Ailene Voisin

Ailene Voisin: Kings’ makeover begins with NBA draft

The Kings already made my week. If nothing else, their rapid exit from trade talks involving Detroit Pistons forward Josh Smith eliminated the night sweats.

Can anyone imagine a more nightmarish scenario than DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay, Isaiah Thomas and Smith together on a basketball court, competing for touches and shots, and conveniently ignoring the wisdom that was imparted during the San Antonio Spurs’ NBA Finals tutorial?

The NBA is a copycat league. One can only hope.

The Kings, who finished last in assists in 2013-14, who won 28 games for a second consecutive year, who were exploited on the perimeter and the interior, need help in a multitude of areas. Keep in mind that the NBA draft is one of three ways teams improve – trades and free agency are the others – and the talent level tonight is widely regarded as vastly superior to the class of 2013.

“I think it’s one of the deepest drafts and one of the most talented that we’ve had in maybe a decade,” longtime ESPN draft analyst Jay Bilas said during a teleconference with reporters. “It’s full of players that can not only come in and contribute, but guys that could be starters and potential stars. We’re one year removed from what I thought was a really bad draft. Last year, nobody wanted to trade in.”

While remaking a team is far more involved than one-stop shopping, tonight is where and when it starts. Unlike a year ago, when employees were still moving in and out of the building during a hasty ownership transition, all the Kings men are in place – the general manager, assistant general manager, special advisers to Vivek Ranadive, the head coach and his staff – and they’ve spent the past several months preparing for the draft.

General manager Pete D’Alessandro also planned to work through Wednesday night pursuing trade possibilities and/or attempting to obtain another first or second-round pick to go with the team’s No. 8 selection.

“We’re really looking in all directions,” D’Alessandro said Wednesday. “That said, this is the NBA draft. You’re always searching for that diamond in the rough. And because the draft is so deep, the thing we feel really good about is that we’re going to come out of it with a good player.”

With the organization’s priorities on playmakers and shooters, and Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker expected to be the first two selections, though not necessarily in that order, here is a look at the players who could be available to the Kings at No. 8:

Marcus Smart:


Dante Exum:

Joel Embiid:

Noah Vonleh:

Aaron Gordon:

Julius Randle:

Doug McDermott:

Elfrid Payton:

Nik Stauskas:

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