Thanks to Tuesday's NBA Draft Lottery, we know the Sacramento Kings will pick seventh overall when the draft begins on June 23rd at 4 p.m. Pacific. And thanks to Kings beat writer Jason Jones, we know the players whom the Kings have interviewed at the Draft Combine, which in turn offers some clues as to which position the Kings may address with their first-round selection; they also own the 35th and 60th overall picks.
Jones says Sacramento has interviewed Kawhi Leonard, as well as Alec Burks, Nolan Smith, Brandon Knight, and Norris Cole. Let's make some sense of this.
Sacramento has yet to interview a big man, as one might expect, given that it already has youngsters Jason Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins manning the front line.
Leonard (6-foot-7, 225 pounds) and Burks (6-foot-6, 200 pounds), from San Diego State and Colorado, respectively, are wingmen, but play vastly different styles. Leonard plays more of a power game, as evidenced by his stellar rebound numbers (10.6 per game as a sophomore). Burks, meanwhile, does an outstanding job at creating his own shot; he shot 50.8 percent on two-point baskets this season on his way to averaging 20.5 points. His ability to work himself to the foul line--he averaged 7.9 free-throw attempts per contest--also boosts his efficiency.
Knight is another notable name. The 6-foot-3 point guard averaged 17.3 points and shot a solid 37.7 percent from three-point range--on a whopping 6.1 attempts per game--for Kentucky this season and figures to be a high lottery selection. His talent is obvious; what's less clear is how he might fit in a Kings backcourt which already boasts 2009 Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans.
Smith and Cole are second-round prospects in this draft. Smith, from Duke, averaged 20.6 points and 5.1 assists this season, but his age (22, more than a year older than Evans) relative to his peers at point guard serves as a drawback. Cole, for his part, put up impressive numbers at Cleveland State (21.7 points, 5.8 boards, 5.3 assists) but, like Smith, is already 22.
So far, we know the Kings have looked at two swingmen types and three point guards, which gives us a pretty good idea of just how up-in-the-air this draft is.
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