Kings hold key to 2022 NBA draft with No. 4 pick

The Sacramento Kings feel like the biggest wild card player in the NBA draft every year. It’s no coincidence that the Kings are also probably the worst-run team in the league over the past two decades.

The Kings haven’t made the NBA playoffs since 2006. A bad draft isn’t the only reason the franchise continues to be infamous — poor ownership and bad coaching are also to blame — but it’s certainly one of the biggest reasons Sacramento continues to struggle. The Kings have made some good choices during that time — notably taking DeMarcus Cousins ​​with the 5th overall pick in 2010 and Tyrese Hart with the 12th overall pick in 2020 Liberton — but more turnovers than hits. Marvin Bagley III’s puzzling selection of Luka Doncic in 2018 neatly sums up Kings’ draft ineptitude, but Nick Staskas, Ben McLemore, Thomas Both Robinson and Georges Papagegiannis were lottery picks that were similarly swiftly eliminated.

The Kings, one of the big lottery winners in the 2022 NBA Draft, moved up a few spots to secure the No. 4 pick. Considering there are four Tier 1 prospects in this draft (at least according to us), it should be a big celebration, but of course things are never that easy for Sacramento. The deadline trade that sent Haliburton to Domantas Sabonis last season only seemed to exacerbate the Kings’ roster-building problems after the team ended the trade 10-17.

While uncertain ahead of the draft, the Magic will likely select Jabari Smith at No. 1, the Thunder will take Chet Holmgren at No. 2 and the Rockets at No. 3 Picked Paul Banchero. Sacramento’s performance at No. 4 could determine how the rest of the draft is interrupted. It’s their choice.

Jaden Ivey, G, Purdue University

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Why the Kings could draft him at the 4: If the draft goes according to plan, Ivey will obviously be the No. 1 pick on the board when the Kings play. The Purdue guard is an electric athlete who can break down the first line of defense with his fiery first step and remarkable speed on the open floor. He’s also made great strides as a 3-point shooter this year, showing decent regression off the dribble from his freshman to sophomore seasons while improving 10 percent from 3-point depth. Bottom line, the Kings need a star to surround themselves with, and Ivey has more star power than anyone else, provided Banchero and Holmgren have left the board. Read our comprehensive scouting report on Ivey here, featuring 3,000+ words and 20+ clips about his game.

Why the Kings can pass the ball to him: The Kings opted to build around De’Aaron Fox when they traded Haliburton to Sabonis at last year’s trade deadline. Ivey is the most promising on the board, but his skills are very similar to Fox’s. Both are ultra-fast 6’4 guards who aren’t spot-up shooters and often struggle to guard bigger and stronger backcourt players. Ivey would be more suitable and cheaper next to Haliburton than Fox, but that ship has sailed. It feels like the Kings are overthinking Ivey by passing the ball, but Fox’s health concerns are real. If the Purdue guard is the first choice, there could be another big trade in the next year or two.

Keegan Murray, forward, Iowa State

College Basketball: Big Ten Tournament March 13 - Iowa v Purdue

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Why the Kings could draft him at the 4: Murray seems like a good fit for the Kings’ current roster. Sacramento needs power forwards who can stretch the floor and can defend, and Murray checks both. He could slot between Harrison Barnes and Sabonis in Sacramento’s starting lineup and provide versatile shooting, ability to improve transition scoring and solid instincts as a rotation defender. At 6-foot-8, 225 pounds, with a wingspan of nearly 7 feet and modern skills, the Iowa sophomore feels like one of the safest players in his class. The question of whether a hopeless team like Sacramento should really choose high floors over high ceilings.

Why the Kings can pass the ball to him: Sure, Murray is a good fit for where the Kings are right now…but should Sacramento really care about fixing now when the team just finished 30-52? Murray will likely be a solid player in the league for a long time, but I doubt he has enough upside to warrant a fourth overall pick. Murray is not a great passer, nor does he feel like a great athlete. While his team defense is impressive, I’m not too optimistic about his offensive-defense points, especially when you consider the types of players he might guard. Murray is a good option if the Kings want a double, but it’s a team worth slashing.

Shaedon Sharpe, G, Kentucky

Florida v Kentucky

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Why the Kings could draft him at the 4: Sharpe shares many of the qualities possessed by the best shooting guard in the NBA. He is 6-foot-5 with a 7-foot wingspan. He’s an explosive athlete who can play above the rim on both ends of the court. On his high school tapes, he has impressive NBA-wide pull-up shots. He has the ability to gain an advantage on the defensive end. Of course, everything about Sharp is theoretical, since he hasn’t played a game at Kentucky since he arrived at Kentucky midseason as the best recruit in his class. If fate favors the bold, the Kings could make a big hit by betting on Sharp.

Why the Kings can pass the ball to him: Sharpe feels like one of the riskier options in this draft, mainly because he won’t be playing a competitive game for more than a year in his NBA debut. With no tape or stats in college, Sharpe would be a big gamble for any team to take him, especially at No. 4. Even if Sharpe returns to Kentucky next year, there will be some serious questions about his skills. As a driver, how long can he sustain a touch of paint? As a passer, how does he feel about the floor? Can he convert his physical tools into defensive production? The Kings have struck out multiple times in the NBA before to put themselves in this position, and Sharpe could certainly be an all-or-nothing swing.

deal back

College Basketball: California at Arizona on March 5

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If Ivey remains at No. 4 as expected, the Kings should have plenty of teams asking for their pick. We listed the Pacers (No. 6), Wizards (No. 10) and Knicks (No. 11) as teams that could upgrade for Ivey, but that’s just the beginning of the list. If the Kings do trade down, who will they target outside of Murray and Sharp?

  • Jalen Duren, C, Memphis: Durham isn’t a natural fit with Sabonis in the paint, but he’s our No. 5 prospect. The youngest American rookie in the draft, Durham is a boy’s big man with amazing height, strength and vertical explosiveness. We like him because he has the ability to play any type of pick-and-roll while having so much power at the rim. Picking Durham seems unlikely since Sabonis is already on the roster, but he would be a good trade option.
  • Benedict Maturin, G, Arizona: Maturin is an explosive athlete and a great shooter, which makes him think he’s someone the Kings could fall for. No. 4 feels a bit high for him because his defense and passing are question marks, and his position is not big enough. I have an interesting feeling that if the Kings can find a cut-price partner, they might like him.
  • AJ Griffin, G, Duke: Griffin is one of the youngest rookies in this class, has great wing physicality and can shoot hell out of deep. The main concern for him may be his long-term health after a long-term knee issue. Injuries appear to have crippled some of Griffin’s north-south outbursts as a driver and limited his screen navigation on defense. We don’t know where Griffin will go on draft night, but he could still be a pick for the Wizards or Knicks if Sacramento gets traded.
  • Johnny Davis, G, Wisconsin: Davis is probably the best two-way guard in this class. The 6-foot-6 sophomore was impressive last season as an offensive defender, with impressive speed and tenacity to control ball handlers on the perimeter. He’s also a one-on-one scorer for the Badgers, overcoming poor spacing to average nearly 20 points per game on a diet of tough pull-ups, post moves and crafty finishes around the rim. Davis shot just 30 percent from 3-point range last season, but he should be a better shooter when he doesn’t have to carry such an offensive load. If Sacramento thinks he has enough offensive firepower to be their man, he’ll be a great fit next to Fox.

What should the Kings do at No. 4?

Jayden Ivey draft. He has a better chance of becoming a star than anyone else would ever hope to be on the board. This is what the king really needs. If Sacramento has to leave Fox to make it work, so be it.

The 2022 NBA Draft will be held in Brooklyn on June 23. Check out our latest draft below.

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