Like I said earlier, there's isn't that much wrong with how the Sacramento Kings performed in the 2011 NBA Draft. They acquired solid players in areas of need, they got the player most of them wanted to get, and did nothing out of the ordinary. You'd figure they'd get a B grade or something nondescript.
Well, that's not how it turned out for them because of what happened outside the picks. Tom Ziller, SB Nation NBA writer and Sactown Royalty editor, had this to say about the performance of the Kings last night.
Synopsis: The Kings traded Udrih, an affordable point guard with two years left on his deal, for Salmons, an underachieving wing on a bad three-year deal. The problem: the Kings traded down three picks for the honor. It made no sense when the Kings pulled the trigger, and it makes no sense now. The explanation will be that Salmons is solid and a better fit given the Fredette pick. But the Kings traded Salmons two years ago in a cap dump. He's older, worse and more expensive now. He can't be that good.
Fredette's a fit, so long as we're ignoring defense. Are we ignoring defense? OK, then. The Jimmer is a good fit.
Honeycutt was a steal at No. 35, and Thomas can make an impact from the No. 60 spot. But the Kings could have taken all of those players and Fredette without the needless, counterproductive Salmons-Udrih deal. The Kings tried to sort out a logjam on draft day, and failed.
You have to admit the whole situation is strange. Salmons does bring some things to the table, but the Kings have already danced with him once, and it was far from a beautiful union (there were no tears shed when he left). Why not keep working on a deal that gets you younger players on a young team and have them grow as a group? Salmons is another stopgap who won't be around long enough to have a discernible impact on this team.
Still, despite all that, Salmons does become the team's best option at the three (particularly his versatility in guarding multiple positions), and will probably be starting the opening night of next season. He gives the Kings a movable trading piece in Omri Casspi, and Sacramento can hopefully use that to shore up either the power forward or point guard position.
How do you grade the draft of the Kings? Let us know in the comments!