The Kings couldn’t have dreamed Iowa State point guard Tyrese Haliburton would fall to them in the NBA Draft, but somehow he was still on the board when it was time to make their pick.
The Kings selected Haliburton with the No. 12 pick in Wednesday’s draft, seizing the opportunity to pick a player man thought would be taken in the top five. The 6-foot-6, 175-pound point guard averaged 15.2 points, 6.5 assists and 5.9 rebounds last season at Iowa State, shooting 50.4% from the field and 41.9% from 3-point range. He was an 82.2% free-throw shooter and an advanced-stats star, according to Tankathon.com.
After the Kings made their selection, ESPN analyst Bobby Marks said: “They are the winners of the night so far.”
Haliburton was seen celebrating with his family and donning a Kings cap after the pick was announced on ESPN.
“It’s an amazing night – really fun,” Haliburton said. “I’m landing in the perfect spot. Sacramento is a perfect spot for me. … I’m just ready to get to work right away, ready to create relationships with these guys and bring Sacramento back.”
The Kings made their selection hours after news broke that their sign-and-trade agreement sending Bogdan Bogdanovic to the Milwaukee Bucks was in danger of falling apart before it could be finalized. A source told The Sacramento Bee that Bogdanovic never agreed to the deal.
If that deal can’t be salvaged, Bogdanovic will enter the market as an unrestricted free agent Friday, Justin James will be returned to Sacramento and the Bucks will take back Donte DiVincenzo, Ersan Ilyasova and D.J. Wilson.
That development added even more uncertainty to the proceedings for the Kings, who were preparing to make their first draft pick under a new regime headed by general manager Monte McNair.
The Minnesota Timberwolves selected Georgia shooting guard Anthony Edwards with the No. 1 pick. Memphis center James Wiseman went to the Golden State Warriors at No. 2 followed by Illawarra Hawks point guard LaMelo Ball to the Charlotte Hornets at No. 3.
The Chicago Bulls provided the first real surprise of the draft when they chose Florida State small forward Patrick Williams with the fourth pick. Auburn small forward Isaac Okoro went to the Cleveland Cavaliers at No. 5.
After USC center Onyeka Okongwu went to the Atlanta Hawks at No. 6, the Detroit Pistons took gifted French combo guard Killian Hayes, a player some analysts believed could fall to the Kings. The New York Knicks chose Dayton power forward Obi Toppin at No. 8, Israeli small forward Deni Avdija went to the Washington Wizards at No. 9 and the Phoenix Suns took surprised by taking Maryland power forward Jalen Smith at No. 10.
That left a whole host of prospects on the board for the San Antonio Spurs at No. 11 and the Kings at No. 12. The list included Haliburton, Villanova small forward Saddiq Bey, Florida State small forward Devin Vassell, Vanderbilt small forward Aaron Nesmith and Alabama point guard Kira Lewis Jr. The Spurs chose Vassell, allowing the Kings to snag Haliburton at No. 12.
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