Articles | NBA Draft

2020 Draft Interviews – Day 2

Day 2 of the Draft interviews saw more people mentioning they spoke with the Kings! Progress!

Day Two of the 2020 NBA Pre-Draft interviews and those pesky agents have struck again. There was a lot of talk throughout the day from players not wanting to divulge just who they spoke with or worked out for and so I'm just going to assume the obvious: the Kings are hated by everyone and eat on the playground by themselves during their lunch break. They'll never draft anyone and the attrition from a lack of draft picks and free agents will eventually lead to the team being rescinded back. The end is nigh. Anyways, here's some quick thoughts!

Precious Achiuwa (Memphis)

Now, Precious had previously stated that he'd talked to the Kings prior to the arrival of Monte McNair and was asked again today by Matt George about whether or not he'd been contacted by the Kings. That being said, it's not abundantly clear whether or not he's had any talks with the Kings franchise since the resignation of Vlade Divac, so take his talk of contact with a small grain of salt.

He did, however, mentioned his preference for playing an uptempo style of basketball (mentioning De'Aaron Fox's speed) and in that regard he felt like the Kings would be a great fit. Obviously the man has been too busy to watch this last season's version of the Kings. He also mentioned that he's found joy in breaking down defensive film and sussing out all the little details that he can use to his advantage.

Achiuwa hasn't worked out for Sacramento, but has for the Wizards, Celtics & Heat.

Devin Vassell (Florida State)

The 6'7 guard mentioned today that he has not had contact with the Sacramento Kings and yes, that is a bummer, but he did also say that he felt it would be a blessing to be able to play in Sacramento. Before you get hyped up he said that word "blessing" more than a couple of times during his interview so... keep that optimism in check. This kid has a laid back energy about him. He's an intelligent player on both sides of the ball and wanted to be known as someone who is working hard to improve.

Vassell also addressed the minor controversy that's cropped up recently in regards to a video on Twitter that popped up of Vassell trebucheting shot after shot at the rim, in a large departure from his previous form. Vassell mentioned he hasn't changed his shot and isn't looking to adjust his shot and that the video that was taken was after a long shoot around and from an awkward angle that made his final chucks at the rim even worse than what they appeared. He noted that teams were able to come in and watch him shoot the week after the video leaked, but that while a few teams asked about the video, it didn't seem to concern them.

For a little more on Devin, his former teammate down below had something to say about him as well.

Tyrese Maxey (Kentucky)

Good news! Tyrese has had contact with the Sacramento Kings! Mediocre-to-bad news, he did not specify that he worked out for them. With all that being said, Maxey was the interview of the day for me. First things first, it was a relief to hear a player speak with some enthusiasm about the Kings. He was very quick to mention that he felt they were an up and coming young team and spoke specifically about playing in the backcourt with De'Aaron Fox but also listed Cory Joseph, Bogi and Marvin Bagley. Maxey was a bundle of energy every time he spoke and you can tell the man wants to talk basketball and I could see where he would fit right away in an up-tempo team like how the Kings SHOULD be playing.

He spent a little time discussing his shot and what he felt he needed to improve on and said that he felt that he was a way better shooter  from deep than the raw numbers showed. Not to rest on his laurels, he's also been working hard on getting the arc on his shot consistently higher, even going so far that he's dropping 700 to 800 made shots each workout and doing that multiple times a day.

Jalen Smith (Maryland)

Jalen was one of those players who was told to keep mum on who he's spoken with and who he's worked out for. Smith would however speak on what player he's molded himself after: "I've been a huge fan of Kevin Garnett. The same weight and height, the intensity he brings on the floor. He's someone I look toward for examples of work ethic." He also mentioned that he's been watching a lot of film on Jaren Jackson Jr.

When discussing his ability to stretch the floor, he he mentioned he felt that his shot was really consistent and that "I feel as though my work ethic and my late nights in the gym will be very crucial to help me become a great shooter at the NBA level."

The man's nickname is Stix. I know this because there were multiple questions and follow-ups in his fifteen minute session on his nicknames and whether or not he had any other nicknames and which nicknames he liked the best. Don't ask me why.

Patrick Williams (Florida State)

The fastest climber on draft boards these last few weeks just wouldn't say who he's spoken with or worked out for. That being said,  Patrick Williams did say he felt like he could fit in any system, including the Kings. He also mentioned that his mindset was that he wants to work his way up and that he knew as a rookie he isn't entitled to anything. On the topic of his biggest strength, Williams said:  "Versatility. Being able to play different position... I think in today's NBA you might have Draymond as a 4 or Iguodala as a 4. You saw with the Heat, you saw pretty much all guards on the floor. At 6'8-6'9, being able to do everything."

He was also effusive with his praise of teammate and draft darling of many, Devin Vassell: "Devin can do anything. The transition for all rookies will be tough. The way we're coming in, in a rush. The way he works relentlessly though... his transition will be successful.... He's such a great guy and he's willing to work."

Killian Hayes (Ratiopharm Ulm/Germany)

Hayes says he hasn't had contact or worked out for the Kings going only so far as to state that most of the teams he's spoken to were in the Eastern Conference. Speaking on on what he's improved on during this long draft process, Hayes mentioned: "My body. Also my right hand, I'm throwing bullet passes with my right hands. Also my release is really high now." He also mentioned feeling it was important to inspire the next generation of French basketball players and noted that Manu Ginobli was the player that most inspired him.

We've got some interesting interviews coming today so check back Saturday to see if anyone wants to acknowledge the existence of the Kings gym, or a workout, or a new general manager! Doubt it, but let's dream big, kids!

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Hobby916
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November 13, 2020 8:09 am

Maxey is growing on me. I like guys that work hard and know where they need to improve. Fit with Fox? I don’t know, and I don’t think it matters a whole lot at this point. The Kings just need good players at this point.

Peja
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November 13, 2020 8:49 am
Reply to  Hobby916

I’m feeling the same way about Maxey. I think defensively he already fits next to Fox as he projects to be a strong defender. Offensively we need to know more about his shooting in the NBA. Everyone says they work hard, but Maxey seems like the dude who really works hard and is intense. I would love to have that in the locker room.

Peja
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November 13, 2020 8:51 am

Thanks for these interview overviews Will. These are super helpful to gain a different perspective on players. Love the work you all do at the Herald.

RORDOG
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November 13, 2020 9:06 am

Here’s my assumptions:

  • I’m beginning to think the Kings still have 10 available workouts at their disposal.
  • Hayes, Williams, and Vassell aren’t going to be available at #12
  • A trade down is more likely than trading up
  • Maxey and Hampton are the favorites to get picked at #12
Hobby916
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November 13, 2020 9:10 am
Reply to  RORDOG

I have this feeling that the Kings will trade out of this year’s 1st round and look to add a 1st rounder in next year’s draft instead. That will give McNair more time to evaluate the team, coach, and to scout prospects with his staff…hopefully in what will be more of a normal off-season process.

RORDOG
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November 13, 2020 9:24 am
Reply to  Hobby916

I don’t know if they’ll completely bail on this draft unless that is one part of some bigger draft day trade. So maybe they package #12 + Buddy for incoming salary and a future first, or something like that.

Hobby916
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November 13, 2020 10:33 am
Reply to  RORDOG

Yeah, I was thinking something like that too. Try to find a team that is on the bubble of the playoffs, but could completely fall apart with an injury or just underperforming (Orlando, Phoenix, Memphis, etc). Then the Kings would own their own pick, which will probably be in the top 10, and the other teams pick which will hopefully be in the same range.

RikSmits
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November 13, 2020 9:19 am

First things first, it was a relief to hear a player speak with some enthusiasm about the Kings. 

Get that weak Vladesque stuff out of here.
I couldn’t care less about how eager players are to come here and whether they worked out for the Kings, and I certainly hope that it doesn’t mean anything to Monte.

IMO, these interviews tell us which players are media savvy and that’s about it.

RAP87
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November 13, 2020 9:25 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Agreed. Just because he worked out for the Kings or had some positive things to say about the team does not mean the Kings should draft him. Reminds me a lot of Vlade and hopefully that is not the case with Monte.

Last edited 1 year ago by RAP87
RORDOG
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November 13, 2020 9:40 am
Reply to  RikSmits

I don’t think it’s a bad thing to be relieved to find out there’s at least some mutual interest between your favorite team and a prospect that a lot of people in this community like based on fit and upside.

RikSmits
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November 13, 2020 9:48 am
Reply to  RORDOG

It’s draft speak. The days of the Kobe draft are behind us, and these kids are trained to say positive things about teams who may write their pay checks. It shouldn’t cause one bit of relief.

When was the last time an NBA lottery prospect said negative things about a team that had a realistic shot at drafting him?

RORDOG
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November 13, 2020 10:03 am
Reply to  RikSmits

I think the point is that he seems to have a working knowledge of the situation in Sacramento. Maybe he just loves watching hoop on League Pass, and knows the guard situation in Sac. Who knows? It just appears to me that the conversation(s) with Maxey have gone further than general questions like €œwhere do you see yourself in 5 years?€

RORDOG
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November 13, 2020 10:45 am
Reply to  RORDOG

One small addendum: I just realized that Maxey would know that CoJo plays for the Kings because they’re both with Klutch Sports.

Jman1949
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November 13, 2020 11:16 am
Reply to  RORDOG

And Maxey has said that he has been following Fox since Maxey was 13 years old.

RobHessing
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November 13, 2020 4:16 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

Negative? A while. Nothing? A lot. Positive? More than negative, but less than nothing.

Not seeing the harm here, nor did I read it as being the be-all and end-all. It was just a small piece of the overall, at least the way that I read it.

Greg
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November 13, 2020 12:04 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

I must have missed the part where Will said we should draft him just because he likes Sacramento.

Inthestarz
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November 13, 2020 8:52 pm

Starz are aligning for Maxey

he has maybe the highest floor in our region, absolutely will be a high character solid two way player

maybe higher upsides, but not floors in our range

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