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never draft anyone and the attrition from a lack of draft picks and free agents will eventually lead to the team being rescinded back.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!