and lateral quickness, he’s able to utilize his athleticism to get stops on the ball, help in the paint, and rack up deflections.”

Those words are music to Sacramento’s ears, but O’Connor also notes that Sharpe lacked big-game exposure in high school and college, so “the jump to the NBA will be both a major physical and mental challenge.”

AJ Griffin, SF, 6-6, 222, Duke

Griffin, 18, is the son of former NBA player Adrian Griffin, who has held assistant coaching jobs with the Milwaukee Bucks, Chicago Bulls, Orlando Magic, Oklahoma City Thunder and Toronto Raptors.

Griffin Jr. is a high-level 3-and-D wing prospect with a 7-foot wingspan and potential as more of a go-to-scorer. He averaged 10.4 points and 3.9 rebounds in 24 minutes per game as a freshman at Duke, shooting 49.3% from the field and 44.7% on 4.1 3-point attempts per game.

Griffin is an exceptional shooter and a powerfully built wing with good athleticism, defensive awareness and understanding of the game. He has tremendous potential as an elite shooter and multi-positional defender, but his development has been somewhat slowed after missing nearly two years due to knee and ankle injuries. The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie noted: “Griffin was a poor defender this season and had a lot of games where he wasn’t quite as visible as teams would like to see from a potential lottery pick. Additionally, he has had a few injury questions over the past year. Will he showcase more athletic explosiveness the further removed he gets from missing large parts of his final two high school seasons?”

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