Sacramento Kings

Kings mock drafts: A new favorite has emerged with the No. 1 pick all but certain

Deandre Ayton, left, Marvin Bagley III, center, and Luka Doncic are all expected to be high picks in the NBA draft June 21. Ayton is the favorite to be selected No. 1 overall by the Phoenix Suns, which means the Kings could grab Bagley or Doncic at No. 2.
Deandre Ayton, left, Marvin Bagley III, center, and Luka Doncic are all expected to be high picks in the NBA draft June 21. Ayton is the favorite to be selected No. 1 overall by the Phoenix Suns, which means the Kings could grab Bagley or Doncic at No. 2. Associated Press photographs

Is it time for Kings fans to pre-order that No. 35 jersey? More NBA draft analysts are going in that direction.

In this week's roundup of NBA mock drafts, Duke forward Marvin Bagley III has emerged at the favorite to be selected by the Kings with the No. 2 overall draft pick.

The 6-foot-11 freshman averaged 21 points and 11.1 rebounds for the Blue Devils in his only collegiate season while playing in the Atlantic Coast Conference, one of the nation's strongest in college basketball.

Some analysts still like EuroLeague star Luka Doncic at No. 2, but not as many as in previous roundups. The 6-8 Slovenian swingman is praised for his playmaking ability at just 19 years old, but it looks as if several predictions are souring on him, pushing him down as far as fourth in some mocks.

As for DeAndre Ayton, the 7-1 center from Arizona, Kings fans might as well forget it. He's become a consensus No. 1 pick among analysts, and he told the media Wednesday in Phoenix that he won't do any more workouts.

"I know I'm going No. 1," he said after meeting with the Suns.

If the Kings take Bagley and he opts to wear No. 35, he'd be the team's first player in 22 years to do so. But the draft is still two weeks away, tipping off June 21 in Brooklyn. Here's a sampling of what analysts are saying about the Kings' possible pick:

Sports Illustrated

Updated June 5

The pick: Bagley

Analyst Jeremy Woo has the Duke freshman going to Sacramento. However, Kings fans might have added interest in this article, as it's based around speculation of what the team will do if it passes on Doncic. As for Bagley, Woo writes, "They are looking closely at Doncic, but if they pass, Bagley would make for a natural fit. Sacramento isn’t pivoting into full win-now mode anytime soon, but pairing Bagley with De’Aaron Fox gives them an extremely athletic inside-out pairing that should favor an uptempo style. ... There are major strides he needs to make defensively, and in expanding his offensive arsenal (he’s extremely left-handed), but Bagley still does plenty of things well at this stage."

CBS Sports

Updated June 5

The pick: Bagley

Gary Parrish is confident about one thing: Phoenix is taking Ayton at No. 1. After that, it's a toss-up among Bagley, Doncic and Jaren Jackson Jr. "I know I'm in the minority. But let the record show that, if I were in charge of a franchise, I'd probably take Bagley first in this draft. Yes, I understand the concerns about him — specifically that his incredible production at the collegiate level was mostly the byproduct of superior athleticism and quickness to literally everybody he ever played against, point being the 6-11 forward won't be able to just physically overwhelm people as a professional. And, I concede, he's neither an ideal power forward nor center for the modern NBA. ... Simply put, I think he'll figure it out. And I personally project him as a future All-Star."

The Ringer

Updated June 4

The pick: Doncic

The site is one of the few that once had Ayton falling to the Kings. But Kevin O'Connor has swapped Ayton and Doncic, meaning the EuroLeague star is Sacramento's pick. Saying Doncic shows shades of James Harden, Manu Ginobili and Tyreke Evans, a past Kings first-round pick, O'Connor calls Doncic "a basketball prodigy dominating the ACB and EuroLeague as a teenager who could become a game-changing NBA playmaker."

Bleacher Report

Updated June 6

The pick: Bagley

Zach Buckley also had the Kings drafting Ayton in a previous mock. He's switched to Bagley and has moved Doncic from first to fourth in his latest post. "There are questions regarding how Bagley — and a bunch of other prospects in this class — will defend at the NBA level. But there's a more pressing issue in Sacramento: Who's going to score?" Buckley wrote. "Zach Randolph, 36 years old and never a great athlete, paced the 55-loss team with 14.5 points per game this season. ... Fifty-seven qualified players averaged at least that many points, a group that included four different players on the Nuggets and 76ers. Bagley would immediately juice the Kings' 29th-ranked offense."

Holding court

Some analysts haven't published an updated mock in at least the last week, if not longer, so here's a sample of their most recent post.

Updated June 5

The pick: 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."

ESPN (Insider)

Updated May 30

The pick: Bagley

Draft analyst Jonathan Givony switched his pick from a few weeks prior, 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."

The Sporting News

Updated May 28

The pick: Doncic

Analyst Sean Deveney likes Doncic for the Kings. "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."

The Sacramento Bee

Updated May 16

The pick: Doncic

Kings beat writer Jason Jones has Sacramento taking Doncic, who 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."

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