Now we know the picks have swapped. The Sixers will pick at No. 3 in the 2017 NBA draft with the Kings’ pick. Sacramento will choose at No. 5 and also No. 10 following the DeMarcus Cousins trade. Here’s a brand new mock draft.
Yes, that’s right: the Kings are chasing Wes Matthews, Rajon Rondo and Monta Ellis. Matthews is an excellent fit as a top notch defender and deep shooter. He also tore his Achilles tendon in March and is seeking at least $15 million per season. Rondo is reportedly looking for a one year deal to rehab his value which tells you EXACTLY how his season went. And Ellis . well, let’s just say that an offense featuring Monta Ellis and Rudy Gay might set the analytics movement back a decade, okay?
All three have some problems. Better yet, the Kings aren’t even the frontrunner for any of them but Rondo! It’s quite possible that the Kings could strike out with Matthews, who wants to win and has talked with the Mavericks and Raptors, and Ellis, who met with the Pacers. Then what? Rondo shouldn’t break $10 million (God help us if he wants the max). Do you keep chugging down the free agent list to fill that other $16 million in cap space?
You can’t just sit on it. Not after giving up Stauskas, a future first and two pick swaps for it. You can’t sit on it given that just about every other team in the NBA will have enough cap space for a max player a year from now when the salary cap rises 30 percent. You can’t sit on it because if you do, chances are you’re going to continue to be a bad basketball team, and oh look, now you don’t even have your own pick every other year.
Why now? The Sixers weren’t exactly chomping at the bit to use their cap space. Go recruit the free agent targets first, then swing the trade to officially open up space. Agents are smart, even if us louts on the Internet can’t grok how you have the space to offer Matthews $65 million over four years, you can explain your rock solid Hinkie Surprise to the agents. Nope, the Kings just went ahead with the trade and now are trying to poach the free agents. The cart isn’t just before the horse here: the cart has lapped the horse. The horse might be in Vlade Divac’s stables back in Belgrade. The horse may not even exist.
Some are downplaying the importance of the pick and pick swaps in this deal. One argument is that the Kings are horrible at drafting players anyway, so who cares? Well yes, being bad at the draft is a problem! Unfortunately it is the most rock solid method to rebuild in the NBA. Rebuilding is hard with high picks. It is even more difficult without picks altogether.
Hickson was a full blown disaster and actually got waived at midseason. That authentic jerseys for cheap
pick (now owned by Chicago) was quite well protected. It’s now protected in the top 10. The Kings have been garbage enough to retain it in order to pick guys like Stauskas. If it’s not conveyed by 2017, it will become a second round pick.
The argument back in 2011 was that if the Kings lost the pick between 2012 and 2017, it meant the Kings were actually pretty good (or at least not abjectly terrible) and no one would care about the loss of a mid to low first pick. If the Kings never conveyed the first, it would’ve meant that things went horribly wrong and the pick would be beside the point because of all of the other suffering happening in the fan base.