Sacramento Kings Should Not Trade Their First Round Pick


The Sacramento Kings hold the sixth overall pick in the upcoming June 25th NBA draft. This is the fifth year in a row that the Kings will be drafting in the lottery, each time in the top ten, but this draft is much more important.

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The Kings just hired a new head coach in George Karl, brought in a new interim GM in Mike Bratz, and are looking for a change in the organization.

Finding a change in the organization is more than just head coach and GM, it comes all the way down to the roster. After putting out some lackluster rotations throughout the years, the Kings should be trying to find some marquee players to turn the team around. Whether that be by free agency, trading, or the draft, the Kings should be able to find the right amount of talent.

While bringing in talent is great though, the Kings should know that they cannot give up too much to acquire it.

Gerry Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times has reported that the Kings will make a play for Denver Nuggets star point guard Ty Lawson.

"“Rumors persist Sacramento coach George Karl will make a play for Ty Lawson, who played for Karl in Denver”- Woelfel on Kings’ interest in Lawson"

Reports from multiple news sources including ESPN’s Chad Ford are claiming that the Nuggets asking price from the Kings for Lawson, would be the team’s first round pick, sixth overall.

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Sacramento Kings

It is evident that Karl is trying to recreate some of the magic he produced when he was coach of the Nuggets from the 2006-07 season through 2012-13. Karl’s Nuggets made the playoffs every year of his tenure and acquiring Lawson would give him one of the leaders from that group.

Lawson would be a great get for the Nuggets, not only for his play on the court — he averaged 15.2 points and 9.7 assists per game over 75 games in 2015 — but for his relationship with coach Karl. The only concern would be that the team would have to give up their sixth overall pick.

The Kings are in desperate need of young talent. That is evident by the team not only finishing 25th in the league with a -3.7 point differential, but also allowing 105.0 points per game, tied for 27th in the league — ironically with the Nuggets.

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The team should use their sixth round pick on a talented young player rather than trading it away for Lawson.

Looking at three reputable mock drafts:

Chad Ford of ESPN has the Kings taking Emanuel Mudiay, PG out of China has the Kings taking Mario Hezonja, SG/SF out of Barcelona

Johnathon Wasserman of Bleacher Report has the Kings taking Willie Cauley-Stein, PF/C out of Kentucky

If the Kings were to follow the Ford pick and take Mudiay they would be getting a playmaker at point guard. The team has been enamored with Darren Collison as the starting point guard, but Mudiay has the upside to make the pick worth it. He brings a 6’5″ frame and above average athleticism. Collison may make this pick difficult, but with the Kings interest in Lawson, maybe the team is ready to move on. If so, Mudiay could be the team’s point guard for years to come.

Looking at Draftexpress’ point of view,  the team would be acquiring an electric small forward who seems like he can do it all. Standing 6’8″, Hezonja can shoot, pass, defend, and even handle the ball, making him quite the mismatch. His shooting stroke can be lethal with sophomore Nik Stauskas playing next to him. Coach Karl has said his want to play Rudy Gay at the power forward position, so drafting Hezonja would let him do just that. Hezonja is an offensive spark, something the Kings have been missing, with the only real spark coming from DeMarcus Cousins.

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  • Wasserman believes the Kings should draft Cauley-Stein, who would become an elite rim protector down low with Cousins. Standing 7’0″ tall, Cousins would be a mismatch among other power forwards, and once bulking up to NBA size, could become one of the better defenders in the league.

    Drafting Cauley-Stein allows the Kings to find a great front court partner with Cousins, another thing the team has been lacking. Cauley-Stein could bring a new era of defense to the Kings and would be a huge upgrade to their lackluster defensive play in 2014.

    No matter who the Kings draft, whether it be these three or someone else, the team would be getting a cornerstone player who can help turn the franchise around. While the team could acquire such a player, the youth and upside of a player drafted in the top ten is just too much to pass up on.

    If the team were to trade for Lawson, they would be getting a very solid point guard who one could argue is top ten at the position, but the Kings would only be getting him for two years, at salaries of $12 million+ and $13 million+. If the team were to draft a player, not only would he be under team control for five years rather than two, but he would come much cheaper for those years.

    The Kings have to approach this draft with the long term in mind rather than the short term. The team is improving and has a solid core of young players who can help the team succeed in the future. While the future is bright, it is hard to say if the Kings are a playoff team within the next 2-3 years. Adding one more player won’t catapult the team into the playoffs in a division where the eighth seed had a record of 45-37.

    If the Kings were to trade for Lawson, or any player of that matter, using the sixth overall pick, the team would be sacrificing the long term for the short team. They would be giving up a polarizing prospect who could help the team in years to come. The front office must use a sense of realism rather than try to make a “sexy” trade. Using the sixth overall pick to add a young player would build to the solid, young core the team is starting to build.

    The Kings will look to turn it around in the 2015-16 season. A new front office and a coach still early into his tenure look to change the franchise’s ways. The team has the building blocks to succeed in the future and should use their first round pick to add to their core rather than adding Lawson or another veteran player.

    Next: Free Agents the Kings Should Set Their Sights On