Sacramento Kings

Kings mock drafts: De’Aaron Fox or Jayson Tatum for Sacramento at No. 5?

Previewing the Kings' options in the 2017 NBA Draft

Kings reporter Jason Jones takes a look at what the Kings need, and who they might pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
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Kings reporter Jason Jones takes a look at what the Kings need, and who they might pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.

There’s been no shortage of uncertainty and speculation in the buildup to the NBA draft.

And with three days until draft night, it’s only going to get crazier.

After the Philadelphia 76ers traded their No. 3 pick and other first round picks for the Boston Celtics’ No. 1 pick, it’s almost certain that Washington point guard Markelle Fultz will be the first player off the board.

Most experts project that the Kings will take whichever top prospect is available at No. 5: Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox, Kansas forward Josh Jackson, UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball or Duke forward Jayson Tatum.

Ten of the 13 mock drafts sampled have the Kings selecting Fox or Tatum with the No. 5 pick. Of those 10, seven of the mock drafts have the Kings selecting Fox with the No. 5 pick, but that prospect is far from a guarantee.

The Lakers are considering Fox, along with Ball and Jackson at No. 2, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. And some mock drafts have Fox going to the Phoenix Suns at No. 4, even though Fox canceled a workout with the team last week.

But at pick No. 10? It’s anybody’s guess. Some experts say it could be Fox’s teammate at Kentucky, Malik Monk, Gonzaga center Zach Collins, Duke shooting guard Luke Kennard or Arizona sharpshooter Lauri Markkanen, among others.

There have been solid NBA players drafted with the fifth pick, including some Hall of Famers and ex-Kings. Here's a look at a few notable players.

The Ringer

Updated June 18, 2017

“Athletic, energetic two-way forward whose scoring upside is contingent upon the system in which he plays.”

“His athleticism is impressive, but he doesn’t affect winning as a passer or defender, which makes him a high-risk lottery prospect.”

Sports Illustrated’s Chris Johnson

Posted June 16, 2017

Johnson crafted his mock draft around which players were the best fit for each team.

“Ball and Hield could grow into one of the most entertaining guard partnerships in the league, a titillating union of fastbreak-fueling feeds, playmaking pizzaz and long-range launching. Here’s guessing majority owner Vivek Ranadive would be all in.”

“Sacramento also has loaded up on young centers; whether or not Skal Labissiere, Willie Cauley-Stein, Georgios Papagiannis, or some combination thereof, can fill the void left by Demarcus Cousins, the Kings should spend another season evaluating them, rather than crowding that position even more. That leaves the 3 and 4 spots, where the Kings could use a floor-spacer with the length, if not the strength, to check both stretch fours and wings. Jackson fits the bill.”

Possible Sacramento Kings draft pick Justin Jackson lists what he believes he can do for the team on offense and defense after working out on Wednesday, May 31, 2017, in Sacramento.

Sports Illustrated’s Andrew Sharp

Posted June 19, 2017

“Think Harrison Barnes, but 6-11, with shot blocking. He's got the height and length to project as a stretch-five with the right lineup around him, and he'd be equally effective as a stretch-four.”

“For the Kings, this would be an underwhelming pick in a draft full of star point guards, and it's why we can't totally rule out a trade up before Thursday.”

CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish

Updated June 19, 2017

No. 5 De’Aaron Fox, 6-3 PG, Kentucky, freshman

“The Kings are desperately in need of a young point guard with a high ceiling, and Fox is exactly that. At 6-4, he has nice size for the position and is super-fast with the ball. He was sensational in Kentucky's Sweet 16 win over UCLA while finishing with 39 points.”

“If Sacramento is going to take a point guard who can't shoot with the fifth pick, it makes sense to take somebody who can with the 10th. So Kennard makes sense here.”

CBS Sports’ Reid Forgrave

Updated June 19, 2017

No. 5 Jayson Tatum, 6-8 SF, Duke, freshman

“This is the easiest pick in the entire draft. Conventional wisdom has the very top tier of this draft ending at the fifth pick. All the Kings have to do is take whichever player falls to them.”

“The Kings, once again, have an easy decision: Take whoever falls to you. The Kings' fifth pick may be the end of the elite tier, and the 10th pick is the end of that next tier, I believe.”

Fox Sports’ Andrew Lynch

Updated June 19, 2017

No. 5 Jayson Tatum, 6-8 SF, Duke, freshman

“The Kings need a point guard (and would love to get Fox here), but taking a guy like Dennis Smith or Frank Ntilikina is too much of a reach. Sacramento is better off with Tatum's scoring and potential as an all-around player.”

“Monk is one of the most talented players in the draft, and he could easily go in the top five. He doesn't do a whole lot other than score at this point, though, which could cause a tumble down the draft board.”

NBA.com’s Scott Howard-Cooper

Posted June 15, 2017

No. 5 Jayson Tatum, 6-8 SF, Duke, freshman

“Tatum, a nice prospect anyway, is especially appealing now that (Rudy) Gay is a free agent. If Tatum develops 3-point range, he has the chance to become a complete scorer, able to get points by finding openings in transition, off a mid-range game and from offensive rebounds.”

“The agile, fluid 7-footer is the latest European stretch four bound for the lottery, following Kristaps Porzingis and Dragan Bender. Markkanen, from Finland, will beat defenders down court on the break or pick them apart in half court with range that resulted in making 42.3 percent of his 3-pointers while attempting 4.4 per game.”

Sporting News’ Sean Deveney

Updated June 19, 2017

No. 5 De’Aaron Fox, 6-3 PG, Kentucky, freshman

“There’s been some talk that the Kings would swap the fifth and 10th picks to move up to the Sixers’ No. 3 in order to draft Fox, but the Kings would be better served keeping both picks and taking the chance that Fox is on the board here, with Dennis Smith Jr. or Frank Ntilikina as a backup plan.”

“The only concern about Monk is that he is 6-3. If he were 6-6 and had the same ability to knock down shots, he would probably go in the top four, and even at his height, he will get considerations from teams higher than this.”

Kentucky point guard De'Aaron Fox discusses the Kings during the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago on Friday, May 12, 2017.

sethsdrafthouse.com’s Sam Vecenie

Updated June 18, 2017

No. 5 De’Aaron Fox, 6-3 PG, Kentucky, freshman

“He’s been in for a workout with the Kings , and seems to like the idea of playing for the organization. This would be a pretty big home run for the team.”

“Monk would be a great additional to a team that could use all the help it can get on the perimeter, with really only Hield looking like a certain long-term piece currently on their roster. Take the best player, and let it fall from there.”

SB Nation’s Ricky O’Donnell

Posted June 19, 2017

No. 5 De’Aaron Fox, 6-3 PG, Kentucky, freshman

“The Kings badly needed a new face of the franchise following the DeMarcus Cousins trade, and Fox can be that. He’s a blur with the ball in his hands in the open floor and competes on both ends of the court.”

“The Fox-Monk backcourt was so much fun at Kentucky. Let’s run it back in Sacramento for the next 10 years.”

DraftExpress.com

Updated June 18, 2017

No. 5 De’Aaron Fox, 6-3 PG, Kentucky, freshman

Gonzaga center Zach Collins didn't think he'd be one-and-done, but big freshman season changed his mind

ESPN’s Jeff Goodman (Insider)

Posted June 16, 2017

No. 5 De’Aaron Fox, 6-3 PG, Kentucky, freshman

“Fox will need to improve his outside shot, but he can be a cornerstone for a franchise that desperately needs someone to build around.”

“It would be a heck of a pull if Vlade Divac were to land Fox and Collins. Both might take some time to develop, especially because their bodies need to fill out. But both bring upside to an organization that needs to rebuild the right way.”

ESPN’s Chad Ford (Insider)

Posted June 19, 2017

No. 5 De’Aaron Fox, 6-3 PG, Kentucky, freshman

“Not only is Fox the fastest player in the draft and a major fit at point guard, but he has shown genuine interest in playing for and leading the Kings. If Fox is gone, Tatum seems like the next most likely pick for the Kings.”

“Collins is an athletic rim protector who can also stretch the floor. They have a several young big men with Skal Labissiere, Willie Cauley-Stein and Georgios Papagiannis already on the roster. But Collins' talent is worth a selection here.”

Sacramento Kings general manager Vlade Divac discusses the team's plans heading into the June 22 NBA draft, including his confidence level in the kind of players who will be available at Nos. 5 and 10 overall.

The Kings have the fifth and 10th picks in this year's NBA draft. Here are all their first-round picks since 2010.

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