NEW YORK — The Sacramento Kings entered the 2016 NBA draft with the No. 8 overall pick and a chance to hopefully add a top talent that new head coach Dave Joerger could help mold into the kind of contributor who can help incumbent All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins get the team on a path toward playoff contention after 10 straight seasons in the lottery. After watching Ben Simmons, Brandon Ingram, Jaylen Brown, Dragan Bender, Kris Dunn, Buddy Hield and Jamal Murray come off the board, the Kings faced a choice: go with a high-risk, high-reward pick who grew up in Sacramento, or … not:
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They chose … not:
The Phoenix Sunsagreed to acquire the rights to No. 8 overall selection Marquese Chriss in a trade with the Sacramento Kings, sources told The Vertical.
The Suns sent the No. 13 overall selection, the No. 28 overall pick and the rights to guard Bogdan Bogdanovic to the Kings in the deal.
Sacramento also picks up a 2020 second-round pick, according to David Aldridge of TNT.
The Kings then chose another, more different “not.”
Judging by his social media response to the wheeling and dealing of Kings vice president of basketball operations and general manager Vlade Divac, it seems that Boogie might not be especially enthusiastic about turning the No. 8 pick into Bogdan Bogdanovic (who, it is important to note, is not Bojan Bogdanovic; in fact, they are not related!); Papagiannis, an 18-year-old, 7-foot-2-inch, 240-pound center who played a small role for Greek power Panathinaikos and was projected as a late-first-round pick by Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress, and who now ranks as the highest-drafted Greek player ever; and a couple of late draft picks:
Now, to be fair, you’ve got to hear both sides:
… but rom a roster-building perspective, you can understand why Boogie might be curious about Divac spending a lottery pick on a 18-year-old center when the Kings currently employ Cousins, 2015 lottery choice Willie Cauley-Stein and another Greek big man, Kosta Koufos, whom Sacramento signed to a four-year contract in free agency just last summer. Especially considering, with Rajon Rondo a free agent and Marco Belinelli out of town after a trade that shipped him to the Charlotte Hornets in exchange for the No. 22 selection, the Kings’ backcourt depth chart featured Darren Collison, Ben McLemore, and not much else. (Sacramento did later use that 22nd pick on Syracuse shooting guard Malachi Richardson.)
For what it’s worth, Papagiannis seems pretty excited about getting to work with Boogie:
I met [the Kings] on the pro day. I had the pro day like last week. Besides that, I know Vlade Divac, European guy. Everybody must know. I’m very excited to be like his player. Peja, two great players have played there. Besides that, DeMarcus Cousins, I admire his game so much, and I love that he’s going to be my teammate. Yeah, that’s it.
I’ve been watching him since last year. He has a lot of skill moves in the post. Tough, tough guy to play against. I love his character. He’s mean for the game. He’s hungry.
With a positive attitude like that, we’re sure he’ll win DeMarcus over in no time.
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