Sunday Musings: Would Kings consider moving up in 2022 NBA Draft?

NBA Draft rumors swirling, Kings a topic of discussion

James Ham
May 22, 2022

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The 2022 NBA Draft is still a month away, but the information continues to flow in at an incredible rate.  General manager Monte McNair and his team have been flying all over the country collecting as much data on prospects as possible.

Following this week's NBA Draft Combine in Chicago, the focus shifts to getting more prospects, both with first and second round potential, to come through Sacramento for visits, as well as more trips around the country for pro-day workouts. 

It is a marathon, not a sprint, but June 23rd will be here soon enough. Here is the latest intel on where the Kings stand.

No stone unturned

The Kings are doing their due diligence in the build up to the 2022 NBA Draft. Having the No. 4 overall pick is opening plenty of doors that may not have been open before.

League sources have confirmed to The Kings Beat that not only did Sacramento interview Shaedon Sharpe at the Combine, but they either sat down with or attended pro-days for a bevy of projected lottery/first round picks, including Keegan Murray, AJ Griffin, Bennedict Mathurin, Dyson Daniels, Tari Eason, Kendall Brown, Ochai Agbaji, Malaki Branham, Jeremy Sochan, Patrick Baldwin, Nikola Jovic, Mark Williams, Christian Braun, Wendell Moore, Terquavion Smith and Trevion Williams. That’s 17 names to dig deeper into.

The team will hold workouts on Monday and Tuesday at the practice facility with another group of prospects and then spend Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in Southern California attending pro-days. 

You can read into this news any way that you like. This could just be another “comprehensive and process driven” approach. Or, the fact that the Kings are looking at prospects all up and down the draft board could be further proof that the team plans to be aggressive and is open to multiple scenarios on draft night.

A new option?

The general consensus around the No. 4 pick is that the Kings can make the pick, trade down and collect additional assets, or trade out. It seems like we missed another option, which our very own Brenden Nunes brought up on a recent episode of The Kings Beat Podcast.

“If you believe that one of those prospects is franchise altering, when is the next time that the Kings are going to be in this sort of position?” Nunes asked. “So I think it depends on how they value those guys, but I totally think it’s in the cards.”

Following the NBA Draft Combine, Henry Abbott of TrueHoop.com, made the following comment about the possibility of the Kings moving into the top 2. 

This is intriguing. By combining the logic of Nunes and the reporting of Abbott, there might be something here. 

The cost of a move like this is already known. During the 2019 NBA Draft, the Mavericks gave up their 2020 first round pick (top five protected) to the Atlanta Hawks to move from No. 5 to No. 3. The Mavs selected a franchise changer in Luka Doncic, while the Hawks were able to nab an All-Star in Trae Young and what turned out to be the No. 10 pick (Cam Reddish) in the following draft. 

Would the Kings consider something similar? 

If you value Jabari Smith Jr. and Chet Holmgren as future star level players, then why not? Like Brenden said, if this player becomes a perfect fit next to De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis, then you might not be in a position to draft this high for a long time.

Sacramento has a laser focus on snapping their 16-year playoff drought. A glimpse around the Western Conference says that ending the futility will be more difficult than just snapping their fingers. 

If they somehow crack the top 8 and make the postseason, then they are risking a mid-first round selection next year. That is completely acceptable, if the player they land at No. 2 becomes a difference maker.

If they fall short again, then a trade like this could backfire in a serious way, especially when considering the projected strength of the 2023 NBA Draft.

This is interesting food for thought. It’s a gamble, but one that could completely change the course of the franchise in Sacramento, one way or another. 

McNair needs an entire room of white boards to break down every scenario he is about to face. One wall would be potential selections at No. 4. One wall would have a list of trade candidates for the No. 4 pick overall. One wall would have trade down possibilities and the last wall would be a life size portrait of Holmgren and then a bunch of options to fill out the rest of the roster. 

The draft is just one way to build out the roster, but for a team like the Kings, it’s the biggest day of the year. McNair has options, but he needs a home run. If he feels he can achieve that by moving up, instead of all of the other options, that’s a bold, but calculated risk. 

There is enough smoke here to warrant further investigation. 

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