It was easy for me to get on board with the Kings drafting Tyrese Haliburton last year despite already having point guard De’Aaron Fox as franchise player.
Like Sacramento, I believe in prioritizing talent over fit when drafting. I was also high on Haliburton. Plus, I thought he was miscast as a standard-issue point guard and would fit well with Fox.
The Kings drafting Davion Mitchell No. 9 this year? That’s tougher to get behind.
I was lower on Mitchell overall. He’s not an easy fit with the incumbent backcourt.
But Mitchell has already shown signs he’ll exceed my pre-draft expectations. It’s definitely way too early to render a verdict on him. At minimum, I salute the Kings sticking with their plan to take the best long-term prospect available (unless they actually took Mitchell as a quick fix to their woeful defense in a bid to end their 15-year playoff drought).
Sacramento’s logjam at center is less excusable.
The Kings did well to re-sign restricted free agent Richaun Holmes for the Early Bird Exception (four years, $46,522,560) and let his agent spin the deal as more lucrative.
But trading guard Delon Wright for center Tristan Thompson was awful value. Wright is younger and better than Thompson and plays a more-premium position.
The swap looks even worse with Sacramento signing Alex Len (two years, $7,650,600), guaranteeing Damian Jones‘ minimum salary, partially guaranteeing Chimezie Metu‘s minimum salary, drafting Neemias Queta No. 39 and keeping Marvin Bagley (insert small forward joke here).
Though primarily focused on point guard and center, the Kings at least addressed the wing. They re-signed Terence Davis (two years, $8 million) and Maurice Harkless (two years, $8,912,580).
Davis looked good with the Raptors and is just 23. But he carries baggage, which is why Sacramento got him so cheap. Hopefully, he gets everything on track.
Harkless, entering his 10th NBA season, has been declining. He’ll add necessary depth if the Kings are somehow ahead of schedule and ready to compete for the postseason.
They probably aren’t, though.
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