NBA mock draft: Who Kings are projected to pick in first round

NBA mock draft: Who Kings are projected to pick in first round originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

After the Kings fell just short of the NBA playoffs, the next order of business for Sacramento will be assessing what to do with its 2024 first-round draft pick.

While the Kings could package the selection in an attempt to land a proven veteran player, the option to add an impact rookie on a cost-controlled contract is extremely appealing as well.

Sacramento currently is projected to receive the No. 13 overall selection in the 2024 NBA Draft, but the Kings could potentially move up in the lottery, with a 3.8-percent chance at moving into the top four, and a 0.8-percent chance at nabbing the No. 1 overall pick.

Here’s what a handful of NBA experts project general manager Monte McNair and the Kings will do if they hang on to the pick and end up selecting at No. 13 overall.

Jared McCain, PG, Duke – Freshman

Finkelstein notes Malik Monk’s pending unrestricted free agency, and the need that would arise for another ball-handler if the Kings’ sixth man opted to sign elsewhere over the summer. A potential solution? Drafting a dynamic guard from a blue blood program.

McCain is listed at 6-foot-3, 197 pounds and started 36 games during his lone season suiting up for the Blue Devils. The dynamic guard averaged 14.3 points, five rebounds and 1.9 assists in 31.6 minutes per game, potentially offering Sacramento another scoring threat in the event of Monk’s departure.

Tidjane Salaun, SF, France

“A big wing with a sturdy shooting base and a consistent release, Salaun has quickly become one of my favorites in this class,” Boone wrote.

With the Kings lacking proven depth on the wing behind Keegan Murray, Salaun offers the opportunity to add a perimeter player with size and noteworthy upside. At 6-foot-9, 212 pounds, the French product potentially could slot into either forward position.

The 18-year-old averaged 8.9 points and 4.1 rebounds per game during the 2023-24 season for Cholet Basket in the LNB Pro A — France’s top-flight men’s professional basketball league. Despite being one of the younger prospects in the entire 2024 class, Salaun’s raw-but-promising upside could appeal to Sacramento near the back end of the lottery.

Jared McCain, PG, Duke

“Teams will view McCain as either a scoring combo and secondary playmaker or offensive spark to bring off the bench,” Wasserman wrote.

Similar to Finklestein, Wasserman noted the potential need for Sacramento to replace the playmaking ability it has relied on from Monk over the last two seasons if the dynamic guard departs in free agency. Should Monk sign elsewhere this summer, the Kings would need to replace 15.4 points per game that the 26-year-old averaged in 26 minutes per game off the bench during the 2023-24 NBA season. McCain could be an intriguing option if that need arises.

Ron Holland, G, G League Ignite

“Holland had an uneven season in the G League from an efficiency standpoint, but he is one of the youngest players in the draft and brings impressive intensity and scoring aggressiveness, which makes him a candidate to be picked higher in the lottery depending on how the pre-draft process plays out,” Givony wrote.

Holland is listed at 6-foot-6, 204 pounds, and averaged 19.5 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.3 steals per game for the G League Ignite during the 2023-24 season. The dynamic guard is just 18 years old but boasts tremendous offensive upside and could give the Kings an intriguing option on the perimeter.

Rob Dillingham, G, Kentucky

Kalbrosky also noted the potential departure of Monk as Sacramento’s most pressing need, with Dillingham being a potential replacement. The 6-foot-3 guard out of Kentucky averaged 15.2 points per game for the Wildcats during the 2023-24 season, but more importantly doing so in a role off the bench after starting just one of the 32 contests he appeared in.

Dillinghman checks all the boxes you’d need in a Monk replacement — a crafty playmaker who can create his own offense as well as get his teammates going. Having served in a sixth man role at a big-time program, the transition to similar duties in the NBA might come easier for Dillingham than a player who is used to starting games at the college level.

Zach Edey, C, Purdue

Finally, a mock that is something other than a Monk replacement. Edey was a superstar at Purdue, leading the Boilermakers to a second-place finish in the 2024 NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament. The 7-foot-4 big man everaged 25.2 points, 12.2 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game during the 2023-24 season.

With Edey, the biggest concern remains will his game translate to the next level? What kind of role can he carve out in a league where size alone will not allow you to dictate games the way you can in college. Still, Edey’s pedigree and production make him an intriguing prospect who might be worth taking a roll of the dice on in the lottery.

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