Sacramento Kings

Kings mock drafts: How a third player has gained popularity among NBA analysts

Duke's Marvin Bagley III is becoming a popular choice among NBA draft analysts as an option for the Kings with the No. 2 overall pick.
Duke's Marvin Bagley III is becoming a popular choice among NBA draft analysts as an option for the Kings with the No. 2 overall pick. The Associated Press

And then there were three.

Last week's roundup of whom analysts thought the Kings would take with the No. 2 overall pick in the NBA draft was essentially a two-man race.

The majority had Sacramento taking Luka Doncic, a 6-foot-8 Slovenian guard who played for Real Madrid. A few had the wide favorite for No. 1 — Deandre Ayton, a 7-1 center from Arizona — dropping to the Kings while the Phoenix Suns grabbed Doncic first.

Enter Marvin Bagley III. The freshman from Duke is a consensus top-five pick, but he's suddenly becoming a popular choice for the Kings in the eyes of those who cover the sport.

Whom will the Kings will take when the draft tips off June 21 in Brooklyn? Here's a sampling of what analysts said:

ESPN (Insider)

Updated May 30

The pick: Bagley

Draft analyst Jonathan Givony has switched his pick from a few weeks ago, going with Bagley in his most recent mock. He tabbed Doncic at No. 2 in his May 15 analysis, but the Slovenian is now slated to go fourth. "Word around the NBA is they are not very high on Luka Doncic. The strength of this draft is in the frontcourt, and the Kings are reportedly looking to take advantage of that due to lack of progress shown by their young bigs," Givony wrote. "Although Bagley has some positional concerns defensively, his athleticism, motor, rebounding, finishing ability and overall productivity are very attractive to Sacramento."

ESPN

Updated May 29

The pick: Doncic

Analysts Seth Greenberg, Mike Schmitz and Adrian Wojnarowski joined host Cassidy Hubbarth to discuss who they felt would be the top five picks of the draft. "Just a special talent," Schmitz said of Doncic after listing off his accomplishments in Europe. "This is a kid who's lived up to the hype at every step of the way." Greenberg added why Doncic can be a solid playmaker in the NBA. "He is a savant in ball screens. ... because he reads all five defenders and can make the right play." Commenters on YouTube poked fun at ESPN's graphic department, who listed Doncic at 288 pounds (he's 218).

CBS Sports

Updated May 24

CBS Sports has multiple analysts offering mocks and analysis. For these purposes, we'll focus on the most recent mock, done by Gary Parrish. Follow the link above for more from CBS.

The pick: Doncic

"Some have described (Doncic) as the best young European prospect in history," Parrish wrote. "He's a 6-8 shot-creator and shot-maker who seems like a plug-and-play prospect. His ceiling might not be as high as some other's in this draft. But it's hard to imagine Doncic not being a capable starter in the NBA for a long time."

The Sporting News

Updated May 28

The pick: Doncic

Analyst Sean Deveney has updated his mock since last week, but what he said about Doncic remains the same. "Doncic spruced up his case to be the No. 1 pick with his MVP performance for Real Madrid in the EuroLeague Final Four," Deveney wrote. "If he’s not, it’s hard to see how the Kings pass on him. He’s a polished, (6-8) guard who is still only 19 years old and will bring significant credentials into draft night."

Bleacher Report

Updated May 30

The pick: Bagley

Draft analyst Paul Kasabian disagrees with his colleague Zach Buckley, who last week was one of a few analysts who had Ayton dropping to the Kings. Kasabian has Bagley going second to Sacramento after Ayton's selection by Phoenix.

NBADraft.net

Updated May 24

The pick: Bagley

The site has also switched from its May 17 pick, going from Doncic to Bagley. In comparing him to former NBA star Chris Bosh, analyst Tajh Jenkins writes, "Bagley had a stellar season for the Blue Devils, being named both the National Freshman of the Year and the Pete Newell Big Man of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), while etching his name all over the Duke record books ... High upside but a lot depends on what position he plays, if he can continue to develop his outside jumper, and if he can improve his defensive fundamentals."

Holding court

Some analysts haven't posted updated mocks in the last week, but here's a sample of their recent posts.

The Sacramento Bee

Updated May 16

The pick: Doncic

Kings beat writer Jason Jones has Sacramento taking Doncic, who recently became the youngest player in EuroLeague history to be named MVP. He also was awarded Final Four MVP honors. Jones says Doncic is "a skilled playmaker who has been a star playing for Real Madrid this season."

The Ringer

Updated May 22

The pick: Ayton

Draft analyst Kevin O’Connor is the first to have Ayton available for the Kings. "A star center prospect whose body was built by the basketball gods, with a potentially elite two-way game," O'Connor wrote. He says Ayton shows shades of Patrick Ewing, Karl-Anthony Towns and another former Kings lottery pick, DeMarcus Cousins.

Sports Illustrated

Updated May 21

The pick: Doncic

Draft analyst Jeremy Woo likes what Doncic could do with some of the Kings' current personnel. "Doncic’s aptitude for moving the ball, ability to make reads as a ballhandler and overall developed skill set make him a safe bet to become a quality contributor, and his unselfishness should help set the tone for the rest of the team," Woo wrote. "While the outcome of this pick is far from clear cut, Doncic would actually benefit from playing off of De’Aaron Fox, whose ability to penetrate defenses will generate favorable secondary playmaking opportunities."

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