Coming into the 2022-23 season the Sacramento Kings are looking to make their way into the playoff hunt. With Domantas Sabonis in town, landing the 4th overall pick in this year’s draft, and picking up head coach from the Golden State Warriors, Mike Brown, the Kings have a solid opportunity at doing just that.
Recap of the 2021-22 Season
It’s a new era in Sacramento, with rising star Tyrese Haliburton and 3-point specialist Buddy Hield being traded mid-season for the crafty Domantas Sabonis. With that trade, came a lot of voiced frustration from the Kings’ fanbase. This is understandable, given that Haliburton is showing the signs of a special talent in the NBA. Along with that, Haliburton badly wanted to bring winning basketball to Sacramento.
While this trade seemed to be another confusing decision made by the Sacramento Kings front office, there seems to be some promise for the Kings’ future.
The Kings finished the season with a 30-52 record, 7th worst in the league. On the bright side of that, the Kings were able to land the 4th overall pick in the 2022 draft. Promising talents such as Shaedon Sharpe, Keegan Murray, and Jaden Ivey are all expected to be available at #4. The 2021 Sacramento Kings’ season might not have ended how they wanted, but they were able to build a solid foundation for years to come.
Why did the Kings trade away Tyrese Haliburton?
As mentioned before, the Sacramento Kings traded Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, and Tristan Thompson to the Indiana Pacers for Domantas Sabonis, Jeremy Lamb, Justin Holiday, and a 2027 Second Round Pick.
This trade was questioned around the league for the Kings’ sudden departure from their rising star.
While criticism is deserved, you can see what the Kings are trying to do with their roster. With the drafting of Davion Mitchell, the Kings faced the issue of having too many undersized guards in a league that is moving back towards length. This can be a good problem in circumstances such as the Warriors, but with the lack of a good center on the Kings roster, they had to fill that void. Hence the acquisition of Sabonis. The Kings would not have been able to acquire Sabonis through just trading Fox. They had to shoot for the moon and they sure did.
They made the transition from possibly entering another rebuild to competing for the play-in. Which you can’t fault the ownership for trying to do after not reaching the playoffs since 2006. With a solid core of Fox, Davion Mitchell, Harrison Barnes, and Sabonis, the Kings are looking to add a piece in this draft that will fill out their roster.
Who should the Kings pick at #4 in the 2022 Draft?
The #4 pick is when the draft will actually begin with Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero, and Jabari Smith all being considered locks for the first 3 picks. The pressure to make the correct pick is enormous after missing out on key players in previous drafts (Luka, Trae Young, Jaren Jackson). We like 3 names at the #4 spot for the Kings. Those being Keegan Murray, Jaden Ivey, and Shaedon Sharpe. These young players are our next tier of players in this year’s draft.
Keegan Murray is by far the best fit for the Kings. The 6’8 Forward coming out of Iowa had a breakout season this year for the Hawkeyes. The best player in college is looking to make his transition to the NBA in this years draft. He is a high level scorer at all 3 levels. Shooting 38% from 3 and having excellent body control, he can maneuver his way for a easy layup as well. Along with having a quality scoring profile, his defense is just as good. He can switch onto guards or bigs providing position flexibility. He averaged 2.1 blocks and 1.2 steals in his final college season, which he can easily transition to the NBA due to his strong basketball IQ.
He would fit perfectly at the wing position along Harrison Barnes who plays a very similar to game as Murray. The only issue with this pick is that it is a small reach for the Kings. While Keegan provides a multitude of tools, he is almost 22 (older age for this years draft) and is not the best athlete amongst the other top picks, limiting his potential. He also played in a weaker conference, meaning we don’t know what to expect when he plays stronger competition.
With the 4th pick the Kings could be forced to pick the best player available rather than who fits their team better. In this scenario we would like the Kings to move to the 5th or 6th pick and to also acquire a bench piece for the 4th pick. This way they can improve their bench and also pick the player that best fits their current roster.
Jaden Ivey is the best player outside of the top 3 picks in this years draft. He is the best athlete in this years draft with comparisons to Donovan Mitchell and Ja Morant. He has a paralyzing first step and can jump over your tallest defender. Along with his athleticsm he can also score at a high level. He is a dynamic shot creator who will make defenses play honestly when he isn’t flying to the rim. This sounds like the makings of a star in the league right? We think so, but he does come with faults. He falls asleep on defense a lot, which could be an indicator of laziness. He hasn’t learned how to distribute the ball yet averaging 3 assists and 2.5 turnovers in his sophomore year. These are things he will need to learn, which we don’t see being an issue for Jaden.
In this draft profile video you can just see how athletic and smooth this kid is. The Kings would not be making the wrong decision by drafting this stud. The issue that comes with drafting him is that the Kings face the same problem they had with Haliburton. 3 young explosive guards who are all undersized. This could be fine since they now have Sabonis, but figuring out which guard to prioritize will be a headache in the future.
Shaedon Sharpe is coming to this draft as an unknown compared to his counterparts. He skipped out his freshman year at Kentucky electing to prepare for the draft instead. While this might have been beneficial for him in the long run, it hurt his draft position. He was the #1 prospect coming out of high school, providing similar strengths to Jaden Ivey. Super athletic and can score anywhere on the court. He is a willing passer and showed a solid defensive skillset as well. There aren’t a lot of bad things to say about Sharpe, we just don’t know how he will compete at a higher level.
In Shaedon’s draft profile, you can see his elite scoring prowess. He is ambidextrous around the rim and shows some crafty moves to get him open for a bucket. At 6’5 he is a solid height for the shooting guard/small forward position. He is the next best fit for the Kings alongside Keegan Murray. He could fit into various lineups that the Kings throw out there. We like this pick for the Kings at #4.
Summary of the Kings gameplan for the 2022 season
The Kings should be for sure drafting one of these 3 young prospects to their team. All 3 come into the NBA being ready to produce for a team. The Kings can’t go wrong with either of these guys, so maximizing that #4 pick is what they should be aiming for. They will also have room for a MLE Free Agency signing, so they should be acquiring someone that fills out their bench or can provide steady output in the starting lineup as their young players develop. If the Kings can successfully do these things while also bringing a stronger coaching staff, we should expect the Kings to be in the race for a play-in spot for the coming 2022-23 season.