On Sunday, February 20th, the Sacramento Kings and the New Orleans Pelicans made a blockbuster trade that has a ton of potential to shake up the league in a big way. The trade details were:
New Orleans received
-Demarcus Cousins (C)
-Omri Casspi (SF)
-Tyreke Evans (SG)
-Langston Galloway (SG)
-Buddy Hield (SG)
-2017 1st Round Draft Pick (Top 3 Lottery Protected)
-2017 2nd Round Draft Pick
For many, including Skip Bayless, this trade seems like a steal for the Pelicans. I mean, they are receiving the best center in the league, to compliment their current star at the power forward position. However, fans of the Kings don’t need to fret, no matter how bad the sports media world may make it out to be. Let’s take a look into what the Kings are really getting out of this trade and why Skip Bayless (and the rest of the world) might be wrong.
The Pelicans sent 3 players over to the Kings that don’t look like much on paper, but can be a pretty positive boost for Sacramento. All 3 of these players are shooting guards, ranging in age from 23 to 27.
These 3 shooting guards are all pretty comparable players, with very similar and decent statistics. They may not look very special on paper, but there are some interesting notes about each of them.
Buddy Hield, the biggest name that the Kings are receiving, is a rookie in the league with a sweet shooting stroke and a knack for scoring. In college, he resembled a Kobe Bryant type scorer and he even poured in 28 points in the recent Rising Stars Challenge during this All Star Weekend. I think he has a lot of potential and will be an all star one day, given that his coaches give him the opportunity to grow. Sacramento is the perfect place for this to happen, as their current lineup doesn’t really feature any high potential/value players to be started ahead of Buddy.
Tyreke Evans and Langston Galloway are a little different in their possible effect on the team. Evans is a former rookie of the year, with the Kings, but has had some injury issues in his tenure at the Pelicans that sidelined his growth. Look for him to pick up some steam now that he is back with the team that he was really flourishing at.
Galloway is a third year player in the league who has pretty solid averages for a young player who did well when given starting minutes at the Knicks. Also, at 6’2″ and with solid handles/passing ability, he could be a nice look at the point guard position, along with Darren Collison and Ty Lawson.
This is where things get really interesting. The Pelicans gave away two draft picks that could be the real money makers for the Kings.
2017 1st Round Draft Pick (Top 3 Lottery Protected)
Picking up this pick is HUGE for the Kings, there is a pile of opportunity solely sitting in this one piece of the trade. Currently, our own Cameron Quinlan has his mock draft at
- Lonzo Ball, UCLA
- Josh Jackson, Kansas
- Markelle Fultz, Washington
- Malik Monk, Kentucky
- Dennis Smith Jr., NC State
This trade obviously leaves some holes open in the backcourt of the Kings roster, but that can be filled with Josh Jackson or even possibly Johnathan Isaac (FSU) who’s listed at #6 in the mock draft. Both are sitting close to 6’10”, have great length, and can move with the ball very well. They would match well with the Kings’ Koufos, Cauley-Stein, and Tolliver who are all more traditional big men.
If the Kings were to stray into looking for a frontcourt addition, they can also rest assured that Ball, Monk, or Smith Jr. will all be very solid picks who will look to make impacts in the NBA quickly.
2017 2nd Round Draft Pick
The second round may seem like a throw away pick to some, but the Kings could find their diamond in it. In the mock draft mentioned earlier, Quinlan has big men such as Isaiah Hicks (UNC), Thomas Bryant (IU), and Tacko Fall (UCF) all falling anywhere from 39-52 in the upcoming draft. If the Kings do decide to go with a guard with their lottery pick, they can most likely just find a strong post presence in the second round.
Looking into the Kings’ crystal ball
Before this trade, the Sacramento Kings were a mid-tier team with a strong post presence led by one player and a backcourt that can never seem to stay healthy. Now they’re looking at a frontcourt that can be boosted with their recently acquired draft picks and a backcourt that just gained a lot of padding and a possible future superstar.
When it comes down to it, we all knew Demarcus “Boogie” Cousins wasn’t going to be in Sacramento for much longer. They had a history of bad blood between Cousins and the organization that wasn’t going to just go away. This trade seems to signify a fresh start for Kings’ GM Vlade Divac.
In the future, fans can look for a Kings team that’s fresh and loaded with players that want to win badly. If they can have a solid draft, Sacramento can possibly come out of this one with the better end of the deal and secure a top-5 spot in the playoffs within 3 years.