Sacramento Kings “looking at everything” with eighth pick in draft

Kings current arenaWith the lottery over and the Sacramento Kings picking eighth in June’s draft, now the real hard work begins for Kings general manager Pete D’Alessandro and his staff.

D’Alessandro and the Kings are one of the more open-minded, data driven front offices in the league, and the team appears willing to explore all possible options and avenues with their first-round selection.

“Now you could start making all the calls to your counterparts and say, ‘How flexible are you with your pick?’ Are we willing to move out, potentially? There are a lot of things we could end up doing,” D’Alessandro said Tuesday night in a one-on-one interview with SheridanHoops. “We’re looking at everything as an organization.”

So now that the real process has started, D’Alessandro will now begin to hone in on the pool of players he can realistically take. And going through all the various scenarios has already begun.

“We’re still looking at how important it is for us to try to get up [in the draft]. Or is it more important to move down and maybe get additional assets. And we’ve had the discussion of ‘Are there players out there that we would like, that are playing in the NBA now?’” D’Alessandro said, while cautioning that the team is still excited with – and sees a lot of value in – the eighth overall pick.

What the Kings GM may not see much value in is picks four through six. With a fairly established top three in Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Joel Embiid and a whole host of other really strong players, D’Alessandro is confident that he can get a good value at eight.

“I was actually thinking we like that 1-2-3, 7-8-9 range. I like those two zones. And so I feel good about where we stand today,” D’Alessandro told SheridanHoops. “Obviously we’d like to be in the top three, that goes without saying, but I still feel really good about where we are.”

So why not picks four, five or six?

“I think someone will ultimately get to us,” he said. “Obviously to move up slightly, sometimes doesn’t make as much sense as staying right where you are.”

D’Alessandro also said that if you divide the 30 picks of the first round into three 10-pick segments, there are going to be steals in each of those areas.

kings small logoTo help determine those steals and value picks, Sacramento has been looking for outside help to advise the team on how to optimize its draft pick. A little less than two weeks ago, the team actually began accepting ideas and submissions from fans, and D’Alessandro said there were absolutely viable options of submitted statistical models and ways new voices and opinions could help the Kings improve their drafting methods.

“Crowdsourcing is very powerful and we want to take advantage of it in every way that we can,” said Aneel Ranadive, the son of Kings majority owner Vivek Ranadive. “I know they want to use analytics to optimize everything.”

With the deadline for submissions having passed, D’Alessandro said there were definitely some that got his attention.

“Anyone who’s in this business knows the information is all there, who wants to put the work in and come up with really good analysis,” D’Alessandro said. “The ones who really stand out at the end of the day, I’ll bring one or two into the draft room with me and they’ll be part of the process.”

D’Alessandro said that specific assignments will be handed out soon for the lucky and skilled few who the Kings chose to aid in the process.

“So it’s an exciting time and we’re going to be spending a lot of time honing in on No. 8, who’s going to be there,” D’Alessandro said.

It’s a really important draft for the Kings as they try to take the next step to playoff contention. Since their last playoff appearance in 2006, the Kings are 200 games below .500. They have had six different coaches. They nearly moved to Anaheim, then Seattle.

Management is looking in every possible direction to see where it can find the players that will elevate the team out of the lottery. And if a fan can help, that’s fine with D’Alessandro.

Shlomo Sprung is a national columnist for SheridanHoops who loves advanced statistics and the way they explain what happens on the court. He is also the web editor of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. A 2011 graduate of Columbia University’s Journalism School, he has previously worked for the New York Knicks, The Sporting News, Business Insider and other publications. His website is SprungOnSports.com. You should follow him on Twitter.

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