Pre-draft process for Sacramento Kings conducted behind closed doors, 19 prospects already in talks

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After the exciting NBA best-of-seven playoff series hailing the Western Conference champions Los Angeles Lakers as the winner, their first championship in a decade, the spotlight is now on the 2020 draft which will take place on November 18. 

Due to the pandemic, the pre-draft process takes an unusual turn with meetings conducted behind closed doors and “cloaked in secrecy” according to a report by Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. There were a few players that have already met with the Sacramento Kings in video conferences but so far, no one has disclosed any in-person evaluations with the Kings. 

Aaron Nesmith, Vanderbilt Commodores forward, said that he has not yet talked with Sacramento but noted, “I’m supposed to talk to them extremely soon.”

Nineteen of the top prospects for the draft have already participated in Zoom calls with reporters while eleven more are scheduled to join before the actual drafting date. The NBA is allowing no more than two visits per player for in-person workouts and medical evaluations and teams are only allowed to make a total of 10 visits with prospects. 

Sacramento Kings are on the No. 12 pick in the draft this season and they have been very quiet about their work leading up to the draft causing observers to be curious as to what plans Kings general manager Monte McNair has in mind. According to Anderson, award-winning sportswriter, “McNair could make the pick when the Kings are on the clock Wednesday evening, trade it for future assets or include it in a bigger package as part of a draft-day blockbuster to bring some star power to Sacramento.”

Fifteen players from the HoopsHype.com’s latest aggregate mock draft projected between No. 5 and No. 19 were included in the 19 prospects who have already met with the media. The list includes Obi Toppin, Tyrese Haliburton, Isaac Okoro, Onyeka Okongwu, Killian Hayes, Devin Vassell, Patrick Williams, Precious Achiuwa, Nesmith, Saddiq Bey, R.J. Hampton, Kira Lewis, Tyrese Maxey, Jalen Smith and Cole Anthony.

If the Kings make their selection at 12, a combination of these players will still be on board. According to sources, Achiuwa, Hampton, Lewis, and Maxey have already spoken to the Kings via video conference while Nesmith is scheduled soon. Even if Sacramento decides to trade picks, they will still have options with the group of players that they have already met via video conference. Specifically, the aforementioned names all fall in the 12-17 range in the HoopHypes.com aggregate mock draft. 

Although there are rumors that specific agents are specifically avoiding the Kings for workouts and interviews again this year, said John Hollinger. Sacramento have experienced this several times during their 14 -year playoff drought due to the organization’s struggles as cited by the agents. 

Hayes and Vassell said that they have not yet met with the Kings in any form while Okongwu, Williams, and Bey have all declined to reveal any information at this point. 

Thomas Lake

Resident tech nerd for the SF Times.