Kings Blog

Who drafted better? Reflecting on a decade of mocks, and how the Kings compared

Jason Jones thought the Kings would call Kawhi Leonard's name on draft day in 2011. They instead opted for Jimmer Fredette.
Jason Jones thought the Kings would call Kawhi Leonard's name on draft day in 2011. They instead opted for Jimmer Fredette. Special to The Bee

More often than not, the NBA draft fails to deliver for teams.

There are far more cases of players who didn't reach their potential than those who become Hall of Famers. Lottery picks flop. First-round picks fall out of the league quickly. Second-round picks disappear.

That doesn't stop everyone from doing their best to figure out what every team should do in the draft.

Figuring out my mock drafts for the Kings is usually about the best player available. But I also look at the makeup of the roster: What's the glaring need, and is there a prospect who can help? I make my share of phone calls and talk with a lot of people I respect for insight on players, too.

The Kings agreed with me a couple times, but a lot of times they didn't – or the player I like wasn't available.

Here's a look back at the hits and misses by the Kings and myself over the years.


My pick: Tyreke Evans, G, Memphis

Kings' pick: Evans

After speculation the Kings would target Ricky Rubio, it became clear the Kings wanted a player who could help immediately and weren't sold on Rubio. Evans made sense and he went on to win Rookie of the Year.

This draft, however, is known for who was selected seventh, Stephen Curry.


My pick: DeMarcus Cousins, C, Kentucky

Kings' pick: Cousins

The Kings needed the best player available and some attitude, so this was an easy choice.

The Kings landed an All-Star here. Even with all the turmoil surrounding the franchise and some of the drama Cousins contributed to, he became one of the best players in the NBA. The Kings traded him to New Orleans last February as part of their latest attempt to rebuild.


My pick: Kawhi Leonard, F, San Diego State

Kings' pick: Jimmer Fredette, G, BYU

The Kings had a roster of one-on-one scorers and not enough defenders, so Leonard made the most sense to me. There were concerns about his offense, but given the roster, the Kings would have been fine with a player that didn't need to score to make an impact.

That was Leonard, a defender, rebounder and a player who could impact the game in many ways. Fredette was reluctant to play off the ball, was eventually waived by the Kings in 2014 and is a star in China.


My pick: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, F, Kentucky

Kings' pick: Thomas Robinson, F, Kansas

A year after passing on Leonard, I figured the Kings would be lucky if another defensive-minded forward fell to them. Instead, Robinson slipped to the Kings at five, just ahead of two players who would become All-Stars. Damian Lillard was picked sixth and Andre Drummond eighth.


My pick: CJ McCollum, G, Lehigh

Kings' pick: Ben McLemore, G, Kansas

The Kings needed shooting and McCollum was arguably the best shooter available. So again, Portland benefited from the Kings passing on a player.

McLemore spent four seasons with the Kings, departing in free agency to Memphis.


My pick: Aaron Gordon, F, Arizona

Kings' pick: Nik Stauskas, G, Michigan

Another case of my thinking a good talent might slide to the Kings, this time at No. 8. Gordon didn't, and the Kings selected a shooting guard again, one who would be traded after his rookie season.


My pick: Emmanuel Mudiay, G, China

Kings' pick: Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky

The Kings needed a point guard (again) and Mudiay was considered one of the top prospects. Vlade Divac, in his first draft as general manager, opted for a player who was supposed to be able to help teams defensively, even as a rookie.

Mudiay hasn't panned out, and Cauley-Stein is not the consistent defender the Kings made him out to be. Cauley-Stein has become more focused on improving his offense.


My pick: Jaylen Brown, F, Cal

Kings' picks: Georgios Papagiannis, C, Greece; Skal Labissiere, F, Kentucky

No one seemed to know where Brown would land. He ended up going third overall to Boston, and the Kings still lack an athletic wing who can defend.

Sacramento traded down to select Papagiannis, Labissiere and the draft rights to Bogdan Bogdanovic.


My picks: De'Aaron Fox, G, Kentucky; Zach Collins, F, Gonzaga

Kings' picks: Fox; Justin Jackson, F, North Carolina; Harry Giles, F, Duke

The Kings desperately needed to land a point guard, and at five, Fox was an easy choice. The Kings had the 10th pick from trading Cousins, so I thought a young big to build with made sense.

The Kings turned that pick into Nos. 15 and 20 in a deal with Portland to pick up Jackson and Giles.

We break down the five biggest booms and five biggest busts at the No. 2 overall pick in NBA Draft history. The Sacramento Kings have that spot for the 2018 draft.

Here's a ranking of the Sacramento Kings best and worst NBA draft decisions in the lottery since 2007, according to the Sacramento Bee's Jason Jones.

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