2011 NBA Draft: Sacramento Kings Take Jimmer Fredette, Warriors Take Klay Thompson

The 2011 NBA Draft will provide the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings with an opportunity to build for the future. Both teams are at cross roads in their respective histories, which makes this year's draft all the more important. We'll provide a rundown of trade rumors, news updates, draft picks, analysis, and grades. For more discussion of this year's draft and the players who are a part of it, head over to SB Nation's NBA Draft blog, Ridiculous Upside, to get in on the action. For more on the Warriors head over to Golden State of Mind and for more on the Kings head over to Sactown Royalty.

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2011 NBA Draft Results: Sacramento Kings Pick Jimmer Fredette, Tyler Honeycutt, Isaiah Thomas

If we talk essentially about how the draft portion of the 2011 NBA Draft went (redundant? Yeah, but you don't know the half of it.), the Sacramento Kings did just fine. They shored up positions of need at point guard and small forward, plus added more scoring options on a team that struggled to generate offense at times last season. They look stronger on paper than they did last season, and these picks can contribute in minor, even major ways to keep the trend upward in the California state capital.

  • Jimmer Fredette, 10th pick, first round (traded from Milwaukee): Jimmer provides another option at point guard and a scoring option at shooting guard. He no longer has to handle the ball for huge minutes and can play off the ball more to get his shots. He can also play point at times and spell Tyreke Evans and Pooh Jeter.
  • Tyler Honeycutt, 35th pick, second round: Honeycutt provides another option at the small forward position along with Francisco Garcia and the newly-acquired John Salmons. It probably spells the end for Omri Casspi in Sacramento unless the Kings plan on sending Honeycutt to the D-League to develop.
  • Isaiah Thomas, 60th pick, second round: Thomas becomes Sacramento's fourth option at point guard behind Evans, Fredette, and Jeter, with the potential to eventually work his way to the backup point at some point in his career. Thomas could make the team or could spend a year in the D-League developing, but Sacramento could use some depth at point guard with the departure of Beno Udrih.

We've been covering the Kings in the 2011 NBA Draft. For more detailed discussion, head over to Sactown Royalty for your Kings discussion.  

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2011 NBA Draft Results: Sacramento Kings Take Isaiah Thomas, PG, Washington Huskies

The Sacramento Kings wrapped up the 2011 NBA Draft by taking a player many speculated would drop to them, Washington Huskies point guard Isaiah Thomas. Thomas provides the Kings some nice point guard depth now that Beno Udrih is gone, although Sacramento probably needs to find another starting #1 unless they really plan on putting Tyreke Evans back at the point. 

Thomas is certainly undersized, but he has solid speed and has proven he can finish in the paint. He's good at scoring at many spots on the floor. Thomas has also proven that he can adjust and adapt year-by-year, improving from his freshman season to becoming a solid producer (perhaps second best only to Derrick Williams in the conference) in the Pac-10. Thomas could very well become to the Kings what J.J. Barea was to the Dallas Mavericks--a small but speedy guard that flusters other teams off the bench.

Kings fans, do you like the Thomas pick? Let us know in the comments, and further discuss the pick at Sactown Royalty!

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2011 NBA Draft Results: Sacramento Kings Pick UCLA Bruins Forward Tyler Honeycutt

The Sacramento Kings were apparently thoroughly convinced they needed to upgrade at the small forward position, believing that Omri Casspi and Francisco Garcia wouldn't be enough. First they acquired the rights to John Salmons, which gives them a legitimate starter at the three (whether Kings fans like him or not). And now, UCLA forward Tyler Honeycutt is headed up the I-5 to NorCal. 

Honeycutt definitely possesses many physical skills, but he was a mercurial player with the Bruins. There were times where he looked like the best player on the court, and there were times where he totally disappeared on the court. His effort was uneven, and he's a bit slight in size. 

This logjam at the three position means that it's likely either Casspi or Garcia could be on their way out, or Sacramento might be dealing Salmons soon. Don't expect Sacramento to still have a small forward glut when training camp begins (whenever it begins).

To discuss the result with Kings fans, Sactown Royalty is the place to go.

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2011 NBA Draft: Klay Thompson, not Kawhi Leonard, Always On Warriors Radar

Soon after the Warriors drafted Klay Thompson, Warriors GM Larry Riley held a press conference about the newest addition (for now) of Golden State (via Tim Kawakami). Riley re-iterates Thompson’s pedigree several times as to why he was their man. When asked about Kawahi Leonard, a player many are comparing to Gerald Wallace, Riley says he was “never an option”:

RILEY: Leonard was not an option. He was never an option on my list. It’s just probably a difference of opinion with some other people. But I felt that we needed a guy with an NBA skill in Klay Thompson and that’s where we went.

So no disrespect to Kawhi, but he wasn’t somebody that we had considered for that 11th pick. There’s all kinds of scenarios that were flying around. Had we moved back, there was a spot for him.

I, personally, was hoping the Warriors took Leonard given what many people were saying about his toughness, strength, defense, and rebounding abilities. Isn’t this something the Warriors are missing? It’s not as if he was an offensive void or anything either. But Riley adds that Thompson’s versatility, offensively, was why they think he can step in right away:

Not really from the standpoint that we feel that Klay is a player who can play both the 3 and the 2 and if you look at our roster at this stage, we’re going to have some room for a back-up 3. That may be a way for Klay Thompson to get more minutes.

I’m a bit confused by some of the strange signals if not contradictory comments of what the Warriors need and expect from their first round pick. On the one hand, at least Riley is admitting that they’re going to start developing their first round draft picks (something that didn’t exist in the past, see Brandan Wright, Anthony Randolph, Ike Diogu, et al.). But at the same time, they recognize Thompson’s defensive liabilities and are willing to deal with it as it comes up (see rest of press conference).

With that said, are the Warriors still prioritizing a more high-octane offense and defense second?

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2011 NBA Draft: Warriors Get Jerry West's Guy, Klay Thompson

Looks like the Warriors are listening to their new consultant Jerry West. By snagging Klay Thompson, the Warriors have gotten the player that many analysts and scouts consider to be the best shooter in the draft. Based on Draftexpress.com, it looks like they’re putting the ball in Stephen Curry’s hands and having great supporting players around him that compliment Curry’s skills:

A go-to scorer at the college level who uses a good number of possessions, the biggest initial question for Thompson is how big of a transition he’ll have to make in the NBA. The good news is that unlike many high-scoring college players, he isn’t really a dominant ball-handler and already is used in multiple situations operating off the ball.

Relying heavily on his perimeter shot (308 jump shots compared to 123 shots around the basket in the half court this season according to Synergy), Thompson is constantly moving without the ball and coming around screens, showing a great knack for finding open areas of the floor and being multi-capable once the ball gets in his hands. Making quick decisions and showing good scoring instincts, Thompson doesn’t usually have the ball for that long before it leaves his hands.

With all the questions this past season over who should handle the ball, Monta Ellis or Curry, this information about Thompson seems to show the Warriors trying a more calculated strategy of finding players that don’t need the ball to be effective. Both Curry and Ellis struggled when they weren’t fully involved and Thompson looks like a player that can compliment Curry or Ellis’ dribble penetration.

Having that ability to move and get open off screens will take pressure off Curry and Ellis as well. But then again, last time the Warriors wanted someone of this skill, they drafted Mike Dunleavy Jr.

Lets hope he’s not Mike Dunleavy Jr.

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2011 NBA Draft Results: Golden State Warriors Pick Klay Thompson, SG, Washington State

The 2011 NBA Draft is underway and the Golden State Warriors selected Washington State shooting guard Klay Thompson with the 11th overall pick. The 21-year old scoring guard put up 21.6 points, grabbed 5.2 rebounds per game and dished out 3.7 assists per game, all while earning an All-Pac 10 nod. It's worth noting that he is the son of former NBA player Mychael Thompson who spent most of his career in Portland, but also played for the Spurs and Lakers towards the end.

Jay Bilas discussed Thompson after the pick and described him as easy to play with and a willing passer. Given the shooting tendencies of Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry, it's nice to know they'll have a passer amongst their guards. Of course, at 6-7 maybe he ends up battling Dorell Wright for small forward playing time? If the Warriors don't deal away Ellis or Curry I've got to assume Thompson will be moving around a bit.

ESPN's NBA scouts put together a breakdown of his positives and negatives as follows:

Positives

  • One of the best shooters in the game
  • Deep range on his jumper
  • High basketball IQ
  • Can handle the ball
  • Excellent passer
  • Terrific free throw shooter

Negatives

  • Lacks elite explosive athleticism
  • Needs to add strength
  • Needs to improve ball handling
  • Struggles in conference play

We'll be here covering the Warriors work in the 2011 NBA Draft. For more detailed discussion, head over to Golden State of Mind for your Warriors discussion.

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2011 NBA Draft Results: Milwaukee Bucks Take Jimmer Fredette For Sacramento Kings

The Sacramento Kings have been high on Jimmer Fredette throughout the pre-draft weeks, and now it looks as if the MIlwaukee Bucks have ensured that he's heading their way. The Bucks picked Jimmer with the tenth pick, and he's on his way to Sacramento with the tenth pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.  Jimmer will provide more instant offense for the Kings, and he should be a great offensive complement with Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins as they continue their rebuilding effort. 

That's not to say this was an unanimous decision for the Sacramento management. Sources close to the situation state the Kings coaching staff is not happy with the Jimmer pick, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. The Kings wanted a veteran guard like Tony Parker or Raymond Felton to help boost the team immediately, and they wanted Sacramento to improve quickly, probably to ensure they all keep their jobs. But enough people in high places seem enthralled by the Jimmer phenomenon, and here he is.

It does make you wonder why Sacramento would trade down to get Jimmer and take John Salmons's awful contract when they could have drafted him at seven, but oh well.

Kings fans, are you happy with the Jimmer pick? Let us know in the comments!

To discuss the Kings, head to Sactown Royalty.

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2011 NBA Draft Picks: Sacramento Kings Pick Bismack Biyombo, Likely For Charlotte Bobcats

The Sacramento Kings have apparently completed their three-way trade with the Charlotte Bobcats and the Milwaukee Bucks. The Kings took Bismack Biyombo from the Congo with the seventh pick in the first round of the 2011 NBA Draft. Biyombo is not a player the Kings expressed too much interest in leading up to the draft, leading us to believe Sacramento is drafting for Charlotte, who liked Biyombo's athleticism and upside. 

This means Sacramento will probably end up with the tenth pick. The Milwaukee Bucks will select for the Kings. Two players the Kings are interested in (Kawhi Leonard, Jimmer Fredette) will probably be available at their position, and it's likely that the Kings will take one of them. Expect Sacramento to take Jimmer, who the Kings management and coaching staff have expressed very high praise for as a basketball player.

To discuss the Kings, head to Sactown Royalty. To discuss the BobcatsRufus on Fire is the place to be

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2011 NBA Draft: Kings Take Jimmer Fredette at #10, Warriors Take Klay Thompson #11?

The proposed 3-team trade between Kings, Bucks and Bobcats raises some interesting questions about who the Kings will pick and how this affects the Warriors. Chad Ford, via Twitter, tells us that the Kings, at the new #10 slot, are leaning heavily towards Jimmer Fredette to fill their point guard position. If this is the case, Warriors Beat Writer Marcus Thompson II of the Bay Area Sports Groupbelieves that this means that Klay Thompson is more in play than ever.

Of course this doesn’t necessarily mean that this is what is necessarily going to happen. Marcus Thompson II Tweets that the Bobcats are not moving up to the #7 pick, formerly of the Kings, for Marcus Morris.

All this really seems to mean little as far as who the Warriors will most likely pick at #11 given that the players and pieces between 3-10 are interchangeable. Everyone seems to want Klay Thompson and Marcus Morris since they seem to be the most “NBA ready” given their skill sets that can immediately transfer (Thompson’s shooting and Morris’ defense and rebounding) to the NBA.

My guess is that Michael Jordan is about to making a huge blunder, which he thinks will be a hit for the marketing purposes, by trying to take BOTH Morris brothers with his picks. Did he not learn from the Adam Morrison debacle to start this career with the Bobcats?

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2011 NBA Draft: Kirk Lacob Says Warriors Take Best Player Available

Over the years the Warriors tend to draft to fill a need. But given how poorly the Warriors have played lately, they have a ton of needs, which is probably why there are no clear prospects besides the rumored Klay Thompson that Jerry West allegedly loves so much. Kirk Lacob, the twenty-two year old son of owner Joe Lacob and Director of Basketball Operations for the Warriors, notes that the Warriors wil take the best player available :

“Our draft strategy is that we need to accumulate talent,” he said. “We’re not a good enough team yet, that we need a missing piece. We just need talent, so we’re going to take the guy that is the best player available.”

Not a bad idea given the epic failures in the last 15 years or so of drafting to fill a need (post-Sprewell quality character guy in Todd Fuller and many other failed big men for rebounding and defensive purposes). Drafting the best player available or for need is an on-going conundrum year-to-year around draft time for all teams. But taking a look at teams like the Portland Trailblazers, who seem to have endless barrage of quality swingmen, shows the value of stockpiling talent and how they can be used for leverage in the future.

Perhaps the Warriors are trying to mimic the Portland Trailblazers? If so, who would be the best player available? Jeremy Tyler anyone?

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2011 NBA Draft & Trade Rumors: San Antonio Spurs, Sacramento Kings Discussing Tony Parker

More trade rumors! Will they ever end?

The San Antonio Spurs had an ignominious first round exit after finishing with the best record in the Western Conference last season, bowing out to the Memphis Grizzlies in six games. Memphis exposed San Antonio's inability to get rebounds and play solid defense down the stretch with Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, and the Spurs might be looking to the future (essentially the post-Tim Duncan era) and how they can best cope with their current deficiencies.

Their most valuable trading chip is point guard Tony Parker. At 29, Parker is still a solid slasher and a starting point guard in the league, and the Spurs might dangle him for the option to land more draft picks. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reports that two teams that have inquired about Parker include the Sacramento Kings (with the seventh pick) and the Toronto Raptors (with the fifth pick).  The Kings need a point guard, and you'd figure they'd give up Beno Udrih and the 7th pick if they were to land Parker. As for what they'd do with the pick, the Spurs might have their eye on Kawhi Leonard or Chris Singleton to try move back to the defensive orientation that won them titles, but that's all speculation.

Should the Kings do whatever it takes to get Parker, even if it means giving up the 7th pick? Should the Spurs make a deal with the Kings to get that pick? Let us know in the comments, NBA fans!

For more coverage of the Kings, Sactown Royalty is your place to be. For more coverage of the Spurs, hit up Pounding the Rock.

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