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2012 NBA Draft: Latest Mock Draft Projects Harrison Barnes To Kings

The Sacramento Kings could go numerous ways at the 2012 NBA Draft on Thursday night. A wing such as Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or Harrison Barnes could be a nice fit on the roster, but both players appear destined for picks two through four. A power forward such as Thomas Robinson could be a very imposing addition alongside DeMarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson, but he also may be off the board.

Bradley Beal is arguably the most talented player in this year's class, but he'd be overkill in Sacramento given their depth at the shooting guard position. Unless the Kings choose to deal Tyreke Evans, Beal seems very unlikely.

Here is the latest mock draft from Draft Express. They have the Kings going with Harrison Barnes from North Carolina.

Sacramento's front office and coaching staff are reportedly leaning toward the player who can help the most next season. They do not have the job security to wait on a prospect like Andre Drummond who could take two to three years to develop. With that in mind, Barnes is both the safest and most logical pick here considering how weak the Kings are at small forward, despite the fact that he refuses to work out for them (like everyone else in the top five).

Trading the pick to a team like Houston (or someone else) as part of a deal involving Kyle Lowry, Tyreke Evans and the Nos. 14 and 16 picks appears to be a real option according to numerous NBA executives, but Sacramento reportedly hopes to find a better alternative and has stalled on pulling the trigger. If Houston were to trade up, it appears that Drummond would be the target, which could cause Barnes to fall as far as Toronto's pick.

I also cannot see the Kings taking a big man such as Drummond with hopes to develop him, especially with Cousins and Thompson already forming a formidable front court.

Barnes would address the need of shooting and a legitimate option for the Kings on the wing, although his defense could leave something to be desired unless he improves greatly. After being one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA last season, a guy such as Michael Kidd-Gilchrist could be a perfect fit due to his defensive-minded approach and toughness.

Discuss Barnes with Kings fans by heading on over to Sactown Royalty. Talk about Barnes with North Carolina fans by checking out Carolina March.