NBA mock draft: Expert predictions for Kings’ No. 4 pick originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea:
The Kings now know they will pick fourth in the 2022 NBA Draft after moving up three spots thanks to a little luck in the draft lottery.
But now, another uncertainty looms over Sacramento. With the No. 4 selection, who will bring the Kings into Sactown to help reshape the franchise and end their NBA-record 16-year playoff drought?
Now that the complete 1-58 draft order is in place after the lottery, draft experts have a better sense of the bigger picture ahead of the June 23 draft.
Here’s a breakdown of what mock drafts around the league believe the Kings will do with their lucky No. 4 pick.
Jaden Ivey, G, Purdue:
Sacramento will be arguably where the draft may turn on its head. Anyone is in play here, I’d think, but if they’re just taking the best available talent, Jaden Ivey should get the nod as a promising potential future lead guard with elite athletic ability. But do they go guard with a lottery pick for the third consecutive year? Shaedon Sharpe, AJ Griffin and even Keegan Murray should all be in play here as well.
Jaden Ivey, G, Purdue:
Ivey’s breakout sophomore year at Purdue established him as the top guard prospect in this year’s draft. At 6’4, 195 pounds with a reported 6’9 wingspan, Ivey is a big guard who can play both on and off the ball. His best attribute is his elite speed – from his blazing first step at a standstill to his ability to burn defenders in the open floor, Ivey is able to create separation from even the most athletic defenders with his burst. He’s also a great leaper around the basket with impressive midair agility who can contort his body and extend his arms for acrobatic finishes. Ivey made a big leap as a shooter as a sophomore – going from 25.8 percent to 35.8 percent this year from three-point range – but will have to continue to prove he can hit shots at a high clip. I’m more bullish than some on his defense because his length and recovery speed can make up for some errors in technique. The big question for Ivey is if he can handle de facto point guard duties, or if a team needs a more traditional floor general next to him. Regardless of that answer, his size, speed, and nimbleness should make him successful on any properly spaced NBA floor.
Shaedon Sharpe, G, Kentucky:
The Kings were among the biggest winners on Tuesday, moving up from No. 7 to No. 4, which puts them in a fascinating position. Presuming the top three bigs are off the board, they may have a tricky choice to make here: Jaden Ivey’s skill set creates some obvious duplication with De’Aaron Fox. And while Sharpe is much less proven, it looks like a natural complement to what’s already on the roster. Having said that, it’s also entirely possible Sacramento could explore trade-back opportunities, considering the franchise’s emphasis on fighting for the playoffs, and the potential value of this selection, considering it may be an opportunity for another team to move into the perceived top tier of prospects and select one. This is an interesting pivot point in the lottery to monitor.
Keegan Murray, PF / C, Iowa:
The Kings will take long looks at both Jaden Ivey, who could create a dynamic backcourt with De’Aaron Fox, or Murray, arguably the best player in college basketball this past season. Murray does not need plays called for him to be effective and should be able to play as a stretch-4 alongside Domantas Sabonis, as well in smaller lineups as a small-ball center with Harrison Barnes. The Kings have said they want to return to playoff contention as soon as possible, and picking an almost 22-year-old All-American will certainly help with that.
Jaden Ivey, G, Purdue:
Picking Ivey this high is all about his upside. He’s the best athlete in the class and was extremely productive this year at Purdue. He has a lightning-quick first step, can power through defenders on the move and finish with explosive leaps at the hoop. The way he uses his speed to create driving lanes and transition opportunities resembles No. 1 pick John Wall early in his NBA career.
Ivey’s main issues are his non-existent midrange game and sub-elite passing skills, both essential skills for an NBA lead guard. If he can not improve those areas, it will be hard for him to take on a primary offensive role consistently. But if those parts of Ivey’s game come together, he could end up as the best player in this class.
The Kings have De’Aaron Fox in place already, but they did just fill the big position with Domantas Sabonis at the trade deadline. I would imagine this is purely a best-player-available situation, depending on which of the top four falls.
RELATED: Sabonis ‘priceless reaction after Kings’ draft lottery luck:
With a new head coach and some fairly new faces who were traded to Sacramento at the deadline, including Domantas Sabonis, the Kings are ready to continue to make the proper changes and adjustments to flip the script and fulfill a winning season come fall.