Cap City Crown

Where Are They Now? Part 8: 2017 NBA Draft

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After yet another dismal year in the season the Kings shipped DeMarcus Cousins over to New Orleans for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, and the Pelicans’ first round and second round selections, the Kings now had two first round picks.

After drawing the number three pick in the lottery, Philadelphia used their pick swap rights that they obtained when Vlade Divac dumped off Nik Stauskas’, Jason Thompson’s, and Carl Landry’s contracts to Sam Hinkie.

Instead of picking 3rd, the Kings moved two spots back to the number 5 spot and would pick again at the 10th slot which was acquired in the Cousins trade.

The Kings had their sights on De’Aaron Fox with their five pick, and when they were on the clock, Divac made his best draft selection of his tenure and took the guard out of Kentucky.

Five selections later, the Kings were up again and decided to draft Zach Collins who would then be traded to Portland for their 15th and 20th overall selections.

So when Sacramento came up again five spots later, they took Justin Jackson, a small forward out of North Carolina coming straight off a National Championship victory.

And then again, another five spots later, Sacramento took an injury prone center in Harry Giles who was once regarded as a potential first overall selection.

When the Kings had a selection in the second round, they chose reigning National Player of the Year, Frank Mason.

Once draft night was all said and done, it was viewed as one of Sacramento’s best draft nights in years, and although only one of those players at this moment remains under contract for Sacramento, it so happens that he is now the team’s best player.

De’Aaron Fox 

Fox was the obvious decision for Sacramento, but Kings fans would find out a year later that nothing was obvious to Divac.

De’Aaron made an immediate impact in Sacramento and was loved by the fans. He was seen as a franchise cornerstone, and three years later, he has established that.

He has made progressions after each year, and is regarded as one of, if not the fastest player in the league.

After really breaking out in his sophomore year scoring over 17 points a game and dishing out more than 7 assists on a Kings team that had their best season in over a decade, he played even better in his third year in the league.

Although Fox only played in 51 games this year on a Kings team that regressed significantly, he averaged 21.1 points per game and blossomed into the obvious leader of the team. 

The Kings need to save their money because once Fox’s rookie contract ends, Sacramento will have to deal a significant amount of money to keep him in California’s capital.

Justin Jackson

Jackson was viewed as someone who would be a solid player at the small forward position with the ability to be a leader and score effectively in college.

Unfortunately for the Kings, his game did not transition over well to the NBA.

After an ineffective rookie campaign, the Kings shipped Jackson off to Dallas in the middle of his second season, along with Zach Randolph, for Harrison Barnes.

Under Rick Carlisle, Jackson still sees the floor but his value in the NBA is nowhere close to what it could have been.

Harry Giles

Giles was once said to be one of the best basketball players in high school and entered college with high regards.

But considering he tore his ACL in his senior of high school and had another knee surgery in college, Giles was definitely a risky decision for Sacramento but one that could reap high rewards.

The Kings held Giles out the full 2017-18 season to rest and develop the strength of his knee.

When Giles made his debut just a season ago, he became an instant fan favorite with his electric energy and flashy passing for a big man.

Although Giles performed well during his rookie year, on October 31, 2019, the Kings declined picking up his fourth year option making him an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. This decision proves to be yet another mind boggling move by Divac, having shocked and angered fans.

After barely playing for the majority of this season, Giles’ number was called when most of the Kings’ big men went down with injury. Giles rose to the occasion and made the most out of his opportunity.

Giles played great late in the season when actually given a chance, yet the feeling was bitter sweet as fans watched one of their favorite players perform well knowing he may be playing somewhere else next season when he could have easily been retained for cheap.

Now that the season is over, Giles is technically a free agent. Although the Kings still have a chance to resign the big man, there is no guarantee he will stay.

Frank Mason

Coming off winning the National College Player of the Year, Mason was ready to take his talents to the next level. The problem for Mason was that he is undersized and the NBA is a lot different than college.

Mason played well for Sacramento, and even started a couple games under Joerger in his rookie year. But when the Kings signed Yogi Ferrell before the start of his sophomore campaign, Mason began splitting his back up point guard minutes with the Kings’ new addition.

Before the 2019-20 season, the Kings no longer needed Mason and waived him, two days prior to signing Cory Joseph. Twenty-two days later, Mason signed a two-way contract with the Bucks.

Although Mason spent the majority of his time in the G-League, he made the most of his opportunity. After averaging 26.4 points, 5.0 assists, and 3.4 rebounds per game with the Wisconsin Herd, Mason was awarded the NBA G-League MVP.

Mason’s stellar play in the G-League earned him an opportunity to play on the Bucks during the NBA bubble and even make the postseason roster.

The fact that the Kings took Fox in the 2017 NBA Draft is enough reason to call this Sacramento’s best draft class since 2010 when they selected DeMarcus Cousins and Hassan Whiteside.

Fox is seen as the future of the franchise and has progressed each year in the league. He is definitely a player worth building around and the Kings would try to do so in the next draft, although that is an entirely different story.

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