NBA Mock Draft Round-Up – June 3, 2022
Can you believe that we are less than three weeks away from the NBA Draft?
As we move closer to June 23rd, rumors have started to surface surrounding the top of the draft. Will one of ‘The Big Three’ fall? Could a team near the bottom of the lottery trade up into the top-four?
Some rumors are legitimate. Of course, more are probably smokescreens, but that’s what these weeks leading into the draft are all about.
The Sacramento Kings have been handed a gift in the form of the fourth-overall selection in a draft that the organization hopes can act as a jump-start to a successful campaign in 2022-23.
Kings general manager Monte McNair and his front office must hit a home run on this selection. With De’Aaron Fox entering the second season on his extension and recently-acquired center Domantas Sabonis set to enter free agency in two years, the clock is ticking for McNair to build a winner with ‘The Fox and The Ox’ duo.
In a majority of the past 16 summers, the Kings have selected–and mostly squandered–countless opportunities when selecting within the top-10 in NBA Drafts.
I don’t need to list the misses. I’m sure that they are seared into your brain by this point. This summer, McNair’s job is to ensure that the Kings do not add another name to that dreaded list of misses.
Talent is there for the taking, as many draft experts around the basketball world have shared their Mock Drafts to predict what Sacramento will do when they are on the clock later this month:
NBA Mock Drafts: Sacramento Kings – 4th Pick
ESPN (Jonathan Givony) – Jaden Ivey
Tankathon – Jaden Ivey
The Athletic (Sam Vecenie) – Jaden Ivey
Yahoo! Sports (Raphielle Johnson) – Jaden Ivey
CBS Sports (Colin Ward-Henninger) – Jaden Ivey
Bleacher Report (Jonathan Wasserman) – Jaden Ivey
247Sports (Joal Ryan) – Jaden Ivey
NBC Sports (Tyler Byrum & Chase Hughes) – Jaden Ivey
BasketballNews.com – Jaden Ivey
Sports Illustrated (Jeremy Woo) – Shaedon Sharpe
The Ringer (Kevin O’Connor) – Shaedon Sharpe
NBADraftRoom.com – Paolo Banchero
Final tally: Jaden Ivey (9), Shaedon Sharpe (2), Paolo Banchero (1)
Kings owner Vivek Ranadive was with McNair last week in Southern California as NBA executives took in Purdue standout guard Jaden Ivey’s pro day workout.
Ivey is a player that has made waves around the league over the past week and started to rise in Mock Drafts, with some executives around the league even stating that the 6’4 guard could be selected by Oklahoma City (2nd pick) or Houston (3rd pick).
When it comes down to what Monte McNair and the Kings will do on June 23rd, all signs point to Sacramento selecting the player that they believe to be the best player available–regardless of position.
“We want a guy who’s going to impact from day one, and hopefully for years and years to come,” McNair said last June following the 2021 NBA Draft when Sacramento selected guard Davion Mitchell.
“We want the player who’s going to come in and help us not just for one year, not just five years from now. So, (the) best player for us is the guy who’s going to do that regardless of position and different things like that.”
McNair and the Kings are still looking for that third piece to form a respectable trio with Fox and Sabonis.
Ivey is a player that could bring plenty of athleticism into a backcourt that already includes Fox, who has arguably been the fastest player in the NBA for a few seasons now.
Of course, anything can happen on Draft day. As suggested earlier, several teams below the Kings are said to have eyes for Ivey and will attempt to move up to select the guard.
It isn’t totally out of the realm of possibilities for one of ‘The Big Three’ of Jabari Smith, Chet Holmgren, or Paolo Banchero to fall out of the top three. Unlikely, sure. But not impossible.
Sacramento needs to address several positions this summer, with the starting power forward position possibly being the most glaring hole in the team’s lineup. The starting shooting guard spot is also a question mark, but having Davion Mitchell on the roster and the restricted rights to guard Donte DiVincenzo puts the Kings in a stronger position to fill the roll than the power forward slot.
Banking on one of the bigs to fall isn’t something that McNair should do–and he won’t.
Smith is almost guaranteed to go within the first two picks. Holmgren’s defensive ability and floor-spacing skillset are enough to make jaws drop if he falls past third. It could all come down to a Banchero-Ivey discussion for teams like Oklahoma City and Houston.
In conclusion, NBA Draft takes are very fluid. I’ve joked on social media that my opinions are subject to change on a daily (if not hourly) basis, and I mean it. For those that don’t study college basketball and dive into game film on a more-than-casual basis, the rest of us are learning about these prospects as we go.
Over the past three weeks, I have come to like the idea of selecting Ivey with the fourth pick, because I feel that he will be the best player available.
Sacramento isn’t in a place where they can draft for a singular positional need and plug holes. Players like AJ Griffin and Keegan Murray, that are known to be above-average defenders, could be dark horse picks at 4th, but I think that McNair will stand by his “best player available” stance when the time comes to make a pick.
It’s long been said that it takes around three seasons to truly evaluate an NBA Draft, so any knee-jerk takes will need to be taken with a grain of salt. On paper though, Ivey is a player that many draft evaluators feel confident will thrive at the next level.
All of that being said, this is my current NBA Mock Draft of how I think the top 10 picks will unfold on June 23rd:
- ORL – Jabari Smith Jr.
- OKC – Chet Holmgren
- HOU – Paolo Banchero
- SAC – Jaden Ivey
- DET – Keegan Murray
- IND – AJ Griffin
- POR – Shaedon Sharpe
- NOR – Bennedict Mathurin
- SA – Dyson Daniels
- WSH – Jeremy Sochan
See you next week with another batch of NBA Mock Drafts!