The Sacramento Kings are only focused on this season right now and rightfully so. They are on the cusp of their first playoff appearance since 2006, so playing meaningful basketball at this time of the season is refreshing for both the franchise and the fan base.
Monte McNair, the Kings GM who recently had his contract extended after he flipped the direction of the franchise in just a few years, gets to focus on the right now and prepare for what is ahead. A successful offseason would position the Kings as a legitimate western conference threat for years to come.
As the trade deadline passed we got a pretty good picture of what the NBA Draft order could look like. Obviously, there are a ton of variables and teams won’t be at the exact spot they are currently projected, but at least we know what range picks will fall in and know who owns those picks.
In the case of the Kings, they are going to have three draft selections barring a trade in the lead-up to the 2023 NBA Draft. A mid to late first-round pick and two second-round selections. It’s unlikely they will use all three themselves unless at least one player is stashed overseas.
Jonathan Wasserman of BleacherReport recently released a full two-round mock draft for fans to start getting themselves ready for the coming draft. As Sacramento will enter the offseason with a bunch of momentum they will also be looking to fill major holes on their roster.
They didn’t address these needs at the trade deadline, which is fine, but this offseason it will be time to fix the glaring issues on the roster. That is how this group takes the next step.
Kings select Duke Center Dereck Lively II in NBA Mock Draft
In this very early mock draft, the Kings used their picks on the following players:
- Pick No. 23 Overall: Ricky Council IV (Arkansas, SG/SF, Junior)
- Pick No. 36 Overall: Dereck Lively II (Duke, C, Freshman)
- Pick No. 53 Overall: Baylor Scheierman (Creighton, SG, Senior)
As you can see, the Kings project to wait until their second pick of the night to address the backup center position in this mock. In the first round, they fill the hole that will potentially be left by Harrison Barnes. Council IV is a wing that should certainly be a capable role player in the NBA at some point.
He struggles with his outside shot but has plenty of scoring moves inside the arc. If the shot gets more consistent he could have a nice ceiling for a late first-round draft pick.
The real potential we want to discuss is that of Dereck Lively II, who the Kings wind up taking 36th overall out of Duke. The big man is not anywhere near being a finished product on the offensive end of the court but he displays plenty of defensive skills that make him an exciting developmental guy at the top of round two.
Lively has recently been able to get more minutes and he is continuing to dominate defensively as the sample size gets bigger. On the year he is averaging less than 20 minutes per game yet he is sending away 2.3 shots per contest.
He is a menace at the rim and has the agility, length and feel to potentially become a very switchable defender. That is a great skill to have at your disposal in today’s NBA.
Lively is raw and will take some time. He also could be well off the board by the time the Kings pick early in the second round. If he is available for them at any point when they are on the clock, he is someone they must consider selecting.