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Monte McNair says it will always be about the best player available

We learned a little more about McNair's direction with the team in his post-draft media session

Monte McNair’s first big test as the new general manager of the Sacramento Kings began this week as the NBA trade moratorium was lifted on Monday and the NBA Draft occurred just a few days later. As the draft approached Wednesday evening news broke that the deal between the Kings and Milwaukee Bucks that would have sent Bogdan Bogdanovic away for Donte DiVincenzo fell apart – not exactly comforting as your team is about to be on the clock for the No. 12 pick.

McNair had the comfort of preparation on his side though as he said his team had triple the amount of intel reports and double the amount of video reports as usual. His team also interviewed more than 90 players. They were prepared for every scenario because, as he said, this year’s draft was hard to predict. He thought if they had a chance to get Tyrese Haliburton, the talented passing guard out of Iowa State, it “would be fantastic.”

That soon became a reality as the San Antonio Spurs selected Devin Vassell right before them, leaving Haliburton to the Kings at 12.

McNair said the No. 1 priority in the draft was just to try to add talent, and made it a point several times on his media Zoom call Wednesday night that he was focused on best player available. The skillsets and criteria he looks for in a player are competitiveness, versatility, shooting and speed.

"Tyrese Haliburton, just an incredible talent,” McNair said. "A very good passer, a good shooter, he can finish, offensive rebounds, he's really got a versatile skillset on that end. And then defensively, I think he can guard multiple positions. The way the league is going with switching, he can do that as well and play both guard spots.”

With the 43rd pick in the second round, McNair took Jahmi’us Ramsey out of Texas Tech.

"Jahmi'us Ramsey, knock-down shooter, and he's got great strength, athleticism, can defend, tough-nosed defense, very competitive, led his team scoring as a freshman, we're really excited to add him as well,” McNair said.

The new Kings general manager says he’s trying to build a smart, competitive team on both ends of the floor. Given the franchise is currently in the hands of point guard De’Aaron Fox, the natural question is how the selection of Haliburton, another guard, fits with him. McNair took the question as an opportunity to confirm he wants the Kings to play with pace and again mentioned he is focused on best player available when drafting.

"We're happy that he [Haliburton] fits the style of play we want, but first and foremost, he was the best talent available to us and we don't pass up talent. I think he'll be a great complement to De'Aaron, I think they're going to be a great tandem on both ends. But yeah, we’re really excited to add him. First and foremost for his talent, but certainly for the style of play that we want to do as well,” he said. "The league is going to multiple ball handlers. I think a lot of the great teams these days it's not just one guy out there, you need multiple guys that can push the pace, that can handle on offense, create for others and themselves, and I think Tyrese can obviously play with or without De'Aaron or anybody else on our roster. So, really excited to see how he fits in."

In Haliburton’s post-draft media session, he said he thinks he is a great fit with Fox and that they both want to play fast and push the tempo.

When asked about the Bogdanovic deal falling through with the Bucks and Bogi reportedly choosing to enter restricted free agency on Friday, McNair simply praised him and brought it back to the draft and reaffirmed his point of taking best player available.

"Bogdan is a great player, great shooter, great playmaker, you know, obviously a great talent, but yeah tonight in the draft it was just about best player available like it always will be and we were really excited like I said, when Tyrese was there as well as Jahmi'us in the second round. We're always looking for talent and we'll add that whenever we can,” he said.

You have to hand it to McNair for being able to stay on message. He is very stoic and straightforward, which made his deadpan joke about head coach Luke Walton pretty entertaining. He was asked about what he looks for in second-round picks. With a straight face he said he was just talking to Walton about this.

"Our goal is to get a better player than Luke,” he said, cracking a smile. Walton was the 32nd pick in the 2003 NBA Draft. He followed that up with: “No, in the second round you can really find talented players and it's an opportunity to find some guys who maybe have flown below the radar and a talent like Jahmi'us in the second round is really exciting to add to our team. Sorry coach Walton, I think he will be better."

Overall, outside of the praise for his picks, McNair did a few things in this media session: he made it a point to tell everyone he will always take best player available in the draft, he reaffirmed that he wants the team to play with pace, and he prioritizes competitiveness, versatility, shooting and speed.

Much more is likely to happen between now and opening day next month, but certainly landing Haliburton appears to be a good start for the new Kings general manager.

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ArcoThunder
14 days ago

Let me first respond to the headline of this article by saying one simple word…

Good

Brown.says.Good.or.Bad

This is Good

TheGrantNapear
14 days ago

Would’ve been nice to have Monte as our GM for the 2018 draft. Thank you Vivlade.

C9877B0B-1F92-43ED-A549-844F542AA931.jpeg
Kosta
14 days ago
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

Two years two late:

“…he was the best talent available to us and we don’t pass up talent.”

Anyway, this is a good start to the McNair McnERA!
comment image

TheGrantNapear
14 days ago
Reply to  Kosta

Indeed, looks like we finally have a smart, competent GM.

andy_sims
14 days ago

Weird that there’s no mention of Woodward. Is he possibly being moved?

I’m also curious whether McNair would have taken Vassell had he and Haliburton both been available at 12. I’m think he stays with Tyrese, as all the projections had him going much sooner.

Keep adding talent, hard to go wrong with that unless it’s eight power forwards.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
14 days ago
Reply to  andy_sims

Yeah , I’d like to know what the Kings big board was had Haliburton not fallen to them. I doubt we will even know.

eddie41
14 days ago
Reply to  Adamsite

I’d like to know if he would have drafted Luke Walton at #60.

fire_voisin
14 days ago
Reply to  Adamsite

Someone asked for a Kings draft board?

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PlayoffModeT
14 days ago
Reply to  andy_sims

He couldnt speak on Woodard because the trade with Memphis was still pending.

andy_sims
14 days ago
Reply to  PlayoffModeT

Ah, you are exactly right.

Then he should’ve devoted twenty minutes to Tillman. We don’t want our cover being blown if Memphis gets blabby.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
14 days ago

So what is up with Nemanja? Kings keeping him?

Also, any word on what happened to the last 2nd rounder the Kings traded away? Was it simply for cash?

Last edited 14 days ago by Adamsite
andy_sims
14 days ago
Reply to  Adamsite

My understanding is that Houston bought it, or traded Harden to us for it. One of those.

BestHyperboleEver
14 days ago
Reply to  andy_sims

They apparently sent us a future 2nd + $1MM for it.

RORDOG
14 days ago
Reply to  andy_sims

lol Monte McNair sold Houston’s pick back to them then.

Klam
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
14 days ago

Is this a dream hearing those words coming out of a Kings GM’s mouth?
comment image?itemid=13267290

ArcoThunder
14 days ago

My second response is this:

I love that we have a competent GM finally. The differences from him to Vlade are in another stratosphere. I’d love to here an interview with Ken Cantanela about the differences in the Draft process between Vlade and Monte. I know it will never happen but I’d break out the popcorn for that interview.

Really excited about these three young guys plus Marvin Bagley III and Kyle Guy getting some run and watching this youth develop.

If Monte can some how lure Giles back then I’ll be even more excited. This is what I want our 10 man rotation to be. Trade everyone else for future draft picks and young players to fill in the rest of the roster.

PG: Fox, Guy
SG: Haliburton, Ramsey
SF: Bazemore, Woodard
PF: Nemanja, Giles
C: Bagley, Holmes

there will be a lot of losing but they’ll play fast, hard and smart. I can easily get behind that. Plus they’ll likely get a very high draft pick. Let the build begin!!

Last edited 14 days ago by ArcoThunder
Kosta
14 days ago
Reply to  ArcoThunder

McNair:comment image

Divac:comment image

Last edited 14 days ago by Kosta
andy_sims
14 days ago
Reply to  Kosta

Too far.

Otis
14 days ago
Reply to  Kosta

Divac:
comment image

Last edited 14 days ago by Otis
BeTheBall
14 days ago

As I listened last night, this is the only thing that was a stand-out take away for me. It made so happy to hear. BPA should absolutely be the thought process, especially when you’re as devoid of talent at this roster is.

RobHessing
14 days ago

The fact that he would not discuss Woodard is…refreshing.

Kosta
14 days ago
Reply to  RobHessing

Sounds like a coverup. Someone get Woodward and Bernstein on the phone.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
14 days ago

He we go! Thinks are about to happen.

Otis
14 days ago
Reply to  Adamsite

Wow, you have to have some guts to opt out of $34 million.

ForKingsandCountry
14 days ago
Reply to  Otis

He must know he’s getting a long term deal somewhere else. And boy that hurts for the Celtics to lose him for nothing because I believe they are hard capped so saving that money does nothing for them.

Otis
14 days ago

I assume so. Still would be difficult, because that deal isn’t signed yet. And we’ve seen how things can change.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
14 days ago
Reply to  Otis

I expect a sign and trade so they recoup some value in him.

ForKingsandCountry
14 days ago
Reply to  Adamsite

If he opted out, can they still sign and trade him? What is the order of operations to make that happen?

Last edited 14 days ago by ForKingsandCountry
richie88
14 days ago

I read that they could sign him & then trade him to his new team. I believe it’d be similar to what happened w/Durant & Russell last offseason.

Last edited 14 days ago by richie88
Kosta
14 days ago
Reply to  Otis

Gordon putting the ‘FREE’ in Free-agent.

Last edited 14 days ago by Kosta
andy_sims
14 days ago
Reply to  Adamsite

He’ll manage to get a deal that will pay him more over the term of the contract, but with his injury history, I’d want all kinds of threshold performance incentives in the deal. Minutes played, points scored, all of that crap. Hayward could easily become a millstone contract.

richie88
14 days ago
Reply to  Adamsite

That’s surprising.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
14 days ago

Holy shit, that’s a lot of money in tax. They do know they likely aren’t going to have any fans in the seats in SF, right?

$80M in tax…for Oubre. He’s not getting them a title.

jlandweh
14 days ago

Most likely can’t speak about Woodard until the trade is finalized. Hopefully, the word on the Bogi deal is a smoke-screen for tampering violations. I’d like Divincenzo over nothing for Bogi (assuming the poison pill contract is coming from Atlanta).

If we can somehow trade CoJo for a solid PG/C or even sign one…this lineup can get really fun. Maybe Len, Bazemore, Giles, or someone else comes back.

Fox, _______ , Ramsey
Hield, Halliburton, Divincenzo
Barnes, Woodard, Jefferies
Bjelica, Bagley, Parker
Holmes, ______

I just imagine a lineup of Fox, Haliburton, Hield, Woodard, and Bagley running the floor. Not many wins but a whole lot of fun.

realjc
14 days ago

It’s so refreshing to have competency back in the front office. Hopefully Vivek has finally learned and will get out of the way for his own good.

SPTSJUNKIE
14 days ago

Can I just say how almost hilarious and almost sad it is that we have been subjected to so many years of bad GMing between Vlade, Pete, and even the end of the other GM’s reign (can’t bring myself to disparage his name) – that even the most basic, common sense lines from McNair sound brilliant and are cause for celebration.

Interviewer: McNair – what’s your approach to leading a front office and team building?

McNair: I believe in drafting talent. Always taking the best player available. Getting more talent than you give in trades. Handing out reasonable contracts. Studying film and doing research. Answering the phone and talking to GMs of other teams. Assembling a credible staff. And winning basketball games.

Kings’ fans: This man is a god in human form. He posses a wisdom of the game that no man who has ascended the throne in Sacramento has possessed for centuries All praise the book of Morey.

Otis
14 days ago
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

People want leadership…they’re so thirsty for it, they’ll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there’s no water, they’ll drink the sand.

Kingsguru21
14 days ago
Reply to  Otis

There’s rarely a bad time to quote that line.

andy_sims
14 days ago
Reply to  Otis

God damn, I could really go for some sand right about now.

NorCalKingsFan
14 days ago
Reply to  andy_sims

I can’t even tell the difference

andy_sims
14 days ago
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

I think any ridiculous front officing by Petrie was entirely about the Maloofs trying not to go bankrupt.

A guy like Jeff Petrie doesn’t just wake up stupid one morning.

SPTSJUNKIE
14 days ago
Reply to  andy_sims

I think you are partially right, but he’s also the GM and unless he was just a figure head and they were making the selections, he still made errors even in drafting.

And while I think he was greatly limited by the Maloofs, I also think he went from being one of the best GMs of a certain generation to being left behind as we started to move into the analytics revolution and a new wave of GMs entered the game.

But I will always love Petrie and have the utmost respect for him and how he assembled the one good Kings team of my lifetime.

kgdobter
14 days ago

Best player available….what’s happening?

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