Here we go again.
If not trading the selection, Sacramento has the No. 4 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. After the consensus top three prospects – Auburn’s Jabari Smith, Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren and Duke’s Paolo Banchero – Purdue point guard Jaden Ivey is the most popular fourth-ranked player. However, the Kings already have De'Aaron Fox and Davion Mitchell at point guard.
The Kings aren’t Ivey’s preferred destination but have proved willing to take players without the benefit of workouts and medical information in the past, doing so as recently as a year ago when selecting Davion Mitchell.
In the event that the Kings elect to hold on to this pick and prefer to avoid the drama associated with picking a player against his camp’s will, the candidacy of Keegan Murray might be gaining steam with head coach-to-be Mike Brown. Owner Vivek Ranadive is also said to be a proponent of selecting him.
But Ivey doesn’t control whether Sacramento drafts him. The Kings should take whomever they deem to be the best prospect. They shouldn’t pass on a superior player because of Fox, who had a down year and has yet to ascend to stardom – let alone because of Mitchell. Overly considering a player’s wishes or fit can lead to mistakes like Marvin Bagley over Luka Doncic.
There could be a huge difference between Ivey not preferring Sacramento – all this report says – and vehemently refusing to join the Kings. Plenty of players get drafted into what they see as a less-than-ideal situation then make the best of it.
Iowa forward Keegan Murray might be a reasonable choice at No. 4 – if selected for the right reasons. Ranadive has reportedly empowered general manager Monte McNair to make decisions like this. McNair has been unafraid to draft players at an already-stocked position. This could all work out fine for Sacramento.
But with external and internal hazards, the Kings are getting challenged yet again.