When the Sacramento Kings last made the NBA playoffs, I was living Japan as a teenager. Needless to say, its been a while and while this will sound crazy, the Kings should build off what was a solid 2017 draft class and stay the course.
Numerous reports have surfaced saying that top prospects are refusing to disclose pertinent information to the Kings. This of course seems short-sighted, especially for rookies who have yet to step on the NBA hardwood, but honestly, these feelings aren’t without merit. The Kings aren’t a well ran franchise, in fact, they’ve been a joke and is damn surprising that they haven’t been scuttled and moved to Seattle which deserves an NBA team. Their owner seems inept, they’ve fired promising coaches and executives, and most importantly their inability to scout talent has been mind boggling. Even the Phoenix Suns have mustered up a winning season in the midst of all the losing. Its downright embarrassing that the Kings, with its fervent fan base, can’t get above. 500 in almost 15 years. So with that being said, I can’t blame players for not wanting to be apart of an organization that needs a more focused direction.
Last year, however, felt different. The Kings drafted smartly, with the exception of Harry Giles, whose fall in last years draft was due to health concerns, but beyond that they saw production from almost everyone of their picks. De’Aaron Fox had glimpses of greatness, Justin Jackson was solid, Frank Mason Jr. had moments, it was all really promising. Including in their rookie class was Bogdan Bogdanovic, their Serbian rookie who finally migrated from the Euroleague to the NBA, he was highly efficient and was probably the best rookie on the team. The Kings at times looked like a competent team, they were just ridiculously young and like all young teams they lacked focus and experience, which ultimately led to a losing season. But at least fans can take solace in the fact that this was a promising step forward and not a completely mess like in years past.
With the draft being today, what Sacramento does will be critical to their future success. If they draft a player who clearly has no interest being on the team for the long run, it’s almost guaranteed that this pick would be a missed opportunity. The player they need to pick is the one who clearly doesn’t mind being a centerpiece for the Kings. That player is Marvin Bagley III. Defensive questions aside, Bagley is easily one of the most offensively gifted players in the class. An explosive athlete with a fairly polished game, he could pair with Willie Cauley-Stein and would be a nice frontcourt duo for the Kings. He would be efficient in the pick and roll and would be a lob candidate every time they ran down the floor.
I’m not saying Bagley is perfect, but he plays a lot like Chris Bosh and his defense will improve with time. College players tend to be restricted in terms of their game because of the pace of College Basketball. It’s more about focusing on the team than the individual. Bagley, like Tatum from last year, wasn’t able to showcase the different facets of their game at Duke. But with better spacing and a faster pace, Bagley will have the chance to flourish as the primary scorer on a young and confident Kings squad.
Being a fan of a losing franchise can be frustrating. Drafting is meant to help a losing franchise right the ship by bringing in promising talent that should increase the previous seasons win total. Missing will happen, nobody is perfect, but missing because the franchise lacks focus is inexcusable. Sacramento has been an example of misses and ineptitude, but this can change if they remained disciplined and don’t overload on a position that will leave an established player frustrated and wanting to skip town.
Stay the course, it’s a slow process, but one that could yield positive dividends soon.