The Kings began Thursday’s NBA draft with no point guards and finished the night with two, De’Aaron Fox and Frank Mason III.
The Kings, however, should not be done addressing the position.
Free agency begins next Friday at 9:01 p.m. PDT, and the Kings promise to be active in pursuing players. Point guard must remain a high priority because going into a season with two rookie point guards is not a formula for success.
Developing the young players is the priority, but they’ll need veterans to guide them.
“That is such a key point in the development of that player and the development of your team,” said NBATV analyst Stu Jackson. “To throw a young point guard into the fire right away, you’re just begging for failure.”
Today’s NBA requires a dynamic playmaker and Fox fits that bill as well as any prospect in this year’s class. His speed is unmatched by most and he has the potential to become an elite defender.
“De’Aaron’s our future and I just can’t say how much excitement (there is) in Sacramento and our office that he was available at five,” said Kings general manager Vlade Divac.
Mason was the 34th overall pick. He worked out twice for the Kings and they were enamored with his play and leadership.
“We felt he’s a guy; he can play right now,” Divac said. “We felt very confident when we made the choice to pick him at 34.”
Fox said after being drafted that he is ready to accept the pressure that comes with being an NBA point guard. And he won’t have it easy, playing in a division that currently includes stars such as the Warriors’ Stephen Curry and Clippers’ Chris Paul to go with the Suns’ Eric Bledsoe and Lakers second-overall pick Lonzo Ball.
“I know it’s going to be hard to be able to come into the NBA and become a leader but I feel like it’s not something I can’t do,” Fox said. “I know it’s going to be a learning curve but I feel like I’m ready for that.”
The Kings have the option of re-signing one of their point guards, such as Darren Collison, or they can search for a veteran in free agency. They’ll also have the room under the salary cap for help via trade.
The Kings have been searching for a player like Fox for some time, so ensuring his successful development is a necessity. Mason is among the most mature rookies, but it would be good to have someone who can help him navigate life on and off the court.
“The point guard position has an added level of importance in today’s game, because today’s game is predicated upon spreading the floor, having ample enough shooting and floor space created,” Jackson said. “Whether you’re the one (point guard), the two (shooting guard) or slashing small forwards, you have to have the ability to make plays in open space in the halfcourt.”
On Friday the Kings released guard Arron Afflalo, whose contract for next season would have been fully guaranteed on Saturday. Afflalo’s would have made $12.5 million next season, but instead will be bought out for $1.5 million.