The Sacramento Kings new braintrust appears to be pleased with their first NBA Draft. Majority owner Vivek Ranadivé, general manger Pete D’Alessandro and coach Michael Malone come away with a player not many expected would be available with the seventh pick. Here’s some of their reactions to how yesterday’s events.
Where did D’Alessandro have Ben McLemore on his draft board? The Kings new GM claims that he had the seventh overall pick ranked as the best player in this entire class.
I saw him a few times this year. In fact, I personally had him ranked, in the time with my previous job (with Denver), as the No. 1 guy in this draft. With the draft process, you kind of start somewhere, then you go somwhere else then you back up. Throughout this year, I never came off that feeling to the point where Vivek and I were sitting on the court a couple of days ago having a discussion. I don’t know if I was just wishing, but I really felt that this was really going to be our guy. I read something on an internet site that he might be slipping then all of a sudden, it just occurred to me that I really think that we’re going to get this guy. I don’t know why, but I just think that we’re going to get it. No offense, I don’t believe media reports, but on this one I just felt that there was something here that was meant to happen.
What does Malone think about McLemore, his first draft choice as Kings head coach? Malone believes he still have lots of work to do, but the rookie coach is optimistic about the seventh pick’s upside.
Obviously, he is a very talented player and we feel very fortunate that he fell to us at No. 7. Not too often do you get a guy that can shoot the ball as well as he can and who is also the athlete that he is. He brings two of those skill sets to the table which is great. Now can he get better? Of course he can. Anybody that we bring to this team, we’re going to expect to get better. Whether it’s a draft pick, free agent, trade, whoever that is. You can always look to get better and obviously, he has a lot of things that he can do right now, but we’re going to expect him to become a better defensive player, improve his ball handling, his passing, his shooting, whatever that might be. I think both he and Ray McCallum would admit wholeheartedly that coming into the NBA, that they are going to have to improve in the weight room and on the court.
Ranadivé suggested that the Kings had a checklist of criteria when assessing the prospects in this year’s draft. A factor that was high on that list? Character.
I have to say that we had a very discplined approach to the draft and so we had criteria. We had an order that we were going to look at people in. And high on our list of criteria was character. It was “is the person a gym rat?”, “does he like to play?” and we rejected a bunch of players because we felt they didn’t have the character. So we stuck to the approach that was laid out by the GM. And I think that the decisions made were unanimous. There was no disagreements on anything. And of course, they made the decisions, but we had other people in the room and it was unanimous.
McLemore will be formally introduced in Sacramento on Monday. We will have more from Ranadivé, Malone and D’Alessandro in this week’s Cowbell Kingdom Podcast later this morning.