Steinmetz: Can Kings draft impact at No. 7?

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Steinmetz: Can Kings draft impact at No. 7?

June 22, 2011

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Matt Steinmetz
CSNBayArea.com

It's been too many years in a row for the Kings with these high draft picks. At some point, you'd think one of these top selections would help propel the Kings into the NBA playoffs -- and out of the lottery -- right?Well, come Thursday, it will be another June draft for the Kings and another selection near the top. But the plain truth is that nobody expects this year's pick -- the No. 7 overall -- to have the kind of impact of their past two selections.And that's the cold, hard reality facing Kings general manager Geoff Petrie and the rest of the franchise. In the past two drafts, the Kings have hit home runs -- with Tyreke Evans in 2009 and DeMarcus Cousins in 2010 -- and yet as good as both have been, they weren't good enough to get Sacramento out of the doldrums.Neither was Spencer Hawes nor Jason Thompson, a pair of lottery picks selected in 2007 and 2008, respectively.
Now put two and two together. This year's draft is considered one of the weakest in memory and the Kings are drafting in a worse spot than they have each of the past two years.RELATED: NBA Draft central
The bottom line is it's difficult to envision the Kings coming out of Thursday's draft in a significantly better spot than before it started.If the Kings have one thing going for them it's that they have a building block in place in the frontcourt (Cousins) and in the backcourt (Evans). Logic would suggest the next step for the Kings would be to find a small forward -- or more broadly a perimeter-type player.No wonder San Diego state small forward Kawhi Leonard is someone the Kings are looking at. From a practical standpoint, Leonard would seem to make the most sense. He's a long 6-foot-7, plays extremely hard and is an above-average athlete.Leonard also may be the best rebounding small forward in the draft, and his work ethic is unquestioned. At the same time, Leonard is limited offensively, and his shot has a long way to go. He's not someone who is going to come in and have a big offensive -- or defensive -- impact immediately.RELATED: Steinmetz's small forward positional previewThen again, not many draftees will.Also in the mix in Sacramento is BYU guard Jimmer Fredette, a consensus college player of the year and a member of virtually ever All-America team out there. Fredette doesn't fit exactly what the Kings need, and yet he's just intriguing enough and fits just enough that you've got to consider him.Fredette is a two guard who will likely have to play point guard in the NBA to reach his full potential as a player. The Kings already have Beno Udrih, who is under contract for two more seasons, and, of course, Evans. Could a three-guard rotation of Udrih-Evans-Fredette work?Well, it might not be perfect, but if Fredette turns out to be the real deal, then Sacramento could have a little something there.NEWS: Kings reportedly talking trade for Spurs' Parker
The Kings also might have an opportunity to draft Jonas Valanciunas, an intriguing Latvian center who some consider the best big man in the draft. Valanciunas is not likely to make it to the NBA until 2012-13 because of some buyout issues in his contract.Still, waiting one year -- and a possible lockout year, no less -- doesn't seem like that big of a deal to a Kings team that likely won't be competing for a playoff spot in 2011-12 anyway. Center Samuel Dalembert is a free agent and isn't likely to return to Sacramento. That alone could get you to make a case for Valanciunas.But no matter whom the Kings draft, there's pretty much no way he'll pitch in early as much as either Evans or Cousins. That's why you get the feeling the Kings will be in the same position come next June's draft.

Instant Replay: Warriors end drought vs Cavs in dominant fashion

Instant Replay: Warriors end drought vs Cavs in dominant fashion

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- The Warriors got a measure of revenge Monday, and it wasn’t enough to simply beat the Cleveland Cavaliers.

No, they annihilated the Cavs, rolling to a tip-to-buzzer 126-91 victory before a roaring sellout crowd at Oracle Arena.

Six Warriors scored in double figures, with Klay Thompson putting in 26 points to lead the way. Kevin Durant tossed in 21 points, Stephen Curry 20, Andre Iguodala a season-high 14, Shaun Livingston a season-high 13, and Draymond Green added 11.

The Warriors (35-6), who took a 109-108 loss to the Cavs on Christmas Day in Cleveland, evened the season series at one game apiece and snapped a four-game losing streak to the Cavs, dating back to Game 5 of the NBA Finals last June.

The Warriors committed 15 turnovers, but held Cleveland to seven points off the giveaways. Moreover, the Warriors clobbered the brawny Cavs on the glass, outrebounding them 58-35.

LeBron James scored 20 points to lead the Cavaliers (29-11), who were limited to 35.2-percent shooting from the field.

STANDOUT PERFORMER

On a night when most everybody was magnificent, special mention goes to Green for his spirit, his statistics and also his ability to knock James off his game.

Green posted his third triple-double of the season. His line: 11 points (4-of-6 shooting from the field, 3-of-4 from the line, 13 rebounds, 11 assists and a career-high-tying five blocks). He played 35 minutes and finished plus-43.

TURNING POINT

After Cleveland got within five at 19-14 with 4:41 remaining in the first quarter, the Warriors responded with a 23-8 run to go up 42-22 with 11:17 left in the second quarter.

The Warriors outscored the Cavaliers 41-27 in the first half and took a 78-49 lead at intermission.

The Cavs got no closer than 22 (99-77, 10:06 remaining) in the second half.

INJURY UPDATE

Warriors: No injuries were listed and none was reported.

Cavaliers: G J.R. Smith (R thumb fracture) and F/C Chris Andersen (R ACL surgery) were listed as out.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Warriors return to action Wednesday night, when they face the Oklahoma City Thunder at Oracle Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30.

New chapter unfolds in Draymond-LeBron saga

New chapter unfolds in Draymond-LeBron saga

OAKLAND -- Add a new conflict to the war between Draymond Green and Lebron James.

With 6:55 left in the second quarter of the Cavaliers-Warriors game at Oracle Arena on Monday, Green was assessed with a Flagrant Foul 1 after colliding with James, who was barreling toward the basket on a fast break.

Upon contact, James went down hard and remained face down for a few moments. Cleveland teammate Richard Jefferson confronted Green, with both men gesturing, though no actual blows were thrown.

The officiating crew, led by Ed Malloy, took several minutes to review the play and concluded that Green deserved a flagrant, while also slapping Green and Jefferson with double technical fouls for their mini-skirmish.

Though he outweighs Green by at least 20 pounds, James reacted to the collision with his head snapping back as the ball went flying out of his hands. He landed on his right side before turning face down to the floor.

Incensed at James’ reaction, Green mimicked a flop as he walked toward the Warriors bench.

This is the latest manifestation of the bad blood between Green and James, who were involved in a crucial play in Game 4 of the NBA Finals last season. That skirmish resulted in Green being suspended for Game 5.