Kris Dunn to the Kings? Here's why it works.
The Sacramento Kings hold the 8th overall pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, and there are holes to fill throughout the roster. Rudy Gay will be 30 when the season starts, and he needs a backup. Inconsistent play from the shooting guard position needs to be addressed. But no hole is bigger than the one created by the expiring contracts of the team's point guards.
The Rajon Rondo Experiment was not entirely unsuccessful. He led the league in assists with 11.7 per game, but was also 4th in turnovers with almost 3.9 per. He had the third most triple-doubles (6) behind Russell Westbrook and Draymond Green, but failed to lead a talented Kings team to a playoff berth, finishing 8 games out in the West. Having signed a one year contract last summer, Rondo is now free to test the free agency market. At least a handful of teams will be interested in the point guard's services, a change from last offseason when he was coming off a tumultuous 46 game stint with the Dallas Mavericks. The Kings will almost certainly have to overpay to keep the aging point guard in Sacramento.
The backup point guard situation has become a dire need as well. Darren Collison has been a serviceable backup for the past two seasons, but he is heading in to the final season of his contract. The other backup, Seth Curry, will opt out of his two year deal with Sacramento, leaving $1 million on the table in search of bigger money. He will almost certainly find a bigger contract, but the Kings will have the ability to match any offer. There will be plenty of teams that come calling for a rising young shooter who happens to share a gene pool with the back to back MVP of the league.
This leaves the Kings with a glaring hole at the most important position in today's NBA. If he is still available when Sacramento picks 8th in the upcoming draft, the best prospect to fill that hole is Kris Dunn.
Dunn is a 6'3'' junior point guard from Providence who averaged 16 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists per game last year, and was the Big East Player of the Year for the second straight season. Adding to his resume, Dunn led the Friars to the NCAA tournament in each of his three seasons (their first appearances since 2004), and he was a consensus second team All-American in 2016. His most impressive accolade, and the reason he is the perfect fit for the Kings, is his back to back Big East Defensive Player of the Year awards.
Sacramento's struggles on the defensive end are well known. The Kings ranked 3rd in points in '15-'16 at 106.6 per game, but gave up the most points to opponents at an outrageous 109.1 per. Much of their offensive success came from the pace and play of Rajon Rondo, as did much of the defensive woes. Kris Dunn would be an obvious downgrade on the offensive side of the ball (for now), but an immediate upgrade on the defensive end.
While the importance of the point guard position continues to increase league-wide, it is most apparent in the Western Conference. The west is stacked with some of the games best point guards with players like Curry, Paul, Westbrook, Lillard and Parker. All of the afore mentioned players led their teams to the playoffs this season, showing how simple the formula is: no PG, no playoffs.
While Curry and Westbrook are dominating the West now, Dunn could be part of the next generation of point guards alongside D'Angelo Russell and C.J. McCollum. There is an obvious chance that Dunn will be selected before the Kings are scheduled to pick at number 8, in which case Sacramento would have to resort to a Plan B. There are other players like Cal's Jaylen Brown who would be solid additions to fill future needs, but Dunn seems to be the wise selection for both immediate and future production.