Kansas University’s Thomas Robinson was considered perhaps the most NBA-ready player in the draft and the Sacramento Kings need plenty of immediate help after missing the playoffs for a sixth straight season.
While Anthony Davis was the expected No. 1 pick, Robinson was in the running to go as high as second, but the Kings were fortunate he fell to their spot at the fifth pick.
“It kind of went based on team needs,” Robinson said. “The teams that skipped me didn’t need me at that position. The Kings took a chance on me and took me at five. I’m going to make the best of it.”
The Kings are coming off another disappointing season, finishing the shortened campaign 22-44 to miss the postseason once again. Coach Paul Westphal was fired after just seven games and replaced by Keith Smart, who will be back for his first full season next year.
With a run of high draft picks, the Kings have some pieces already in place, most notably center DeMarcus Cousins, who averaged 18.1 points and 11 rebounds per game in his second season.
Tyreke Evans, the 2010 Rookie of the Year, had career lows with 16.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game, and ended the season as a small forward after playing point guard for his first two seasons.
Isaiah Thomas, the final pick of last year’s draft, took over the starting point guard role and averaged 11.5 points per game. He was much more effective than first-round pick Jimmer Fredette, who averaged 7.6 points per game and shot 39 percent from the field.
Robinson will provide a big boost defensively to the team that allowed the most points per game in the NBA last season.
“They’re a talented team with Tyreke at the guard spot and DeMarcus down low,” Robinson said. “I’ll try to build them up with rebounding and energy.”
Sacramento later sold its second-round pick to Indiana.