Led by Davion Mitchell, Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield, no NBA team has invested more in Big 12 talent than the Sacramento Kings, who open their season Wednesday night.
The Kings have five Big 12 players on their roster entering Wednesday night’s season opener against the Portland Trail Blazers at 9 p.m. central time.
In fact, the Kings have selected three Big 12 players in their last two drafts, two of which were NBA Lottery Picks.
Mitchell, the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year in 2021, helped the Baylor Bears win their first national championship in April. The Kings made him the No. 9 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.
The season before, Haliburton, formerly of Iowa State, was the Kings’ first-round pick, taken No. 12 overall. Haliburton finished third in NBA Rookie of the Year voting and the Kings recently exercised their third-year option on his rookie contract.
In the second round of the 2020 NBA Draft the Kings selected former Texas Tech guard Jahmi’us Ramsey, who split time between the G League bubble and the Kings.
The other two former Big 12 players were former first-round picks for other teams.
Former Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield led the Sooners to the Final Four in 2016, earned unanimous consensus All-America honors and was named the National Player of the Year. The New Orleans Pelicans took Hield No. 6 overall in 2016 but traded him to the Kings in 2017 in the DeMarcus Cousins trade. Hield was named to the NBA’s All-Rookie team in 2017.
Hield is in the middle of a four-year extension with the Kings. He is also the fastest player in NBA history to reach 1,000 3-pointers made (350 games).
The last former Big 12 King is veteran forward Tristan Thompson. The former Texas Longhorn was selected No. 4 overall in 2011 by the Cleveland Cavaliers and won a ring with the Cavs in 2016. He spent last season with the Boston Celtics before signing with the Kings.
Two other NBA teams have four Big 12 players on their rosters — the Brooklyn Nets and the Detroit Pistons.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.
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