Sacramento Kings

Kings sign top draft pick Justin James, who has shown improvement in summer league

The Kings signed Justin James, right, on Wednesday. James was the team’s first draft pick in 2019, going No. 40 overall.
The Kings signed Justin James, right, on Wednesday. James was the team’s first draft pick in 2019, going No. 40 overall. The Sacramento Bee

The Kings have signed their first selection from last month’s draft.

The team on Wednesday announced the signing of Justin James, who was selected out of Wyoming with the 40th overall pick in the NBA Draft on June 20, which James previously told The Sacramento Bee was “the greatest night of my life, honestly.” Sacramento did not have a first-round selection this year.

Terms were not disclosed, but a league source told The Bee that James signed a three-year minimum contract. The third season is not guaranteed.

James took to Twitter on Wednesday after the deal was announced, writing: “OFFICIAL! Beyond thankful for this great organization for believing in me... #DoneDeal”

His numbers weren’t impressive in the California Classic – he averaged 7.0 points on 25 percent shooting (20 percent on 3-pointers), 4.7 rebounds, 1.0 assists in three games – but the 6-foot-7 guard has played better in the Las Vegas Summer League. In three games, James has gone for 11.3 points while shooting 56.5 percent overall and 33.3 percent from 3-point range. He’s also averaging 2.0 assists and 1.0 steals.

James stood out in his senior season the Cowboys, starting all 32 games and averaging 22.1 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.5 steals en route to leading the Mountain West Conference is scoring average. His 2,061 career points ranked third in Wyoming history and fourth all time among Mountain West players.

The signing is the latest for the Kings, who have had a busy offseason. They announced finalized contracts for guard Cory Joseph on Saturday, swingman Trevor Ariza on Sunday, and center Dewayne Dedmon and forward Harrison Barnes on Monday.

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Noel Harris is a sports reporter for The Sacramento Bee, with a focus on the Kings. He’s been in professional journalism for more than 18 years. His roles have included sports editor at The Modesto Bee and news editor at two smaller California newspapers, as well as online producer and copy editor.
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