Welcome to 20Q, a variation on our usual 30Q series. With the abbreviated time until the season begins, we'll just do 20 questions this season, finishing up right before the season begins on December 22nd.
Analyze the current roster of the Sacramento Kings, and you'll notice something in particular: Whether you classify them as 4's and 5's or just as bigs, the Kings have a plethora at their disposal.
Joining Marvin Bagley, Nemanja Bjelica and Jabari Parker on the roster are Hassan Whiteside, Frank Kaminsky, and Chimezie Metu (training camp deal), with a strong possibility that both Harrison Barnes and Robert Woodard II get minutes at the four. That congestion is bigger than a weekday evening on Highway 99 by Downtown Sacramento.
But a logjam in one department means an opening in another. For the Kings, that vacancy resides at point guard.
With Bogdan Bogdanovic departing for Atlanta, De'Aaron Fox persists as the sole initiator on the roster. Cory Joseph's specialty lies on defense; Kyle Guy, on a two-way contract, is more of an off-ball shooting guard (though he should compete for minutes); Jahmi'us Ramsey is a rookie that probably won't receive minutes immediately; Tyrese Haliburton is an option, but he's also inexperienced and dealing with a condensed training camp; Buddy Hield, as we witnessed first-hand last season, is far from a ball-handling initiator.
So, will the Kings sign another point guard?
Fox, who could see an uptick in minutes per game, can't shoulder the burden alone. The issue, however, is that Sacramento's roster is stationed at 20; they'd need to cut players to create room if they pursue another initiating guard.
Fortunately, the point guard market hasn't been picked clean just yet.
Shabazz Napier, 29, is arguably the best player available. Though a bit undersized, Napier can fully initiate while also knocking down jumpers off the ball if needed. He played alongside Bradley Beal in Washington last season, putting up solid numbers despite not inking a new contract yet. Napier won't be a needle mover for Sacramento, but he's an experienced veteran who can step in comfortably for adequate value.
Low risk, high reward
A younger, but experienced, alternative is Emmanuel Mudiay. The 6'5" guard has featured for three teams in five seasons, which has stained his resume. That's not the only stain: Mudiay hasn't been a positive impact player on either end of the floor since his rookie season. However, there's intrigue in his scoring, which has improved in specific spots. In Utah last season, he shot 56% on long mid-range jumpers (41 attempts), good for the 90th percentile, per Cleaning the Glass. On all mid-range jumpers, his percentage sat at 48 (128 attempts), slotting him in the 86th percentile. And on non-corner threes, he shot 38% (50 attempts), putting him in the 74th percentile (both stats from CTG). These are all career-high numbers for the soon-to-be 25-year-old guard, so if the Kings want a low risk, potentially high reward backup, Mudiay could receive a phone call.
Small, but promising sample size
An inexperienced name flying under the radar is Jordan McLaughlin, a restricted free agent from Minnesota. McLaughlin originally inked a two-way deal, but earned minutes in mid-January (logged 574 minutes total) and impressed, staying in the rotation until the pandemic halted the league. The 5'11 guard wasn't ball-dominant, but boy did he rack up assists. His assist: usage ratio climaxed at a whopping 1:64, good for the 96th percentile, per CTG. For context, his usage rate of 18% placed him in just the 10th percentile. McLaughlin also shot 44% from deep, ranking in the 92nd percentile, per CTG. Keep in mind that CTG filters out garbage time stats and heaves, making McLaughlin's numbers even more salivating, despite the small sample sizes. Minnesota doesn't seem to be rushing for McLaughlin to stay, but the RFA tag could make it difficult for Sacramento to acquire his talent. You don't want to overpay for small sample sizes, though the pros seem to outweigh the potential cons in this context.
Some other obtainable guards include Brandon Knight and Yogi Ferrell (re-sign). The market is extremely dehydrated, so it's entirely rational if the Kings simply commit to supplying minutes to Guy and Ramsey to see how they develop.
But if that's the outcome, brace yourselves for some not-so-pretty basketball.
“I’m your huckleberry.”
If you like watching him dribble the ball off his foot.
Dude that clip is wrong please use it sparingly! Feel like I accidentally walked in on Luke alone in the locker room.
Yeah please, wow. That clip is pretty creepy. It needs to be put away.
One of the best clips ever! Funny as hell.
We’re tanking….let Buddy run the point!
this is good
My inclination is to let Kyle Guy have the minutes, since winning games isn’t the main objective.
I do think that Haliburton is going to show some real skill running the point, but even if he starts well, there’s no way to get better without experience. As you say, the NBA is an entirely separate animal.
The free agent options won’t break the bank, but if we have the luxury to run experiments, may as well do it with the guys that are around, unless the organization doesn’t think that they’ll ever contribute at the top level. Let’s kick the tires on the young guys.
Agreed. Between Fox, Joseph, Hali and Guy they can make it work. Hali is effectively taking up the playmaking of Bogi and Guy replaces Yogi. Yet the young guys learn. Trial by fire.
Strongly agree with Guy getting the work. Don’t think he has massive potential necessarily, but worst case scenario you are rewarding the internal G-League path.
This is a very good point. Small market teams should be fully embracing the G-League to pro path and rubbing every piece of coal in hope of finding a diamond. By building a team that is known to give fringe talent a possible path to NBA minutes an you will be rewarded with better opportunities to quality players.
I vote for kicking the tires on the young guys as well. I’d also be fine with bringing back Yogi.
It’s ok, they have Whiteside.
I don’t have a lot of faith in Kyle Guy as a true point guard. I wish I did, but I would love to see Hali run most of the backup minutes at the point. I believe he is a guy you can toss into the fire, and he can figure it out. I am all for letting the young kid learn the hard way. With his mind and attitude, I am optimistic about that approach.
But if I had to pick one of the players above, I would be open to Mudiay. He came into the league so raw, and I think there is still some development to be seen.
My vote is for Hali, Guy and Ramsey to have some point guard duties. We are developing, not winning…and well, because fuck it.
God no we don’t need another guard on this team.
All minutes at the 1-2 spots should be ideally this season just be between fox/buddy/hali but we are obviously going to play cojo as well. Do not need a 5th guard to be a vet, develop one of the young guys.
I couldn’t think of a more useless roster spot this season than bringing in a 5th guard that is a vet.
No thank you.
Cory Josephs is fine for this year. Sounds like he’s working with Halliburton. Maybe he gets his value up and they deal him at the deadline. Worst case, he rides it out here for the season and they cut him loose after this year for a minimum buyout.
1 more pg might not be a bad idea. May as well plan on injuries.
I’d be ok with either signing Napier (and trading Joseph’s contract) or running with what the Kings have already on the roster.
Please don’t mention Kyle Guy. He’s a solid G-League or injury fill in. However; as an NBA rotational player…he is not. Would rather see Ramsey get those minutes.
Quit sniffing the glue dude, your articles are the worst.
You seem fun.
Assuming you read it what is your issue? Seemed pretty straightforward do we need a PG. Not my guy or die!, so why the tude?
Only asking because I don’t know, but…where is yogi Ferrell? Not that he’s a distributing game manager pg either.
Still available Kings not interested.
Hali and Kyle Guy are capable of 10-15 MPG behind Fox. Kyle Guy is more talented than Cory Jospeh, a washed up plodder who leads you nowhere but to losing respectably.
More legitimate questions is will Coach Walton cut his nose off to spite his face by including half court dribble-by-death player Cory Joseph in his rotation or give Kyle Guy the chance he deserves!
Kyle Guy plays with bravado, smooth jumper, easy range, nice runner, sneaky hops, the skills are there. He’s better than Justin James who got undeserved minutes last year.
So the question I would ask regarding back-up PG: (1) Will Kyle Guy or Hali get a spot in the rotation or (2) Will the coach help to cement his own demise by playing slow tempo mood killer Joseph?
The problem I anticipate is this coach is coaching for his life in the NBA, he’s on the hot seat, already a little defensive about his relationship with the the GM.
When the fight or flight instinct kicks in, he’s likely going to turn to the vets, which is the wrong instinct to get this team to play with synergy and enthusiasm.
Do you want to take the fun out of the game and be less than the sum of the parts? Play Joseph. Do you want fun and enthusiasm and collective energy to possibly overachive? To be greater than the sum of the parts? Play Guy and/or Haliburton.
Look at the mood of Walton in his press conference. Does he look like he’s about fun? He looks like he came from or is on his way to a funeral! Maybe he will pleasantly surprise me but he loves himself some Cory “Ride and Die” Joseph.
Kyle Guy needs to pick his spots offensively and prove he can keep his man in front of him. Assuming he had the requisite strength from rookie year (like Fox did) I expect he will. Kyle can be like a poor man’s White Chocolate J-Will, not the ball handling wizard, but no slouch, a modest parting contribution from failed GM Vlade.
Kyle Guy shot only 41% in the G-League but he made 40% of his threes. He needs to prove he make shots when he is pushed off the line. I understand fans giving up on him and seeing him as a longshot but the reason I give him a fighting chance is he has moxie. He plays like he knows he belongs and that is half (or more) of the battle.
We will know soon enough who is more ready: Kyle or Haliburton. All the back up minutes should go to these guys. We know what the Plodder brings. But like I said this coach is likely to give Joseph the nod, going down on a sinking ship with the tried and predictably medicore.
CoJo is what he is, a defense first point guard. Good player if you have a combo guard to cover the offensive lacking. I see the idea of trying the young guys. Hali is going to has his hands full adjusting to the NBA, without having to be a the primary facilitator. I don’t think Guy will make it defensively. With a short preseason, if CoJo is on the roster he will be the primary back-up until someone pushes past him or he gets traded.
I’m fine with Guy getting more run with the varsity club. I’m not optimistic that he’ll stick in the NBA though.
You lost me when you said he was better than James, not even close. While James didn’t wow anyone, he did fairly well for himself when he got minutes.
I like Guy’s swagger too, but unless he can learn to play as proper facilitating PG and be that bench sparkplug, he has no NBA future due to his limitations on defense and in getting his shot off.
Did IT get signed? Not that I think he is the guy, but if you are bringing Whiteside back, why not IT?
Hmmm, you don’t say. Perhaps Gay and Cuz are available too!
After checking out Mclaughlin he looks fun!
And what fun we can have with this
Another Pg is not needed, plenty if capable ball handlers and initiators on the team. Plus we are tanking. Let the backup pg situation stink.
Because the best way to help get your other young guys up to speed is by letting someone without floor general skills initiate the offense.
That’s a vote for Hield then, I take it?
I don’t really see a situation in which that will be an issue. If Fox gets hurt, then Halliburton gets to start. If Halliburton gets hurt then they still have Fox and Joseph. If Joseph gets hurt, then Guy gets 10 minutes a game. If two guys get hurt, then you’re probably screwed regardless, but you can still sign guys to 10 day contracts and whatnot.
I think you only bring someone in if you think you can sign them for a deal below their actual value. McLaughlin would be a fun, but I’m not sure if a 25 year old small guard will ever become more than a solid backup.
I’m still a little bitter that the Kings didn’t sign Shaquille Harrison. He could’ve provided some additional playmaking, and needed toughness on defense.
One year deal for:
The correct answer to the headline is yes they will…
By drafting Cade Cunningham next year.
/shudders in corner
Quinton Rose might be on the depth chart also. People have called him a 6’8 point forward but he looks more like a 6’4 combo-guard.
Intentionally depleting ball handlers + stacking big men = stealth tank move.
If Fox is out for any reason, this team will be GARBAGE.