Do the Kings have too many bigs to draft Marvin Bagley III? Not so fast

The Kings have selected a power forward or center in each of the previous three drafts under general manager Vlade Divac.

And guess what? One of the top players expected to be available this year is a power forward.

But if the Kings believe Duke‘s Marvin Bagley III is the best player available with the second overall pick in next month‘s NBA draft, the last three drafts shouldn‘t matter.

Like most lottery teams, they don‘t have a player who is so good they can afford to pass on a top talent like Bagley.


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The Kings‘ biggest needs are on the perimeter, or with their top pick. But if they believe Bagley will be better, the Kings would be foolish to ignore him.

Drafting for need can be a bad move, as the Kings have learned the hard way.

The biggest example was in 2012, when the Kings drafted Thomas Robinson fifth overall with Damian Lillard available. They felt they needed a power forward partly because Jason Thompson could leave in free agency, and they already had a point guard in Isaiah Thomas. Lillard, who would become an All-Star point guard, was selected a pick later by Portland. Robinson is out of the NBA.

In recent years the Kings have shown they‘ll draft without regard to roster needs. They took centers Willie Cauley-Stein and Georgios Papagiannis in 2015 and ‘16, respectively, with their top pick when they had All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins on the roster.

Bagley is rated no lower than the third best prospect by many draft pundits. The 6-foot-11 freshman averaged 21.0 points and 11.1 rebounds and established himself as one of best players in America.

“Bagley is a phenomenal player,” Duke forward/center Wendell Carter said at the NBA draft combine. “He came into the college basketball era and he did what he was supposed to do.”

Cauley-Stein is entering his fourth season and has looked his best at times playing forward instead of center.

The Kings are high on the potential of Harry Giles, who did not play his rookie season while recovering from knee surgeries. But he is a wild card as there is no telling how he‘ll look in game situations.

Cauley-Stein and Skal Labissiere, who had an up-and-down second season, have been inconsistent rebounders, whereas that has been a strength of Bagley‘s game.

The Kings finished 27th in the NBA with an average rebound differential of minus-2.9.

Other top big men expected to be available include Michigan State forward Jaren Jackson Jr. and Texas center Mohamed Bamba. Arizona center Deandre Ayton is a consensus top prospect expected to be taken by Phoenix at No. 1 overall.

The Kings could use another rim protector, as they were tied for 25th with 4.1 blocks per game last season. While Bamba and his 7-foot-10 wingspan would help, it‘s hard to consider a player without a robust offensive game at second overall.

It‘s not easy being a big man entering today‘s NBA with so many teams going away from using traditional centers.

Bamba could become a player like Utah‘s Rudy Gobert or Houston‘s Clint Capela, big men who have grown into important roles, but neither of whom was a lottery pick.

“These are guys who have expanded their game as far as skillset,” Bamba said.

Carter, another one of the top bigs, is doing what he can to fit into the modern NBA, which also means proving he can play offense and defense on the perimeter.

“I‘m starting to lose more weight, trying to fit into the current NBA era,” Carter said.


Here‘s a ranking of the Sacramento Kings best and worst NBA draft decisions in the lottery since 2007, according to the Sacramento Bee‘s Jason Jones. David CaraccioJason Jones