SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Kings selected Baylor guard Davion Mitchell with the No. 9 pick in the NBA draft Thursday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The Kings passed on Arkansas guard Moses Moody, UConn guard James Bouknight and Turkish big man Alperen Sengun to select Mitchell, a 6-foot-1 1/4 point guard with a big reputation for defense.
Mitchell, widely regarded as one of the best defenders in the draft, averaged 14.0 points, 5.5 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 1.9 steals as a junior at Baylor, leading the Bears to their first NCAA championship.
Mitchell shot 51.1% from the field and 44.7% from 3-point range, but converted just 64.1% of his free-throw attempts. ESPN analysts described Mitchell as a relentless driver and tenacious defender, calling him the “best on-ball defender in this draft.”
There were no surprises at the top of the draft as the Detroit Pistons selected Cade Cunningham with the No. 1 pick, the Houston Rockets took Jalen Green with the No. 2 pick and the Cleveland Cavaliers took Evan Mobley at No. 3. The Toronto Raptors passed on Jalen Suggs to pick Scottie Barnes at No. 4, allowing the Orlando Magic to take Suggs at No. 5.
The Oklahoma City Thunder made an unexpected choice in selection Australian point guard Josh Giddey with the No. 6 pick.
The Golden State Warriors picked Jonathan Kuminga with the No. 7 pick and Franz Wagner went to Orlando at No. 8, leaving the Kings with their choice of Bouknight, Moody, Alperen Sengun and Mitchell.
The Kings made their selection hours after their trade talks with the Los Angeles Lakers were torpedoed by a blockbuster deal involving nine-time All-Star and former MVP Russell Westbrook. Discussion of a deal that would have sent Kings guard Buddy Hield to the Lakers came to an abrupt end when the Lakers pivoted to acquire Westbrook from the Washington Wizards instead.
The Lakers were reportedly willing to offer some combination of Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and the No. 22 pick in the NBA draft in a deal for Hield. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported there was momentum toward the completion of a deal at 2 p.m. when Harrell picked up his $9.7 million player option for next season, but 16 minutes later The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported the Lakers were discussing a deal that would send Kuzma, Harrell, Caldwell-Pope and draft compensation to the Wizards for Westbrook.
One of the hang-ups in a potential Kings-Lakers deal was Harrell’s decision to opt in for next season. When Wojnarowski reported Harrell was opting in, he noted the decision would allow the Lakers to “move toward completing a deal to acquire Kings guard Buddy Hield,” although he noted the deal had not been agreed upon.
That conversation changed quickly when Charania reported the Lakers and Wizards were in serious talks on a trade that would send Westbrook, a nine-time All-Star and former MVP, to Los Angeles to join LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Wojnarowski confirmed the Lakers and Wizards were nearing a deal. At 5:15 p.m., shortly after the start of the draft, Charania reported the Wizards had agreed to send Westbrook to the Lakers for Kuzma, Harrell, Caldwell-Pope and the No. 22 pick in the draft.©2021 The Sacramento Bee. Visit at sacbee.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.