2012 NBA Mock Draft: Kings Select Harrison Barnes In First Round

The Sacramento Kings showed signs of promise this past season and will have yet another high pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. Despite moving down in the lottery the last few seasons the team held strong on Wednesday night, getting the No. 5 pick in the first round.

Most believe the Kings will either go with a wing or big man with their selection, and the latest mock draft from Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated has Sacramento going with small forward Harrison Barnes.

As potentially potent as a Drummond-DeMarcus Cousins pairing might be, I'm told the Kings are more likely to take a more proven player like Barnes. Free-agent small forward Donte Greene has never panned out like the Kings hoped, and the trade for veteran swingman John Salmons last summer didn't work either. Ditto for small forward Omri Casspi, the 23rd pick in 2009, who was traded to Cleveland last summer. Sacramento moved Tyreke Evans from point guard to small forward this season, but his long-term future with the team is uncertain (he has one season left on his rookie contract and could be a restricted free agent next summer). Barnes may not become an All-Star, but the consensus from personnel men I've spoken with is that he'll be a productive scorer and shore up a team's small forward spot.

Barnes does seem like a pretty safe pick, but he lacks the upside that many teams value when drafting this high. He also would solidify the weakest spot on the Kings' roster, which could be very appealing to general manager Geoff Petrie.

There have also been a few rumors of the Kings dealing their pick to acquire a proven player on the wing, but those have mostly been unconfirmed up to this point. Given their large amount of salary cap space, you can bet the bosses in Sacramento will be an active bunch in the coming weeks.

For more on the Sacramento Kings be sure to check out Sactown Royalty and SB Nation Bay Area. For more on the NBA Draft in general, please visit SB Nation's dedicated NBA hub.

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