The Sacramento Kings have had some tough times lately. They haven’t made the playoffs since 2006 and haven’t won a playoff series since 2004. Unluckily for them, it doesn’t think like that tough patch is going to change any time soon.
The Kings haven’t done the greatest job in the NBA Draft lately. They couldn’t hold on to DeMarcus Cousins and did land a stud in De’Aaron Fox but it feels like they always find the way to miss on superstar caliber players despite always taking a part in the lottery.
Drafting isn’t an exact science and it’s normal to strike out from time to time. But if you take a look at the players the Kings could have taken, it’s hard to give them the benefit of the doubt. Today, we’re going to let you know about the top 7 Draft mistakes the Sacramento Kings have done in the past 11 years.
2009 NBA Draft
Tyreke Evans (4th pick) over Steph Curry (7th pick)
To be fair, Stephen Curry was overlooked by several teams. In fact, the Minnesota Timberwolves passed on him twice to take Ricky Rubio and Johny Flynn, so perhaps you could give them a pass. Even so, drafting Tyreke Evans fourth overall may seem like a bit of a reach, to say the least.
Evans had an impressive first year and won the Rookie of the Year award. That was it. That was his peak and he’s not even in the league anymore. Stephen Curry went on to become a 2-time MVP, 3-time NBA Champion, and the greatest three-point shooter of all time.
2011 NBA Draft
Bismack Biyombo (7th pick) over Kawhi Leonard (15th pick)
Gregg Popovich took a major gamble on Kawhi Leonard. He traded away George Hill as he thought The Klaw could provide some nice wing defense right away but he admitted that he never thought Leonard would end up becoming the two-way superstar he is nowadays.
The Kings were entitled to the 7th overall pick of the 2011 NBA Draft and could have taken Kawhi, who slipped all the way to 15th. Instead, they drafted Bismack Biyombo and immediately traded him to the Charlotte Hornets for Josh Salmons and Jimmer Fredette. Yikes!
2013 NBA Draft
Ben McLemore (7th pick) over Giannis Antetokounmpo (13th pick)
Once again, it’s hard to give the Sacramento Kings or any team a tough time for passing on Giannis Antetokounmpo. Giannis was an unknown prospect who looked 2 years away from being ready. He was raw and most people saw him as a 2nd-round pick.
The Bucks risked it all by taking him 13th overall and it paid off big time. The Kings had the 7th overall pick in that 2013 NBA Draft and used it on Ben McLemore, who struggled at Sac-Town for 4 seasons before leaving for the Memphis Grizzlies.
2014 NBA Draft
Nik Stauskas (8th pick) over Zach LaVine (13th pick)
Ben McLemore clearly couldn’t help the Kings compete so they were once again a lottery team in 2014. They had the 8th overall pick and were clearly wary about McLemore, so they wanted to add yet another shooting guard to their roster.
They used their pick on sharpshooter Nik Stauskas, who’s not even in the NBA anymore after years of struggle on both ends of the floor. Instead, they could’ve had leaned towards Zach LaVine out of UCLA, who fell to the Timberwolves’ lap at 13.
2015 NBA Draft
Willie Cauley-Stein (6th pick) over Devin Booker (13th pick)
It’s crazy to think that 13 teams passed on Devin Booker back in 2015. They should be ashamed. I mean, I know I would have quit my job if I had the chance to take Book and simply decided not to, just like, you know, the Sacramento Kings did.
The Kings had the 6th overall pick of the 2015 NBA Draft and used it on Willie Cauley-Stein. Cauley-Stein never flourished into the dominant rim protector they hoped he was going to be, while Booker is now one of the top-tier scorers in the league.
2017 NBA Draft
Zach Collins (10th pick) over Bam Adebayo (14th pick)
Bam Adebayo is a late bloomer. It’s easy to understand why so many teams slept on him during the Draft night, and coach Erik Spoelstra deserves a lot of credit for the way he’s developed him into one of the most promising two-way big men in the league.
The Heat took Adebayo with the 14th overall pick of the 2017 NBA Draft, while the Kings used their 10th overall pick on Zach Collins. Then, they traded him to the Portland Trail Blazers for Harry Giles and Justin Jackson. Drafting Collins over Adebayo was a mistake, and then trading him to the Blazers was even worst.
2018 NBA Draft
Marvin Bagley (2th pick) over Luka Doncic (3rd pick)
Luka Doncic has already proved that passing on him is a decision that’s going to haunt the Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, and even perhaps Atlanta Hawks until the end of time. The guy is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of talent and even though the class of 2018 was pretty good, none of them sits in Doncic’s table.
Vlade Divac and the Kings reportedly passed on Luka because they didn’t like his father. They went with injury-prone tweener Marvin Bagley III instead, who’s constantly missing time with nagging pains. Fast-forward to this day and Luka is already making a case for being one of the best 5 players in the NBA, and he’s just getting started.