Plagued by poor management and coaching over the last decade, there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel for the Sacramento Kings this season. With just four players over the age of 25, many people have already written off the Kings as a tanking team looking to snatch another coveted lottery pick. However, what this team lacks in age and experience is made up with versatility and athleticism.
Though not many have picked up on it, the Kings adore blue-blooded prospects. The current team includes eleven former-draftees from Power-5 conferences, four of which went to Kentucky. The potential is there but has never materialized.
Last season it was Harry Giles. Once heralded as the #2 prospect of the 2016 high school recruiting class, Giles constantly fought through injuries during his playing days at Duke University. Unfortunately, his nagging injuries caught up to him in the league as he was forced to sit out his entire rookie season after missing time at Duke for back-to-back ACL tears. It has been refreshing seeing Giles, or “Giles III” on his jersey as of late, getting back in the swing of things.
This year, the stage is wide open for young players to make an impact. De’Aaron Fox will be looking to improve on his freshman campaign as his production level is best labeled as “inconclusive,” while the Duke frontcourt tandem of Harry Giles III and Marvin Bagley III will be looking to wreak havoc with their court versatility and defensive presence. One who not many have talked about this off-season, Bogdan Bogdanovic, is someone to look out for this season. Coming off a fantastic “rookie” season at the age of 25, Bogdan put up an impressive 11.8 PTS, 2.9 REB, and 3.3 AST all while shooting 45% from the field and 39% from deep.
Another Kentucky alum with an intriguing game is third-year big man Skal Labissiere. With a smooth post game down low and an athletic build, Labissiere looked poised for a breakout season. The only issue with this plan is the Kings atrocious logjam in their frontcourt. Cauley-Stein, Bagley, Giles, Labissiere, Kosta Koufos, and Zach Randolph are all itching for minutes on the court.
This logjam, however, may end up having a different effect in the locker room than what might be seen on the court. Zach Randolph, master of the “old man’s” game, has presumed the role of bench rider and advice giver for the upcoming season. To have an older vet explain exactly what and what not to do to your young core as a coach is everything. Hopefully, the Kings frontcourt will produce early and take notes from Z-Bo throughout the season.
After retaining most of their young talent, Dave Joerger will hopefully be able to see his blue-chip talent mesh together on the court. The heralded players have not provided sufficient results in the past three seasons, going a combined 92-154. After trading their previous franchise centerpiece DeMarcus Cousins, the Kings made it well known they were going into a full rebuild mode.