By Greg Sulik @GregSulik on May 1, 2014
The Sacramento Kings did just about what everyone expected them to do this season, finishing 28-54 and “earning” the 7th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. However, the Kings have an interesting young core, led by Demarcus Cousins, Isaiah Thomas and Ben McLemore. There are several different directions the Kings could go in this draft, and any of these five players could help propel them back to the playoffs.
Tyler Ennis is arguably the best pure point guard in the draft in terms of vision and passing. The Kings are filled with shoot first players, and they actually finished dead last in assists this season. Bringing in Ennis as a backup to Thomas (assuming the Kings retain him as a restricted free agent) would make a lot of sense. Ennis would give Sacramento a true floor general and help create opportunities for the Kings’ many scorers.
The Kings desperately need defensive help, and Aaron Gordon fits the bill. Rudy Gay doesn’t play defense at all, and the rest of the team’s wing players aren’t much better. The Kings finished 24th in points allowed this year, and Gordon would be a good start towards fixing that. He is extremely athletic, tough, hard-working and an elite defender. Those are rare qualities on the Kings, and Gordon would finally give the Kings a defensive presence.
Julius Randle is the best post scorer in the draft, and he reminds a lot of people of Zach Randolph. Randle and Cousins would form one of the best offensive big man tandems in the league, and he would give the Kings another cornerstone to build around. However, Randle has a lot of defensive shortcomings, and he would only add to the Kings’ current issues there. Still, he would be very difficult to pass up.
Marcus Smart is a name commonly linked to the Kings in mock drafts, as he could represent an upgrade at the point guard position. Texas Tech incident aside, Smart brings the toughness and high character intangibles that the Kings need. He also is a physical presence at the point, and he and Thomas might actually complement each other very well.
Noah Vonleh is the player I think is the best fit for the Kings. Derrick Williams is not a long term solution at power forward, and Vonleh is a highly skilled player who would complement Cousins very well. Vonleh is an excellent rebounder and has range to the three point line. He also has a high motor and good athleticism, and he is much more likely to develop into a quality defender than Randle is. Overall, Vonleh simply makes the most sense.
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