Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield goes to the basket against Denver Nuggets center Mason Plumlee, behind, during the second half of an NBA basketball game, in Sacramento, Calif. The Kings won 116-100. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
NBA.com draft preview by Scott Howard-Cooper
2017 Draft picks: 5, 10, 34
2016-17 record: 32-50, third place in the Pacific division, did not make the Playoffs
Areas of Strength
DeMarcus Cousins is out, Buddy Hield is in and the youth movement is underway – at least the Kings finally have a clear direction. There is that. The Hield after the All-Star break, following the trade from New Orleans to Sacramento, is a very good starting point and part of a team that finished fifth in three-point shooting. Going from that right into two top-10 picks is reason for encouragement heading into another lottery season.
The Kings finished 25th in rebounding percentage even with Cousins for almost half the season, so imagine the possibilities for real problems on the boards. Skal Labissiere needs to continue the trajectory of his 2016-17 second half. Defense remains the eternal problem, turnovers not far behind.
Two Stats That Matter
17-13 — Record in games decided by five points or less, a good outcome for a team with so many young players, especially the second half of the season.
9 — Seasons since the Kings won more than 33 games.
The Way to Go
“This is the right year to have two picks in the top 10, in a deep draft and with several candidates at point guard, a position of need, and small forward, a potential need. De’Aaron Fox, Dennis Smith, Josh Jackson or Jayson Tatum would all make sense at No. 5, with the chance to circle back and address the other position at No. 10.” Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com
2016-17 Team Stats (points per 100 possessions, with NBA rank)
Offensive: 104.6 (tie 20th)
Defensive: 109.1 (tie 26th)
G: Arron Afflalo
G: Buddy Hield
G: Malachi Richardson
G: Garrett Temple
G: Anthony Tolliver
F/C: Skal Labissiere
C: Willie Cauley-Stein
C: Kosta Koufos
C: Georgios Papagiannis
G: Darren Collison (unrestricted)
G: Langston Galloway (player option)
G: Ty Lawson (unrestricted)
G: Ben McLemore (restricted)
F/G: Tyreke Evans (unrestricted)
F: Rudy Gay (player option)
Recent Draft History
2016: Marquese Chriss (8), traded to Phoenix; Isaiah Cousins (59).
2015: Willie Cauley-Stein (6)
2014: Nik Stauskas (8)
2013: Ben McLemore (7), Ray McCallum (36)
2012: Thomas Robinson (5), Orlando Johnson (36)
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