The Sacramento Kings are coming off a disappointing season, especially when expectations around a young team were starting to brew. They finished 12th in the West at 31-41 in 2019-20, and replaced GM Vlade Divac after he stepped down in August.
New GM Monte McNair is tasked with helping head coach Luke Walton transform this budding core into a playoff team. That won’t be an easy task. Last season, the Kings struggled against top tier teams; it doesn’t take an MIT grad to understand 10-23 against opponents above .500 simply won’t cut it.
With the 2020 NBA draft set to take place Wednesday, and with the Sacramento Kings currently holding the No. 12, 35, 43, and 52 overall picks, what does Sacramento need to finally break the glass and reach the playoffs again?
Well, let’s look at some of their key decisions coming up this offseason.
The biggest decision is what are they going to do with restricted free agent Bogdan Bogdanovic. Bogdanovic’s name has been attached to several contenders looking to add the shooter’s services — meaning his price tag is rising rapidly. Whatever Sacramento’s plan is for Bogdanovic, it surely should impact what they do in the draft.]
The next decision is what to do with the 12th overall pick. Sacramento could look to package this pick in a deal for a veteran star, since they do have four picks in this year’s draft. Or, they could add another young piece to their already developing nucleus.
De’Aaron Fox has solidified himself as one of the best young point guards in the NBA, but he needs more help.
Sacramento could look to add a big man if they aren’t confident in Marvin Bagley’s ability to stay on the floor. If they do, names to look for include Florida State big man Patrick Williams, Precious Achiuwa of Memphis, and Aleksej Pokuševski, the 7-foot prospect by way of Greece.
Another direction they can go is the perimeter. The Kings have a weakness at their wing spot. A ton of wings should be on the board when Sacramento makes its pick; Isaac Okoro, Aaron Nesmith, and Devin Vassell could be ideal targets.
Okoro of Auburn is a physical wing and phenomenal on-ball defender with has the athletic ability to guard multiple positions. Okoro projects to bring an immediate impact to the defensive end of the floor and is a developing shooter.
Vanderbilt’s Nesmith is an interesting prospect. He does not project to be a good defender on this level, but his scoring ability is undeniable. Arguably the best shooter in this year’s draft, Nesmith averaged 23 points per game and shot more than 52% from deep.
Florida State’s Devin Vassell is another option at No. 12. He’s a long athletic defender who can make jump shots. He shot 41 percent from long range last season and should continue to grow as a shooter.
It’s going to be an important few weeks for the Kings. McNair has his hands full in his first offseason.