Prospects battling for top four NBA Draft spots leave Kings waiting for leftovers

This year’s NBA Draft is a complex game of musical chairs.

After Anthony Davis, we have four other major prospects in Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Bradley Beal, Harrison Barnes and Thomas Robinson. We also have four teams ready to draft one of these young players.

With our announcement yesterday that Harrison Barnes has forgone a workout and interview with the Sacramento Kings on Friday, where do Geoff Petrie and his team of talent evaluators go next?  The draft is just eight days away and not one of the remaining top-tier prospects has made a flight to Sacramento.

This is strange, to say the least. While the Kings are an unstable franchise, they have talent. (Certainly, more talent than the Hornets, Bobcats, Wizards or Cavs.) But for some reason – be it agents or players – only three teams are being allowed to play the game.

So what gives?

After Davis goes to New Orleans, the top four players will be slugging it out for one of three spots. The loser? Well, he becomes a King.

As for who might be available, that is anyone’s guess. According to multiple reports, the Bobcats would love to trade out of the No. 2 spot and add more than just one young player. Washington just dealt for Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza and could settle for whose left between Barnes, Beal and Kidd-Gilschrist. At No. 4, Cleveland has multiple needs and any of the four available players could fit their roster.

With Barnes walking away from his Sacramento workout, there’s some speculation he has a top-four promise, although our friend Sam Amick says that is not the case.

Sources suggest that Beal outplayed and interviewed better than Barnes in a one-one-one workout in Cleveland. And although Barnes is a close personal friend of last season’s Rookie of the Year, Kyrie Irving, there is a good chance the Cavs would choose Beal instead.

So if Barnes does in fact have a to- four promise and it isn’t Cleveland, then where is it and what does that mean for the remaining three players?

To throw an even bigger monkey wrench into the Kings’ plans, sources around the country have told Cowbell Kingdom that this can become more of a six-player, perhaps even a seven-player draft, if someone falls in love with Andre Drummond – something that is completely possible.

Point guard Damian Lillard of Weber State is making a run at the top-tier with impressive workouts for multiple teams. He could find himself in play as high as No. 6 to Portland now that it appears he won’t last until their second pick at No. 11. If someone is really in love with him, they could attempt to leap over Portland through the Kings, Cavs or Bobcats. That kind of rise would be unexpected, but not totally unprecedented.

It’s not too late. The Kings could run a couple of major league tryouts next week. If not, they will have to make a big time decision – do they draft a player they didn’t workout or do they open this process up to someone like Lillard, who has already dropped by for a visit.

We have eight days. Eight days for one or two of the four players who might fall to the Kings to have an epiphany. Four players, three teams. Something’s got to give.


James Ham

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