Most general managers wish they could turn back time or have a magic wand to get a do-over once they make a mistake in the Draft, either because the player they choose doesn’t turn out to be good, or because they pass on a future superstar.
That has happened to a lot of teams throughout the course of history, but it seems like the Sacramento Kings are systematically missing on top-tier talents in the Draft, and that’s one of the reasons why they struggle so much.
So, even though Vlade Divac has made a great job over the last couple of years to turn the franchise around, there are still several mistakes that keep biting them in the rear. Today, we’ll let you know about the 6 stars they passed on during Draft night:
2013 NBA Draft: Ben McLemore
Ben McLemore was supposed to be a superstar coming out of college, so naturally, the Kings took him with the 7th overall pick. Still, the athletic freak out of Kansas failed to take a step forward on his development and is now roughly a role player after bouncing around the league over the last couple of seasons.
The Kings would’ve fared way better had they turned their attention to Giannis Antetokounmpo, but to be fair, most teams passed on Giannis and saw him as a 2nd-round talent at best. Therefore, the Kings could’ve taken CJ McCollum instead, who was picked 10th overall by the Portland Trail Blazers.
2014 NBA Draft: Nik Stauskas
The Sacramento Kings turned their attention to the Canadian sharpshooter out of Michigan, taking him with the 8th overall pick as the alleged second coming of Kyle Korver. Needless to say, this was a huge mistake by the Kings, as Stauskas wasn’t even with the team a couple of years later after struggling to knock down shots and being a liability in the defensive end.
But, what makes taking Stauskas 8th overall even worse is the fact that the Kings could’ve gone with Zach LaVine instead, who was drafted 13th overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves and is now blossoming as a deadly scorer.
2015 NBA Draft: Willie Cauley-Stein
Willie Cauley-Stein was supposed to become a top-tier rim protector and dominant rebounder like Tyson Chandler, but DeMarcus Cousins’ presence stalled his development early on, and a lot of people questioned his engine, feel for the game and commitment, especially in the defensive end of the floor.
The Kings pretty much wasted that 6th overall pick in the big man out of Kentucky, and they should’ve used that pick to draft Devin Booker instead, who slipped all the way to the 13th spot and fell right into the Phoenix Suns’ lap.
2017 NBA Draft: Zach Collins
The Portland Trail Blazers were entitled to the 10th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, so they used him to get Zach Collins out of Gonzaga and immediately traded him to the Portland Trail Blazers in return for Harry Giles and Justin Jackson.
Not only this was a mistake because of the fact that Collins is a solid player who’s yet to break out, but because they could’ve used that pick to land Donovan Mitchell instead. Mitchell was taken 13th overall by the Utah Jazz and was, by far, the biggest steal we’ve seen in the past couple of years.
2018 NBA Draft: Marvin Bagley
And finally, taking Marvin Bagley will be a mistake that will haunt the Kings for years. Don’t get me wrong, Bagley was a consensus top-3 pick for over a year and has a lot of talent, but picking him as high as 2nd overall was a major reach, especially with Luka Doncic still on the table.
Divac allegedly didn’t take Doncic because he didn’t like his dad, and while Bagley may actually turn into an All-Star, Doncic looks like a once-in-a-lifetime kind of talent. A De’Aaron Fox-Luka Doncic backcourt would be a nightmare for opposing defenses for many years to come. But hey, it is what it is.