COMMENTARY | In a year where there's little consensus about who the top prospects are, it remains unclear whom the Sacramento Kings will select with the seventh overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft. But if the stars align and the first six picks break in the Kings' favor, Trey Burke will be donning the purple and black this fall.
if ever there were a team positioned to draft the best player available, it's Sacramento. With a new GM and coach now in place, the roster is a blank slate, and help is needed at every position. Ironically, that may lead the Kings to draft largely by position. If they can't differentiate players based on talent and have multiple prospects rated equally among those still on the board when they make their selection, they may choose the one that fills the greatest need.
Such is the case for the Kings selecting Michigan point guard Trey Burke. With all due respect to the overachieving Isaiah Thomas Jr., few see him as a viable long-term solution in the starting lineup. He lacks size (generously listed at 5 feet 10 inches') and will always be a defensive liability on a team led by a coach that prizes defensive play. This is evidenced by a weak 115 defensive rating during the 2012-13 season.
There's a lot to like about Thomas, particularly his speed, his capability behind the 3-point line, and his excellent free-throw shooting percentage, which ups his value in the fourth quarter of close games. But his limitations make him a better fit for a rotational role.
Enter Trey Burke, who could do wonders for not only the on-court play of the Kings but also the chemistry of the locker room. Burke has a strong outside shot, churns out assists at an excellent rate (6.7 per game at the collegiate level is spectacular), and plays with an infectious degree of intensity. But more important, he is the kind of floor general that the Kings so desperately need right now, somebody who can lead by example and set a tone for hard work and effort.
So many times last season, the Kings showed flashes of promise that were quickly undone when they reverted back to selfish, individualistic basketball. DeMarcus Cousins' me-first attitude exacerbated the problem, and none of the other core Kings players have emerged as strong leaders. Burke could be the ideal antidote to the Kings' chemistry problems. The only question is, will he still be on the board when the Kings are ready to make their selection? Sacramento fans should hope so.
Doug Brockwell is a lifelong follower of NBA basketball who grew up cheering for the Denver Nuggets . After relocating to Northern California in 2008, he began to follow the Sacramento Kings , who remind him of the endearingly hapless Nuggets squads of the '90s that he endured as a kid.
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