NBA draft prospect Kris Dunn explains why he returned to Providence for senior season
It’s time to have the seemingly annual discussion of whether the Kings will select a point guard in the first round of the NBA draft.
Rarely in the past 10 years have the Kings used their top pick on a point guard, a position that has remained in flux.
The Kings are slotted to select eighth in the first round, which would likely take them out of the running for Providence’s Kris Dunn, widely considered the best point guard in the draft.
Some luck in the lottery could put Sacramento in position to draft Dunn, but if not, the Kings could look to trade up for him or move down to select a point guard later in the first round.
Dunn, 22, averaged 16.4 points and 6.2 assists last season for the Friars. He believes his age and experience in college will aid his transition to the NBA.
“I try to lead by trying to (help) other people to be leaders in their own way,” Dunn said. “I’m one of those guys. I’m selfless, I’m considerate and I try to learn everyone else’s character. That’s the best way to get at it. There’s certain guys you can yell at; there’s certain guys that you can’t. That’s the way to get to know the guys – try to get to know them on the court but also off the court.”
Even if Dunn (6-foot-4, 220 pounds) is not the pick, the Kings need to address point guard at some point. Darren Collison is under contract for next season, but Rajon Rondo will be a free agent.
Seth Curry, who can play point guard, will decline his player option for next season and test free agency. The Kings can make him a restricted free agent with a qualifying offer that would allow them to match any offer sheet and retain him.
Besides Dunn, Kentucky’s Jamal Murray and Tyler Ulis, Vanderbilt’s Wade Baldwin, Washington’s Dejounte Murray and Notre Dame’s Demetrius Jackson are among point guard prospects who could be selected in the first round.
The Kings have failed in attempts to find a floor general in the draft.
Tyreke Evans was selected fourth overall in 2009 and won Rookie of the Year in 2010 playing the point. But after questions about whether Evans could handle the position on a full-time basis, he was dealt to New Orleans as part of a sign-and-trade. He subsequently helped the Pelicans make the 2015 playoffs, primarily playing point guard.
Next was Jimmer Fredette in 2011. Fredette spent most of last season playing in the NBA Development League.
The best point guard they drafted was Isaiah Thomas in the second round in 2011. Thomas made his first All-Star Game appearance as a Boston Celtic this season.
In the past three drafts, the Kings have passed on point guards such as Michael Carter-Williams, Elfrid Payton and Emmanuel Mudiay in the first round.
The Kings could also address the need for another facilitator by finding a smart decision-maker at any position.
They could look at someonelike Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine. At 6-5, Valentine might be considered a shooting guard, but the Spartans relied on him for his versatility. He averaged 19.8 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7.8 assists as a senior and said he’s not concerned what position he plays.
After all, the Kings could use help at shooting guard, too.
“I don’t see myself as a position. ... I kind of see myself as a basketball player,” Valentine said. “If you put me out there at point guard and (ask me to) make plays for other people, run your team, I can.”