Four potential selections for the Sacramento Kings in the 2022 NBA draft
The Sacramento Kings received some luck during the NBA draft lottery this year as they moved up from the seventh pick to the fourth pick. This is not a natural occurrence as the Kings have only moved up four times out of their 27 times in the lottery. This franchise is looking to break a NBA record 16 year playoff drought in the upcoming 2022 season. The Kings have plenty to do this offseason but they can start by improving the team at the draft. They severely need to nail this draft pick if they want to get out of NBA purgatory where they consistently miss the playoffs while receiving mid to late lottery picks.
The Sacramento Kings made some huge changes at the end of the 2021 season when they traded their second year stud guard Tyrese Halliburton for big man Domantas Sabonis. The Kings have an All-Star caliber point guard in De’Aaron Fox locked up for the next four years. They now have former All-Star Sabonis for two more years and last year’s lottery pick, Davion Mitchell, under contract for the next three years. Now, let’s look at four possible selections the Sacramento Kings can make with the fourth pick
The Big Three
There is a clear top three in the 2022 NBA draft. Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren, Auburn’s Jabari Smith, and Duke’s Paolo Banchero are the most likely first three picks. Sacramento at four just misses out on the top tier talent of this year’s draft but it puts them in a good position to draft any one of the three if they fall. The ideal scenario for the Kings would be if Smith or Holmgren drop to four.
Smith is a talented scorer standing at 6’10” who shot an amazing 42% from three last year. He is also a versatile defender that can guard multiple positions and play strong on ball defense. Smith would be a great fit as a spot up shooter between Fox and Sabonis. Smith provides two things the Kings lack perimeter shooting and defense.
Holmgren similar to Smith would make Kings fans ecstatic if he were to fall in the draft. Holmgren is a unicorn as he is a seven footer with a solid shot and playmaking skills. He is a good passer and he shot 39% from behind the arc last season. However, where he makes his money is on the defensive side as a shot blocking extraordinaire. Holmgren is a great off-ball defender with a knack for rim protection that would definitely improve the Kings’ defense. Holmgren’s ability to stretch the floor on offense would give Sacramento another shooter while giving Sabonis room to maneuver in the paint.
Banchero might not be the best fit for the Sacramento Kings but he is a talented big man with a lot of upside. Banchero is 6’10 playmaking big with elite shot creating skills in the paint. He averaged 17.2 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. He needs to become a better defender, which is a bit of an effort issue, and he has room to increase his 3-point shooting up from 32%. A Banchero and Sabonis front court might overly congest the paint. However, this duo would give the Kings a great playmaking front court with an enormous presence on the boards.
The Sacramento Kings should take any of the consensus top three players if they are available at four in the NBA draft.
Jaden Ivey- Sophomore Guard from Purdue
Jaden Ivey is an incredibly talented guard that some people have amongst the top three but most have him in a tier just under the consensus top three. He is an extremely quick and athletic guard who is skilled finisher at the rim. Ivey averaged 17.3 points and shot a respectable 35.8% from the three last season. He has a good motor and his ability to create explosive plays made him must see TV at Purdue.
Ivey does have shortcomings as he will need to grow as a defender in the NBA. He shot a terrible 25% from three in his freshman year and he was only a 74.4% free throw shooter last year. He also has a good handle and flashes solid playmaking skills but these don’t show on the stat sheet as he only averaged 3.1 assists.
These issues might be alleviated if he gets drafted to the Kings. Fox will be the main ball handler which allows Ivey to play more off ball than he ever got to at Purdue. Ivey would get to shoot more spot up three pointers which should increase his three point percentage. A Fox and Ivey back court would be the fastest duo in the league and it could be a dominant one-two punch attacking the paint. This might leave a sour taste in the mouth of Kings fans as they in part traded away fan favorite Tyrese Halliburton to draft another guard. However, Ivey is a supremely talented and athletic guard that can add another scorer to the Kings’ roster.
Keegan Murray- Sophomore Forward from Iowa
Keegan Murray is a phenomenal fit with the Sacramento Kings. Murray was arguably the best player in college basketball last season as he took a huge leap in his sophomore year. He is a versatile 6’8” forward with an ability to play multiple positions. He can guard wings and bigs while being able to run the three or play a small ball five. Murray averaged 23.5 points, 8.7 rebounds, and shot a great 39.8% from behind the arc. He is a capable scorer who on top of everything plays with good hustle and has a nice feel for the game.
Murray receives some criticism for being older as he is almost 22. Also, people don’t believe he can be a star as his ceiling is somewhere around a great NBA starter. The biggest issues people have with Murray are he doesn’t have an amazing shot and they don’t see that long term star potential.
However, Murray looks the part of a great player who would fit well with the Kings. Murray can be a good scoring option for Sacramento. He has a nice jump shot and he can be a great cutter for Sabonis. Murray can be a great stretch four that can help clear the paint for Sabonis and Fox while knocking down threes. Murray will also drastically improve the Kings’ defense as a staunch multi-positional on ball defender and a skilled off ball defender. He is a solid rebounder who can also be a great locker room guy. If the Sacramento Kings draft Murray they will have improved their front court with an all around skilled player that can do a little bit of everything.
Shaedon Sharpe- Freshman Guard/Wing from Kentucky
Sharpe might be the biggest unknown in the entire 2022 NBA draft. He took an unorthodox path to the NBA. Sharpe was a top high school recruit in his class before he reclassified to the 2021 class. He decided to play for Kentucky but he ended up not playing a single game for the Wildcats. Now, Sharpe has no next level experience and teams are essentially drafting him out of high school.
Although it has not been displayed in college or the G-league, Sharpe is definitely talented. He is a great scorer who possesses an impressive ability to get a bucket. He is an athletic wing that can finish at the rim. He is a good defender that uses his quickness and length to cause problems for the opposition. There are no real valuable stats to go off of but there is clear star level potential and intangibles with Sharpe.
Sharpe would be a good fit with the Kings as they have lacked a true wing in recent years. Sharpe with his great ball handling skills and his strong ability to create off the dribble could be a solid scoring option. This would give Sacramento a balanced starting five with above average players at point guard, wing, and center. A Fox, Sabonis, Sharpe big three could be a strong foundation for the team. This is a tough pick as Sharpe could bust which would leave the Kings with another squandered opportunity and more than likely increase their playoff drought. However, if this pick hits it could give Sacramento a star player with a super star ceiling in the NBA.
The Sacramento Kings are in an interesting position with the fourth pick and they have a huge opportunity to progress the franchise with the right pick in the 2022 NBA draft.