Steinmetz: Can Kings draft impact at No. 7?


Steinmetz: Can Kings draft impact at No. 7?

June 22, 2011


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Matt Steinmetz

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.

Draymond: Hate 'comes with the territory'

Draymond: Hate 'comes with the territory'

OAKLAND – As the hours and minutes toward opening night tick down for the Warriors, forward Draymond Green has an idea of what’s coming this season.

Constant surveillance, plenty of opinions and a lot of debate are in store.

And in the wake of signing megastar free agent Kevin Durant, Green and the Warriors can expect plenty of resentment.

“Usually, when you’re doing something the right way, people hate,” Green said after practice Sunday. “And, usually, when you’re doing something someone wants to do, they hate. Usually when there is success, with success comes hate. So that kind of just comes with the territory. It really doesn’t matter.

“KD being here definitely adds to that. But with the success we’ve had, people are going to hate us anyway. That comes with the territory.”

Though Durant is certain to be targeted for boos, Green also will hear his share. NBA fans generally cast a few players as villains, and Green moved snugly into that role last season with his kick to the groin of Oklahoma City center Steven Adams, followed by throwing a jab to the groin area of Cleveland star LeBron James.

The mini-skirmish with James, in Game 4 of the NBA Finals, landed Green on the suspended list at a critical time: Game 5.

The incident also affixed Green’s photo to the wall featuring NBA road rascals, right up there with the likes of Blake Griffin, Matt Barnes, DeMarcus Cousins, Metta World Peace and, at various times, Kobe Bryant.

Because Green is in that role and Durant, at least for now, is the subject of so much unfavorable scrutiny, there is a sharper edge to the identity of the Warriors.

“Some people say we’re villains,” Green said. “I don’t think we’re really going into this saying, ‘Hey, we’re villains. We need to do this.’ ‘Who . . . cares?’ It really doesn’t matter what role people try to make you play. It’s about getting on the court, getting between these lines and performing.

“What everybody else draws up and tries to make you out to be . . . they can make you out to be whatever they want. If you’re winning games, or not winning games, that’s what matters. I don’t think this team is looking and saying, ‘Hey, we’re villains. Let’s do it.’ Nobody cares.”

Green was the subject of a much-publicized magazine article that depicted him as a source of unrest among this teammates and coaches. He’s acutely aware of the characterization and realizes he must walk a fine line or risk puncturing team chemistry.

He’ll accept being the villain, and perhaps even embrace the booing. Only Steph Curry among the Warriors shares Green’s profound delight in silencing arenas on the road.

“This is about getting between these lines and performing,” Green said. “Everything else outside of that, it really doesn’t matter. Things are going to be said. Some things are not going to be said. But when it’s all said and done, the only thing people are going to talk about at the end is whether you won or lost.

In 'no-brainer' move, Warriors exercise Looney's option for 2017-18

In 'no-brainer' move, Warriors exercise Looney's option for 2017-18

OAKLAND – Fingers crossed and knocking on wood, the Warriors opened training camp four weeks ago hoping Kevon Looney would survive the preseason.

The 6-foot-9 forward did more than that, easily clearing the ultra-low bar set for someone striving to keep alive his NBA dreams after surgery on both hips.

Looney was rewarded on Sunday, when the Warriors announced they were exercising the third-year option on the UCLA product, extending his contract with the team through the 2017-18 season.

“It was a no-brainer,” coach Steve Kerr said after practice. “He’s the 30th pick (in the 2015 NBA draft). He missed all of last year. We pick up the option and have him locked up for next year after, I think, a really good training camp.”

Warriors general manager Bob Myers saw enough to give the team another year to develop Looney and assess his potential. As a rookie last season, Looney appeared in only five games, a total of 21 minutes, between hip surgeries.

He played in six of seven preseason games, making one start and totaling 73 minutes. He shot 50 percent from the field and ranked fifth on the team in rebounding, exceeding his own expectations.

“I was actually real nervous,” he said, “because last time it was a little different. I came back in the middle of the season, so my rehab was different. I didn’t have a chance to really practice with the guys. They were already in the full swing of things.

“So this is really my first time playing with the guys. I was a little nervous. I was nervous about my hips last time, and I went down again. I feel much more confident. I feel ready.”

Looney, still smoothing out his gait, conceded that he’s still seeking rhythm on offense, saying he’s not yet comfortable with his shot but acknowledging that it’s not a major issue on a team with so many talented shooters.

Kerr considers Looney capable of providing help at power forward and center. The coach does not seem worried about Looney’s offense.

“Now he’s healthy, knock on wood,” Kerr said. “So it was an easy decision for Bob. We briefly talked about (picking up the option), but it wasn’t even really a decision. It was just automatic.”