The Sacramento Kings missed out on the 2024 playoffs due to a myriad of injuries they were unable to overcome. They stood pat last offseason but cannot afford to make the same mistake again. This offseason has to be a busy one for them, starting with the 2024 NBA Draft.

With the 13th overall pick in the draft, the Kings have a lot of different ways to upgrade. They have done a nice job adding young talent around De'Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis with Keegan Murray, Keon Ellis and Colby Jones, so standing pat and making their pick could pay off. That seems to be the way the cookie is crumbling for them, according to Jeremy Woo of ESPN, but they aren’t ruling out trades.

Woo writes the following: “Sacramento has explored trade options with this pick, but there will be a range of quality players on the board if the Kings stand pat — they might be content to simply see who falls to No. 13.”

The Kings trading their pick for a more surefire contributor is sensible, especially if they can land someone who can be a major upgrade on either side of the ball. The contract of Harrison Barnes ($18 million salary for next season) and/or Trey Lyles ($8 million) can facilitate a trade using the 13th pick as the asset to acquire a better player. They also have the 45th overall pick to include. But they could also add a good player on a cheap deal, which can go a long way toward building the rest of their team.

Kings pondering options with No. 13 pick in 2024 NBA Draft

The Kings have most of their core players locked up on contracts for the next few seasons but could lose a valuable contributor, sixth man Malik Monk, to free agency. They should obviously look to re-sign him but the market for his services could be too rich for their tastes. It should be something they try to do regardless of what they do with their pick.

If the Kings want to find a prospect to plug into Monk's role as a sparkplug scorer off the bench, they could look at Ja'Kobe Walter, Jared McCain or Bub Carrington. All three of them have their own tendencies, strengths and weaknesses but each of them has the potential to be a legitimate scoring threat at the next level.

The Kings could also opt to add another wing and consider a well-rounded, versatile player like Tristan da Silva, a top-notch shooter at the four spot like Tyler Smith, a potential 3-and-D wing like Tidjane Salaun or a superb athlete/defender in Ron Holland. That’s who ESPN has Sacramento taking in its mock draft and it would be a spectacular pick if the G League Ignite product falls that far.

Sacramento may have fallen out of the playoff picture in large part because of injuries but the Western Conference is indeed becoming more competitive. Even if the older teams like the Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers truly begin to fade, other teams are on the rise with young talent. Three of the teams who didn’t even make the play-in last season were Victor Wembanyama's San Antonio Spurs, a good Memphis Grizzlies team decimated with injuries and the Houston Rockets, who boast young talent and the third overall pick. Complacency spells doom.

The Kings have to keep getting better or run the risk of having to start all over again. They’ve come a long way under Mike Brown, posting their first two winning seasons since 2005-06 in his two seasons at the helm. This offseason has to get them moving toward another level as a team.