Following much anticipation during an exciting offseason, the 2017 NBA Summer League allowed the first look at some of the newest members of the Kings young core suiting up together for the first time.
This six-game stint in Las Vegas served as a substantial building block for a youth-filled Sacramento roster and a crucial learning opportunity for players.
As such, here are three things that we’ve learned from Sactown’s Summer League experience.
1. Chemistry is Crucial
With a team featuring just seven players who were on the roster for the 2016-17 season, getting acclimated with each other is essential heading into next season.
Four returning second-year players (Buddy Hield, Malachi Richardson, Georgios Papagiannis, and Skal Labissiere) now had four new teammates to work with (De’Aaron Fox, Justin Jackson, Harry Giles, and Frank Mason III) and were able to practice and play alongside them for the first time.
Immersing new faces in the team culture and system on the court can prove to be a tall task, especially for players with just one year of NBA experience under their belt. However, veteran players can help alleviate this process and during the Summer League we saw multiple examples of that.
Newly signed veterans Vince Carter, George Hill and Zach Randolph were all in Las Vegas alongside returning guard Garrett Temple to help mentor and coach the younger guys from the sidelines. The crew is poised to be part of a stable of experienced players serving as key components, not only on the court, but in the locker room, as well.
2. Team record doesn’t always tell the whole story
The Kings finished in Las Vegas with a 2-4 record, but the record doesn’t tell the full story. The team’s tenure in the desert was anything but a failure, as Kings Assistant Coach Jason March had shared throughout the Kings time in Nevada.
The Las Vegas games serve a larger purpose in the long run – showcasing the importance of learning a system, adjusting to the speed of NBA basketball and building chemistry.
Ultimately, the records are all reset come October when the regular season commences, but the lessons learned in these Summer League contests will remain with these players.
3. The potential is present
The hype surrounding top prospects being selected in the 2017 NBA Draft and strong showings down the stretch by last year’s batch of rookies has been palpable in Sacramento and there have been several performances by these young Kings to help justify that.
Throughout the team’s time in Vegas, flashes of what could come in Sactown were on display on a nightly basis.
These include 20-plus point games by Mason III, Hield and Jackson, a dominant double-double by Papagiannis, and a five-steal effort by Fox – to name a few examples.
As the excitement continues to mount and expectations still rising, there is already evidence to help support that this could be a special group of players in Sacramento.