Another Kings offseason, another search for a young point guard of the future.
The Kings are again looking to bolster that spot after passing or dealing point guards who might have made a difference.
League observers believe at least five point guards could be selected in the top 10 of the NBA draft next month. If Tuesday’s NBA draft lottery doesn’t hurt the Kings – they’re expected to have two top-10 picks – selecting a point guard is likely and probably necessary.
Sacramento’s top point guards, veterans Darren Collison and Ty Lawson, will be free agents. So finding a floor leader will be a priority. The Kings met with multiple prospects at the NBA draft combine, including Washington’s Markelle Fultz and Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox.
Fultz is considered the top point guard in the draft and Fox is also expected to go high. If selected by Sacramento, Fox would join fellow Wildcats Willie Cauley-Stein and Skal Labissiere, and he knows both of the bigs.
He said Friday he also followed Buddy Hield, who he thought “played extremely well” for the Kings after being traded from New Orleans in his rookie season.
“So I know a little bit about Sacramento,” Fox said. “I just feel like they have a lot of good pieces around and they just need a point guard around to solidify a spot. It’s tough, the (Pacific) division that they’re in, you definitely need a point guard. You play Chris Paul four times, Steph Curry four times, D’Angelo Russell four times, so it’s definitely a tough division.”
The Kings last drafted a point guard in the first round in 2011 when the team picked Jimmer Fredette – even though he was better suited to be a scorer off the ball – in an arranged deal with Milwaukee. They also drafted Tyreke Evans in 2009 to play point guard.
The best point guard the Kings picked was Isaiah Thomas, the last selection of the 2011 draft. Sacramento traded him to Phoenix in 2014, and he went on to become a two-time All-Star for Boston.
Collison, Lawson and Rajon Rondo, now with Chicago, are among veteran point guards the Kings have acquired through free agency.
In his interview with the Kings, Fox asked representatives where they believed the team was headed in next three-to-four years.
“They just feel like if they’re able to get a point guard, somebody who can run the team, they feel like they could do something special,” Fox said. “But like I said, that division is really hard. You’re going to have to have a point guard that’s ready to play every night to do something in that division.”
The Kings are currently slotted eighth and 10th in the first round, and there’s a chance Fox could be gone by then. He’s a part of a deep class of point guards – including Fultz, Lonzo Ball and Dennis Smith – that can all be selected among the top 10 picks.
The Kings could also re-sign Collison or Lawson as short-term answers. But at some point they will need to find a player they want to run the team for years to come.
This could finally be the year.