3 reasons Jaden Ivey would be perfect pick for Kings at No. 4 in 2022 NBA Draft

The Sacramento Kings are clearly trying to shift the franchise narrative. The Kings made some noise last year in a perceived “win-now” move which shipped off Tyrese Haliburton to the Indiana Pacers in exchange for Domantas Sabonis. The three-time All-Star played just 15 games with the Kings this season and the focus has shifted to 2022-23. Sacramento is looking forward to a full season with Sabonis and will have its sights sets on adding long-term key pieces around the big man.

One of the biggest areas the Kings will search to do this is through the draft. Sacramento holds the No. 4 overall pick and has a chance to add a franchise-altering talent. While several notable players deserve to be in the conversation for the selection, and there are also trade rumblings involving this pick, the Kings should not think twice about drafting Jaden Ivey.

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Why Jaden Ivey would be perfect Kings at No. 4 in 2022 NBA Draft

Upside

Teams are always searching for the missing piece in the draft, but this is a mindset that can get an organization in trouble. Looking for a player’s fit rather than evaluating the best long-term option and finding how to make it work can be a backward logic.

With Jabari Smith, Chet Holmgren, and Paolo Banchero perceived to be locks for the top three selections, Jaden Ivey leads the next class of prospects. Ivey is far from a consolation prize as he possesses game-changing athleticism and an impressive array of finishing abilities. The Purdue product averaged 17.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 3.1 assists this past season. He also took a notable step forward as a shooter and connected on 35.8% of his 3-point attempts after struggling as a freshman.

Ivey has the tools and an “it factor” that is intriguing for any team. The Kings should feel comfortable taking him with the fourth overall pick and potentially handing the keys to the franchise off to the 20-year-old down the road.

Athleticism 

There is a lot to like about Jaden Ivey, but the athleticism is his defining skill. The 6-foot-4 guard has a pop to his game that was impossible to match in college and will translate at the NBA level. Ivey excelled at getting to the basket and showcased an impressive array of finishes around the rim. He also was fouled often due to opponents being unable to stick with him. There were seven games this season in which Ivey attempted nine or more free throws.

The ability of Ivey to run the fast break is especially intriguing. Few players in the league will be able to stick with him coast to coast. He has no fear of going up to dunk on an opponent’s head and will produce some eye-popping highlights. Ivey plays with a high motor and averaged 1.11 points per possession (PPP) in transition this season.

While the phrase is thrown around too often, Jaden Ivey is a true example of a freak athlete. He has been compared to Ja Morant due to his ability to explode past defenders and float in the air. While this in itself is not enough to be a solid NBA player, the foundation it creates for his abilities is a major asset.

Fit alongside Davion Mitchell

It was somewhat shocking that the Kings were so willing to give up on Tyrese Haliburton after just a season and a half. While the addition of Sabonis was certainly the lure, the growth of Davion Mitchell also played a role. The Kings rookie impressed in his debut season by averaging 11.5 points, 4.2 assists, and 2.2 rebounds in his rookie season. He ended the season on an extremely high note with three double-doubles in the final five games. Davion Mitchell tallied 18 points and 15 assists in the final game of the regular season while stringing together impressive defensive possessions.

While taking the best player is important, fit also must be considered as the Kings begin to take the next step. Jaden Ivey would be an interesting complement to Davion Mitchell. The second-year guard is known for his tenacious defense but stands just 6-feet tall. In contrast, Jaden Ivey stands 6-foot-4 with a 6-foot-9 wingspan. Ivey would allow Mitchell to solely focus on point guards and not be taken advantage of by bigger opponents. While he was not a standout defender in college, Ivey has the tools to put it together on this side of the ball.

Ivey also flashed some potential in his off-ball ability in college. The Purdue guard scored 1.04 PPP off catch-and-shoots and 1.18 PPP off screens. The continued development of his jump shot will have a great impact on his NBA feeling. As Ivey continues to grow in this area, it would allow Mitchell to focus on running the team. This should not discount the fit with current starting point guard De’Aaron Fox, who is also a terror in transition. A backcourt of Ivey and Fox would be a nightmare matchup for opponents due to their game-changing pace. Drafting the Purdue guard would create interesting flexibility in the backcourt.

The Kings still have a long ways to go as a franchise but are moving in the right direction. Adding Jaden Ivey as a cornerstone member of the team is the next necessary step. With Ivey, Mitchell, Fox, Sabonis and the rest of the supporting cast preparing for the upcoming season, better days are on the horizon in Sacramento.

Keegan Murray, Kings, Keegan Murray Kings, 2022 NBA Draft, De'Aaron Fox, Domantas Sabonis

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