Following a solid offseason, the Sacramento Kings turn to the 2017-18 campaign with a mix of seasoned veterans and hopeful and talented young players.
Between second-year players poised to build off continual improvement in their rookie year, rookies with extreme upside, and several knowledgeable vets, the Kings could be one of the Association’s most intriguing squads headed into October.
With three floor generals on the current roster, Sactown is led by nine-year veteran PG George Hill. A newcomer to the Kings this season, Hill is fresh off a career scoring year in Utah – boasting per game averages of 16.9 points, 4.2 assists and 3.4 rebounds. In addition to leading the one spot, No. 3 will guide rookies De’Aaron Fox and Frank Mason III throughout their first 82 games in the League.
Fox – already one of the League’s quickest players – has shown his defensive prowess and offensive abilities throughout his young playing career. Headed into the season, expect No. 5 to initially back up point guard duties while seeing his playing increase or decreased based on on-court performance.
Lastly, with Mason III showing elite scoring tendencies throughout his time at Kansas and at the Vegas Summer League, the rookie guard is likely to see minutes allocated based on play, much like Fox. In addition, the rookie could see minutes next to one of Hill or Fox in a role similar to last season’s Lawson-Collison pairing.
A position filled with young talent, the team’s shooting guard trio is expected to be one of the most interesting spots to watch this season.
Buddy Hield finished the 2016-17 campaign with 25 games played for Sacramento – averaging a season-best 15.1 points on 48-percent shooting.
Bogdan Bogdanovic, meanwhile, may be a rookie, but he’s expected to play like anything but one. Pundits have thought Bogdanovic may be capable of earning next season’s Rookie of the Year award with a smooth stroke and impressive slashing skills.
Capping the team’s two-guard position is second-year slasher Malachi Richardson who hopes to build off of his 22 games as a rookie in Sactown. In limited time, Richardson’s aggressive nature filled a key role among several veteran players last season.
The Kings small forwards are undoubtedly one of the team’s most experienced groups with veterans Vince Carter, Garrett Temple and JaKarr Sampson filling the spot, with rookie Justin Jackson rounding out the quartet.
Carter, at age 40, scored 8.0 points per contest on nearly 25 minutes per outing in 2016 and is a lock to be a guiding voice in the locker room and huddles for the team’s younger additions.
Temple’s consistency was a staple of his game in 2016-17 with the Kings, playing as one of the team’s best defenders while building a reliable outside shot and mid-range game.
Meanwhile, Sampson earned himself a two-way contract with Sactown after an impressive Summer League and is expected to see time in between both Sacramento and Reno.
Not to be forgotten is Justin Jackson – whose impressive summer session came as no surprise to media and coaches alike. Labeled a diligent worker that prides himself on consistency, No. 25 hopes to carve out an increased role in his first season in Sacramento with solid defensive play and a wide array of offensive abilities between his patented floater and outside shot.
The four spot may have one of the squad’s highest ceilings between athleticism, outside-inside game, and veteran talent.
Skal Labissiere ended the season with one of the NBA’s best stretches for a rookie, also scoring a 2016 draftee season-high 32 points. Building off his abilities with a new emphasis on ball-handling, outside shooting and post-game could make No. 7 one of Sactown’s most lethal offensive players.
The pick of Harry Giles in the late first round has been universally praised across the NBA world, and Giles’ package of passing, athleticism and defensive upside make his progress one to keep a close eye on.
A two-time All-Star, Zach Randolph is likely to see close to his 25 minute-per-game average in 2016-17 during the upcoming season. In that time, Randolph is expected to be a force in the paint as has been a staple for No. 50 over the years, providing the team with a constant inside scoring option.
Length, hustle and consistency define Sactown’s center position.
Willie Cauley-Stein scored in double figures in each of his final seven contests, providing a consistent offensive spark as a big man. An extremely agile 7-footer, Cauley-Stein’s finishing ability and speed should be seen when playing among quick teammates such as Fox.
Kosta Kofuos provides the team with a veteran defensive paint presence and an efficient low post scorer, tallying 50-plus percent from the field in each of his last three seasons.
Georgios Papagiannis’ unique combination of length, shooting ability and inside arsenal should see continued growth after a full offseason and time at EuroBasket 2017. Papagiannis could see an increased role after another impressive end to last season.
Lastly, Jack Cooley earned a spot on the roster after a standout end to his Summer League. Earning fan admiration for his continual hustle and offensive rebounding ability, Cooley, much like Sampson, should see time between Sacramento and Reno.