Marco Belinelli was supposed to be the high quality shooter the Kings needed but it didn’t turn out that way. Former head coach George Karl gave Belinelli an extremely long leash last season but it still didn’t help the Italian wake up from his shooting slump.
Belinelli signed a three-year, $19 million deal with the Kings as a free agent last summer. He averaged 10.2 points, 1.9 assists and 1.7 rebounds in 68 games last season but shot just 30.6 percent from 3-point range, well below his 37.9 percent career average.
Today, Vlade Divac decided to trade Belinelli for Charlotte’s No. 22 pick in the NBA Draft. At the time, it seemed like the day had started off on a positive note.
// Then, it didn’t take long for Divac to get scrutinized by thousands of Kings fans on multiple social media platforms. The Kings traded the eighth pick who was hometown local, Marquese Chriss to the Phoenix Suns for the Nos. 13 and 28 picks, a second-round pick in 2020 and the draft rights to Bogdan Bogdanovic.
Who did the Kings draft at No.13? Georgious Papagiannis. He is definitely a reach this early in the draft, which is why many people around the league have already questioned the pick.
Divac could have easily selected him with his No. 22 or No.28 picks but Divac and his staff were high on his talent and the young man from Greece is extremely confident in his game.
“I believe in myself and I believe it was the best number for me and I’m truly blessed,” Papagiannis said.
Just saved you a Google search for Georgios Papagiannis pic.twitter.com/ZuSVbkKWAh
— Cowbell Kingdom (@Cowbell_Kingdom) June 24, 2016
He told us that he wants to play as soon as possible for the Kings, which is a positive sign to his commitment of trying to justify the Kings taking him so early.
Then the Kings drafted Syracuse shooting guard Malachi Richardson at No. 22 who had an excellent March Madness. Will it translate into the NBA? Only time will tell but fans were a little bit more acceptant towards this pick.
At No.28, they went with Kentucky big man, Skal Labissiere who has lots of potential but it feels like another head scratcher knowing that the need is at the guard position.
But he had positive things to say on his first impressions of the Kings just like any other player who got drafted today would have.
“The core of the team. We have a lot of Kentucky guys of course but I feel like we are an up-and-coming team,” Labissiere said. “I can help them in any way I can.”
It was a crazy draft day and it’s not over yet. I want to know how Kings nation feels? Are you happy with the moves Divac made?
***Sacramento will draft Oklahoma’s Isaiah Cousins with the No. 59 pick in the NBA draft, sources tell The Vertical.