Throughout the season, Jason Jones answers readers’ questions about the team in a weekly Twitter mailbag. Tweet your questions with the hashtag #JonesHoldsCourt.
Q: What players and areas in their game have you enjoyed seeing progress over this season, and who and what areas do they need too workout on this off season?
– Wolf Wolven, @Xargon_
A: Watching Buddy Hield become a more well-rounded player was enjoyable.
Hield came to the Kings as the centerpiece of the DeMarcus Cousins trade, so there was plenty of pressure. Then the report of Kings principal owner Vivek Ranadive comparing Hield to Stephen Curry emerged, and only put more pressure on Hield.
Hield began to figure out how passing the ball helped him become a better scorer and teammate. Hield started showing improved effort on defense, too.
Hield's friendship with Bogdan Bogdanovic helped a lot in this area. Bogdanovic became a sounding board for ideas, and the two built a strong bond.
If Hield continues to prove he's willing to be more than a scorer, he's in store for a big leap in his development in his third season.
Q: I know it’s early af but who do you think the kings have their eyes on for the draft and realistically who do you think they are gunna get?
– KickbackNextDoor, @YoungCalii_
A: I don't have an idea of who the Kings will draft. Neither do the Kings.
It's not even past tax day, and the NBA draft lottery is May 15. Odds are the Kings will select seventh, but a lot is still to still be decided and evaluated prior to the draft in June.
Because the Kings would be willing to make a trade (they've made a deal during the draft the last two years), the approach is to evaluate everyone, because the team could ultimately draft anywhere. They must be prepared for all scenarios.
Q: Hi jason, do you think the positive experience of winning a few games for these young players will prove to be more beneficial to the franchise than being better positioned in the lottery?
– skelton, @DNS1976
A: Given the Kings have no control over the lottery and there are no guarantees with the draft, I always believe it's best to work on doing things right. That doesn't just mean keeping games close; it means executing to win. That's what's best for the young players, and they would tell you how much it benefits them.
No matter where the Kings draft, there's a chance they could make a mistake. But it's always beneficial for young players to develop winning habits.
If the Kings were truly worried about their spot in the draft over development, they shouldn't have signed players like Zach Randolph and Vince Carter, who helped them win games this season.
If it was a competition to tank, the Kings were clearly underdogs by the end of the season. Some of the lineups from other teams were so bad, the Kings didn't have a chance to lose.
Q: Think Willie gets traded?
– Kellen Browning, @Kellen_Browning
A: My early inclination is no.
Willie Cauley-Stein is still on his rookie deal and the Kings can make him a restricted free agent in 2019. And the Kings likely couldn't net a high draft pick or an impact veteran in return for him.
It's not as if any player is untouchable, but after investing a high draft pick and three seasons, the Kings would like to reap the benefits if Cauley-Stein figures out how to be a consistent contributor next season and beyond.