Maybe the Kings, wanting to avoid the congestion of potentially developing three rookies while also investing minutes in the progress of second-year man Spencer Hawes, don't get an immediate return from both second-round picks as their disposal Thursday. Maybe they deal one for a future second rounder in a deferral often used by others, maybe they take someone who stays overseas in 2008-09, maybe they package No. 42 and 43 and trade into the end of the first round in a move that allows the other team to avoid a guaranteed contract.
(The other, extremely uneventful possibility for attrition by opening night: one or both of the selections get cut / get to know the end of the bench / get an expense-paid tour of the D-League. Second-rounders aren't generally the cause of troublesome congestion.)
But it's at least intriguing this time. The Kings haven't taken a turn in the second round since 2004 (Ricky Minard) and haven't gotten so much as a minimal return from the land of the non-guaranteed contract since 2000 (Jabari Smith). Added statistical twist: players who were not drafted at all (Brad Miller, Mikki Moore) have a far greater presence on the roster than anyone who's gone between 31 and 60.
It gets interesting if 42 and 43, and perhaps another spare part, trades the Kings into late in the first round. Then, the two years of guaranteed contract make the commitment to the selection tangible.
And, intriguing options should be available pretty high as the 12th (from the Hawks as part of the Mike Bibby deal) and 13th (their own) choices of the second round. Mock drafts turn a mix of educated guess and the expert analysis of eeny-meeny-miny-mo by then, so Grain Of Salt time. But five candidates who fit a Kings need or are just intriguing prospects worth a flyer and realistically could be available in the 40s:
- Kyle Weaver, Washington State guard. One pick, two offseason needs potentially filled: Weaver is a defensive star, and the Kings just finished 24th in scoring defense and 22nd in shooting defense, and he could become a backup point guard for a roster particularly light at that position. He best fits as a combo guard.
- Joey Dorsey, Memphis power forward. No offense and undersized at 6-7, but major energy and a mix of athleticism and strength that helps compensate for height. He rebounds and defends with a non-stop motor, an approach that would be particularly beneficial on a roster that too often would sleep walk through games. Dorsey turns 25 in December, unusually old for a draft pick. That would be an issue for someone tracking to the top half of the first round -- older equals a smaller window for a career, less chance for a pro team to shape a player, etc. The second round is different. Get any measurable contribution from there and it's a good return.
- Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, UCLA small forward. The fall from potential first-round pick a couple years ago hasn't changed his status as a quick, long-armed, versatile defender. (There's that theme again.) The experience of big games deep in the NCAA tournament -- 10 rebounds in the 2006 title game as a freshman, 13 rebounds and 12 points in the '08 Final Four against Memphis -- doesn't hurt the resume, either.
- Trent Plaisted, BYU power forward / center. Ron Artest provides the only consistent post play on offense now, pending the return of Shareef Abdur-Rahim from a knee injury that cost him 74 games. Plaisted has good mobility and scores inside. Not a physical presence, though.
- Goran Dragic, Slovenian point guard. The potential overseas card. But also good size (6-4) and speed at a position the Kings need help.