Jimmy Butler to the Timberwolves, Chris Paul to the Rockets, and Paul George to the Thunder. This NBA offseason has provided us with quite a bit of entertainment. We’ve seen some mind blowing trades and acquisitions. Those stories have been hogging all the attention. While teams have been creating headlines, one team has been winning by making moves under the radar. The Sacramento Kings.
Major Offseason Additions
- De’Aaron Fox
- Justin Jackson
- Harry Giles
- Frank Mason III
- George Hill
- Zach Randolph
- Vince Carter
The Kings started their offseason by drafting four young players. They needed talent, and that’s exactly what they got in the draft. De’Aaron Fox looks to be the future star of the team. In today’s NBA, you have to have a strong point guard. The Kings found that in De’Aaron Fox. He’s a future John Wall in my eyes. Fox may not have the shooting ability of some, but his quickness, ability to score inside, and his defense will make him a star.
The additions of Justin Jackson, Harry Giles, and Frank Mason III will give them players who can fill key roles. Justin Jackson is a scorer who improved each year in college. Harry Giles is a risk because of his injury history, but he could be a steal if he can stay healthy. Frank Mason has been undervalued for quite some time because of his size. I can see all these guys making a name for themselves in the NBA. The Kings draft earned them a spot on my list of draft winners.
After being acquired as part of the DeMarcus Cousins trade, Buddy Hield played pretty well for the Kings in his rookie year. Before being traded to the Kings, Hield was scoring 8.6 points per game on 39.3% shooting from the field and 36.9% from 3pt range. After the trade to Sacramento, Hield elevated his play to 15.1 points per game on 48% shooting from the field and 42.8% from 3pt range. Willie Cauley-Stein and Skal Labissiere are two other young players who contributed solid minutes for the Kings last year.
After winning the draft, the Kings went back to work in free agency. Sacramento signed George Hill, Zach Randolph, and Vince Carter. All three of these guys are established NBA veterans who know what it takes to win. Each of them have been key contributors on winning teams throughout their careers.
George Hill had the best scoring year of his career last season, scoring 16.9 points a game. He was on a Utah Jazz team that won 51 games. While being a reliable scorer, Hill is a defensive minded point guard. After ranking 20th in offensive efficiency and 26th in defensive efficiency a year ago, the Kings need Hill’s production on both sides of the ball.
Zach Randolph had 14.1 points and 8.2 rebounds off the bench for the Grizzlies last season. The always reliable bench contributor helped his team earn 43 wins. Randolph could be a starter on this team, but I think he’ll be best suited to continue in his role off the bench. You need to have good bench production, so why not keep him there and give your second unit a leader?
Vince Carter is always exciting to watch. Despite his age, Carter can still get it done. He scored 8.0 points in 24.6 minutes off the bench for Memphis. Carter shot 37.8% from 3pt range last year. The Kings actually had the 5th best team in terms of 3pt shooting percentage last season. Adding Carter will give them another weapon to use from deep.
Youth and Experience
When I first saw the news that George Hill, Zach Randolph, and Vince Carter were signing with the Kings, I didn’t like it at all. I wondered why Sacramento chose to sign three 30+ players to a roster full of youth who are loaded with potential. After giving it some thought, I think I may have found the reason why.
The Kings have a bright future, but I think they’re still a few years away from being competitive. The youth are going to come in and show us how great they can be, but they need some guidance. Adding Hill, Randolph, and Carter gives them that. The presence of three NBA veterans will be a valuable thing for these young players.
The veteran presence allows these young players to make the NBA transition a lot smoother and quicker than they could on their own. These three veterans can handle the bulk of the work while trying to keep things afloat. Each veteran has a skill and mind set they can teach. Sacramento will be an improved team after these roster additions, but I don’t think these moves are about winning right now. It’s about the future for this team, and they’ve done a good job of putting themselves in good position to succeed down the road.
While other teams have been making moves to be winners right now, the Sacramento Kings have been making the moves to improve now, but be big winners later. We can’t say for sure how things will work out for the Kings moving forward, but after a lot of recent criticism, the Kings have made fantastic moves that show us they might actually know what they’re doing.