The Kings jumped up to 4th in last night’s draft lottery. Most draft pundits seem to think the top three picks are pretty much set, which basically means the real draft starts with the Kings at 4. Let’s see what those pundits have to say in their first mock drafts now that the draft order is set.
ESPN – Keegan Murray, F, Iowa
The Kings will take long looks at both Jaden Ivey, who could create a dynamic backcourt with De’Aaron Fox, or Murray, arguably the best player in college basketball this past season. Murray doesn’t need plays called for him to be effective and should be able to play as a stretch-4 alongside Domantas Sabonis, as well in smaller lineups as a small-ball center with Harrison Barnes. The Kings have said they want to return to playoff contention as soon as possible, and picking an almost 22-year-old All-American certainly will help with that.
The Athletic – Jaden Ivey, G, Purdue
Picking Ivey this high is all about his upside. He’s the best athlete in the class and was extremely productive this year at Purdue. He has a lightning-quick first step, can power through defenders on the move and finish with explosive leaps at the hoop. The way he uses his speed to create driving lanes and transition opportunities resembles No. 1 pick John Wall early in his NBA career.
The Ringer – Shaedon Sharpe, G/F, Kentucky
Moving up to the fourth pick puts the Kings in a fascinating position considering owner Vivek Ranadive’s reported mandate for the team to make the playoffs. Could they try to move up, down, or out? This is where the draft gets especially interesting. If they stay put, Jaden Ivey is generally projected as the fourth pick, but the Kings just drafted Davion Mitchell last season and De’Aaron Fox averaged 28.9 points following the Tyrese Haliburton deal. I could see them going in a different direction. Sharpe would provide more of a punch from the wing position with fluidity as an off-the-dribble scorer who can use an array of advanced moves. That alone could make him a top-five pick. Factor in his unselfishness on offense and grit on defense and he has the makings of a potential star.
SBNation – Jaden Ivey, G, Purdue
Ivey’s breakout sophomore year at Purdue established him as the top guard prospect in this year’s draft. At 6’4, 195 pounds with a reported 6’9 wingspan, Ivey is a big guard who can play both on and off the ball. His best attribute is his elite speed — from his blazing first step at a standstill to his ability to burn defenders in the open floor, Ivey is able to create separation from even the most athletic defenders with his burst. He’s also a great leaper around the basket with impressive midair agility who can contort his body and extend his arms for acrobatic finishes.
CBS Sports – Jaden Ivey, G, Purdue
Ivey is an explosive athlete who plays big and is capable of attacking the rim in a variety of ways. As the Kings continue to build, the Purdue star would be a great option at this point in the draft in part because he could reasonably play beside DeAaron Fox.
Sports Illustrated – Shaedon Sharpe, G/F, Kentucky
Based on the buzz at the combine, where Sharpe put on a lengthy pro day workout on Monday that included some dazzling footwork and shot-making, it feels very much like he’s going to hear his name called in the top five on draft night. I’d also scrap the notion that the first four picks are locked in as there’s a very real chance Sharpe crashes the party. He’s an amazing athlete who can create space for himself and is also a gifted shooter—rarely do those things all come in one teenage prospect. There are definitely areas of his game he needs to iron out, and he’s behind his peers in terms of high-level game experience, but Sharpe’s upside is significant to the point where someone is going to take a swing. The Kings will have to think hard about it.
USA Today – Shaedon Sharpe, G/F, Kentucky
He didn’t play a minute of college basketball, so it’s hard to know exactly what you’re getting here.
But sometimes, the intrigue adds to the value of a prospect like Shaedon Sharpe, the top-rated recruit in his class before he reclassified. The Kings could take a worthwhile risk on a pick like this one, and he would be an interesting fit next to De’Aaron Fox and Davion Mitchell.
Sharpe is someone who will use his athleticism to stand out during private team workouts, too.
Bleacher Report – Jaden Ivey, G, Purdue
A backcourt of De’Aaron Fox and Jaden Ivey may be the NBA’s fastest. Unless the Kings become infatuated with Shaedon Sharpe’s upside, or they view AJ Griffin’s shooting as too good a fit, Ivey should get the nod as the best player available. He would give Sacramento a second option capable of putting constant pressure on defenses.