Kings GM Vlade Divac surprised Frank Mason available for 34th pick
At the beginning of the second round of Thursday’s NBA Draft, Sacramento Kings general manager Vlade Divac was fielding calls about potential trades for his team's next pick.
Divac gave the offers some thought, but Frank Mason III was still available and he was a player that the Kings coveted.
By the time the Kings went on the clock with the 34th overall selection, there was no hesitation that Mason was going to be their pick.
“I felt first of all, honestly, that he wasn’t going to be available,” Divac said. “But at 34, it was easy. No-brainer to pick him.”
Mason, the consensus national player of the year, was the first player in Big 12 history to average more than 20 points and five assists per game.
He worked out twice for the Kings, including a pre-draft visit last week (making it memorable when he met a young fan through social media). That workout only reinforced the beliefs from Sacramento executives that he was a great fit for their young, rebuilding team.
On a team that started the draft without a point guard, the Kings added Mason and Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox with the fifth overall pick.
“Especially the second time, he showed us what we saw in the first (workout),” Divac said. “We just felt confident that’s the guy. He can play right now. We felt very confident when we made a choice to pick him at 34.”
Second-round picks aren’t guaranteed to land on a team’s roster by the time the season begins at the end of October, but Divac’s “he can play right now” endorsement shows how much confidence the Kings have in Mason.
“If Frank wasn’t there, we were thinking about doing some stuff,” Divac said, referring to trade rumors.
After celebrating his selection at a draft party, Mason wrote on Twitter, “Thanks for believing in me @SacramentoKings, I promise you won't regret it.”
In his first day as a member of the Kings, Mason was greeted with cheers at the airport and attended a draft rally in the city alongside all of Sacramento’s draftees — Fox, Justin Jackson and Harry Giles.
Even as a second-round pick, there’s many people who believe Mason will carve out a role in the NBA for a long time.
“Look, he may be small and he may have issues as far as finishing at the rim, but he’s got a good floater,” Jay Bilas said on ESPN’s draft broadcast. “There’s no way he fails in the NBA. He’s too tough. He’s proven that over the course of four years at Kansas.
“I’m a huge fan of Frank Mason. He’s small but his heart is gigantic; no way does he fail.”