The Sacramento Kings have been no stranger to the draft lottery in recent years, it’s become a seemingly annual tradition to gather up our hopes around the potential surrounding a handful of young prospects that could pull the team to the promised land.
More often than not, we the fans are let down in this endeavor.
However, this year’s draft seems to sport a number of interesting prospects that could make an immediate impact in the NBA. Headlined by Cade Cunningham, the 2021 crop of draft picks look to make a statement and be one of the better classes in recent memory.
The Sacramento Kings drafted Davion Mitchell with the No. 9 overall pick before selecting Neemias Queta with No. 39 overall. Now that we’ve had some time (and a surprising trade) to think things over, here goes A Royal Pain’s official draft grades for the 2021 NBA Draft.
The Sacramento Kings have selected Davion Mitchell and Neemias Queta in this year’s draft, but was it the right move to make?
This selection was initially met with a wave of criticism, particularly due to the fact Davion Mitchell had not engaged in advanced talks with the Sacramento Kings prior to the draft. In fact, it appears he may not have even had a scheduled workout with the team.
While this pick seems to have been just as much of a surprise to Mitchell as it was to fans, I’m not quite as skeptical of the pick as others have judged. After redshirting his second season in college, Mitchell scored 14.0 points per game on 51.1 percent shooting from the field and 44.7 percent shooting from three-point range. Additionally, Mitchell dished out 5.5 assists per game.
Mitchell is an excellent perimeter defender while also being a capable slasher, sharpshooter, and playmaker. Many Kings fans had hoped for a starting-caliber player to be drafted to Sacramento, and I believe Mitchell is just that. He just won’t get that opportunity right away behind De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton.
After the Luka Doncic fiasco, I am a strong believer in selecting the best player available over fit. Whether or not he was the best player available is a worthy debate, but Mitchell was comfortably in the top three of most expert’s best remaining lists. Fortunately, the recent Delon Wright trade bodes well for his potential playtime, with a Buddy Hield trade in the works only serving to further that opportunity for Mitchell in Sacramento.
Heading into the 2021 NBA Draft, Marvin Bagley was the only big man still holding a guaranteed contract with the Kings. Sacramento desperately needed to address their need for affordable frontcourt depth, and I believe they made the right decision here.
Neemias Queta was considered the best big man remaining on the board by many, and was solidly projected to be taken in the early second round by most experts. Queta is a rim-running big with a talent for shot-blocking that draws comparisons to Daniel Gafford, who has overperformed in the NBA after being selected No. 38 overall in the 2019 NBA Draft.
Queta averaged a double-double of 14.9 points and 101. rebounds per game in his third season at Utah State. Queta is the first-ever Portuguese player to make it to the NBA, so hopefully, he carries that chip on his shoulder and can assist in re-establishing the tough culture this team has been sorely missing for a few years now.
We can likely expect to see many more acquisitions and trades in the coming weeks, so it’s hard to pinpoint just how good of a fit Mitchell and Queta will serve with this roster, but I feel confident that the best player available approach will yield a good haul for the Sacramento Kings this summer.