Sunday Musings: Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé attends Jaden Ivey's pro day

Kings hit pro day circuit hard, including Ivey, Griffin, Mathurin and Murray

James Ham
May 29, 2022

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It’s hard to hide when the gym is so small.

Kings general manager Monte McNair and chairman Vivek Ranadivé were captured on video sitting courtside at Jaden Ivey’s workout late this week. Normally agents want to hide footage of workouts like this, but the tables have turned a bit. Now it might be NBA teams that want to view the footage before it is released to the public.

Ivey looks as advertised. He’s explosive, both with his first step and once he leaves the floor. He’s a highlight reel dunker, especially with no one else on the court.

The 19-year-old hit plenty of 3-point shots, although the video omits the misses. It’s also hard to show off your defensive acumen in a 1-on-0 workout, but there is a lot to like about the Purdue star.

As much as Ivey was the star of his own video, the fact that Ranadivé was at his workout in Southern California stands out. According to a league source, this was the only of three pro day workouts that Ranadivé attended this week in Southern California. He was also the only NBA team owner spotted at the festivities. 

With the Kings closing media out of prospect workouts this year, we have no idea regarding Ranadivé’s attendance in Sacramento, but it’s safe to say that he is engaged in the process. 

There is plenty of chatter on social media about this topic, but to be honest, it’s much ado about nothing. Maybe it isn’t commonplace in every NBA city for an owner to attend workouts, but it does happen.

The No. 4 overall pick is scheduled to make over $33 million in his first four seasons in the league. That is money that Ranadivé and his ownership group will pay and there is hope that any player taken will be a fixture in Sacramento for a lot longer than four years.

It is okay for Ranadivé to watch a workout. He’s known for his meddling ways, for sure. If you know that he is going to be a voice in the room, at least allow him to be educated on the subject. 

McNair should make the final decision on the selection, because it is ultimately his job on the line. But having McNair and Ranadivé working through the process together should build stronger bonds between the two and allow them to be on the same page when it comes time to either make the selection or move the pick.

As for Ivey, there is a strong buzz that he has joined the trio of Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith Jr. and Paolo Banchero in the top four of the 2022 NBA Draft. We currently have Ivey going to the Kings in The Kings Beat's Mock 1.0.

Whether he can crack the top three is unknown, but his athleticism and quick burst is drawing comparisons to star level players like Ja Morant and Russell Westbrook.

If the Kings do in fact stay at their current draft location and the draft goes according to plan, Ivey very well could be the pick. He’s incredibly dynamic and could make an intriguing long term backcourt partner alongside De’Aaron Fox.

There are questions about whether the duo would hold up defensively and neither is a pure shooter, but the brand of basketball would be exciting, especially with center Domantas Sabonis orchestrating the offense. 

In addition to Ivey, McNair and Ranadivé also viewed Duke freshman AJ Griffin’s workout. The 18-year-old has a smooth stroke from the outside and projects as a potential 3-and-D threat. 

Slated to go anywhere from No. 5 to No. 8 in the upcoming draft, Griffin would make a lot of sense for the Kings if they move down a spot or two in the draft. He has an NBA body and he’s a strong athlete, but he’s not nearly as explosive as Ivey.

If there is a conversation regarding best player available versus fit, Griffin might be a better pairing with Fox. But when drafting in the top end of the draft, the focus is usually on ceiling and the consensus around the league is that Ivey is a higher end prospect. 

In addition to the CAA Pro Day featuring Ivey and Griffin, McNair, along with some of the Kings’ front office staff, were also spotted at Bennedict Mathurin’s workout in Southern California this week. 

Like Griffin, Mathurin is in the 5-8 range in this year’s draft. The sophomore out of Arizona measured in at 6-foot-6 (in shoes), 204-pounds with a 6-foot-9 wingspan at the combine and he is an explosive three level scorer. 

Sources confirmed that the Kings also interviewed Shaedon Sharpe at the combine and attended his pro day in Chicago. Like Ivey, Griffin and Mathurin, Sharpe is considered more of a shooting guard than a small forward, which is on the list of needs heading into the offseason for Sacramento.

Currently, the Kings have Donte DiVincenzo at the two, who enters the summer as a restricted free agent. They also have Terence Davis and Justin Holiday that can play the position, but both are entering the final year of their contracts. 

Second-year guard Davion Mitchell can shift over and play time at the shooting guard position as well, but he’s more of a point or combo guard than a natural two. 

If the Kings are looking for a future starter at shooting guard, there are plenty of options to sift through, both in the draft, through trade and via free agency. 

Lastly, we can confirm that the Kings attended Keegan Murray’s Priority Sports pro day last week as well. The 6-foot-8 forward out of Iowa is listed anywhere from No. 4 all the way down to No. 9 in most mock drafts. 

After the big three of Holmgren, Smith Jr. and Banchero, Murray is the best power forward prospect in the draft. The Kings could desperately use help at the four and Murray is a mature prospect wh had a breakout sophomore season at the college level. He can shoot the 3-ball, score inside, rebound and he even blocked 1.9 shots per game.

It’s a wide open draft after the top three, which puts the Kings in a solid position, especially if they want to move down a few picks and acquire a veteran rotational player to go with their top selection. 

Of the group, Ivey is the most electric. Sharpe is the biggest mystery. Griffin and Mathurin are both strong fit players and Murray might be the safest selection. 

The Kings still have a few weeks to mull over options. Nothing is off the table, including trading up, down, out or standing pat and making the pick. Hold onto your hats, it could be a wild ride in Sacramento. 

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