Top 5 prospects expected to be available with Kings' 8th pick
The Kings hope to add defense, passing, shooting and athleticism through trades, free agency or the draft this offseason.
Sacramento could trade the No. 8 pick in Thursday’s NBA draft for a veteran who could help immediately instead of taking a young player needing time to develop. But assuming the Kings keep their choice, three players in the draft best fit the team’s needs.
Passing and perimeter defense
Kris Dunn, point guard, Providence
Dunn, a two-time Big East Conference Player of the Year and a second-team All-American last season, is considered the best point guard in the draft. Dunn, 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, averaged 16.4 points, 6.2 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 2.5 steals and shot 44.8 percent as a junior last season.
16.4 Kris Dunn’s scoring average at Providence last season
Considering the Kings’ problems defending both guard positions, Dunn’s defensive mindset would be welcome. Sacramento also needs a long-term solution at point guard with Rajon Rondo expected to leave via free agency.
Dunn, however, is projected to be selected before the Kings’ slot, so they likely need to move into the top five to have a shot at him. If Dunn is not available, the next best option at No. 8 would be Wade Baldwin, a 6-4, 202-pound guard from Vanderbilt. He averaged 14.1 points, 5.2 assists and 4.0 rebounds as a sophomore last season.
Buddy Hield, shooting guard, Oklahoma
The Kings selected shooting guards in recent drafts, including Michigan’s Nik Stauskas at No. 8 in 2014 and Kansas’ Ben McLemore at No. 7 in 2013.
Sacramento traded Stauskas to the Philadelphia 76ers after his rookie season, and McLemore, though the primary starter the past three seasons, hasn’t convinced the Kings he’s their long-term solution at the position.
25.0Buddy Hield’s scoring average at Oklahoma last season
If Hield is available at No. 8, the Kings might take another chance on a shooting guard with their top pick.
Hield, 6-4 and 214 pounds, averaged 25.0 points and shot 50.1 percent as a senior last season, and he could be the player most ready to help a team immediately. If the Kings take him, he probably would open the season as the starting shooting guard unless a veteran arrives through a trade or free agency.
Guard depth and versatility
Jamal Murray, shooting guard, Kentucky
Like Hield, Murray has proved he can score. Murray also should be able to handle some point guard duties.
Murray, 6-5 and 207 pounds, averaged 20.0 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 35.2 minutes per game as a freshman last season. He would give the Kings a much-needed scoring threat and increased athleticism at shooting guard.
Summer league schedule – The Kings open their summer league schedule July 8 against the Toronto Raptors at Cox Pavilion on UNLV’s campus.
Summer league culminates with the championship July 18. The Kings won the title in 2014.
The Kings also will play the Houston Rockets on July 10 and the New Orleans Pelicans on July 11 before the tournament portion of summer league. Every team will play at least five games, and teams are seeded for the tournament based on the first three games.
There will be 23 NBA teams and an NBA Development League Select Team competing in summer league.
Butler is coming back – Veteran forward Caron Butler has exercised $1.5 million player option and will return to the Kings next season, his 15th in the league.
Last season, Butler played in just 17 games and averaged 3.7 points.
Changes in Reno? – The Kings are close to hiring former NBA guard Darrick Martin to coach their D-League team in Reno.
Martin would replace David Arseneault Jr., who coached the Bighorns the last two seasons.
Martin played two seasons (1999-2001) with the Kings, and Vlade Divac, now the team’s general manager, was among his teammates.
- When: Thursday, 4:30 p.m.
- Where: Barclays Center,
- New York
- TV: ESPN, 4 p.m.
- No. 1 pick: Philadelphia
- Kings’ picks: Nos. 8, 59