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20Q: How will wing minutes be distributed?

The competition for wing minutes could be a juicy one.

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.

A team can never have enough quality wings at its disposal. Sacramento's new general manager Monte McNair appears to assimilate that, as he's both signed and drafted players to aid in the area the Kings have substantially suffered from in preceding seasons: wing depth. 

Players who have surfaced onto McNair's roster this offseason include Glenn Robinson III and Robert Woodard II, with DaQuan Jeffries returning on a fresh contract, presumably in a bigger role based on his Bubble performances and with Kent Bazemore’s departure. The new batch of wings are set to join Harrison Barnes and Justin James, who remains in Sacramento after the Bogdan Bogdanovic trade fell through

Among the several lineup and rotation questions confronting head coach Luke Walton this season, one is particularly salient: How will wing minutes be distributed?

Let's begin with Harrison Barnes, the most experienced of the bunch. He's typically the starting three in Walton’s lineups, but by the game's conclusion, Barnes registers more minutes as a four; Fifty-four percent of his minutes this past season was as a power forward. Walton’s rotation and lineup plans are unclear to this point, but if last year’s trend extends, Barnes could be featured as an interchangeable three and four more often (like the Rudy Gay and TJ Warren’s of the world). Marvin Bagley's perceived position may modify Barnes’ minutes at the four, so that might be a factor to consider. 

Justin James, last season’s 40th overall pick, is entering the second year of his three-year contract. Minutes were scarce for the 6’7” wing, but of the 232 minutes played, 49% came as a two, and 46% came as a three, per Basketball-Reference. James’ defensive versatility and athleticism on both ends make him an intriguing prospect, but nothing conspicuous transpired from those minutes. However, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Bazemore’s withdrawals have unlocked a path for these younger wings to snatch more minutes for themselves; it’s up to James to impress and earn them.

One wing who impressed to earn additional minutes is DaQuan Jeffries. The 23-year-old wing featured in Stockton as a two-way player, but unprecedented situations involving the pandemic resulted in a weightier role; Jeffries seized that role and secured his short-term future with Sacramento. The 6’5” Jeffries displayed positional versatility on both ends — while 61% of his minutes came at the three, 20% came as a two, and 18% as a four. Jeffries re-signed on a two-year deal (team option on year two), and if he enhances his game further, Sacramento has a solid rotational player secured on an inexpensive deal. 

Robert Woodard II, this season’s 40th overall pick, signed a four-year deal worth $6.7 million earlier this week, including $3.3 million in guaranteed money. With that contract, Sacramento seems confident that Woodard can develop into a quality player, and rightfully so. The 6’7”, 235-pound Woodard may potentially develop into a combo forward who can stretch the floor; Woodard shot 42.9% from deep on 2.3 attempts in his final season at Mississippi State. If that shot, and his individual defense, translates to the NBA, that will be tremendous value for Sacramento. 

Glenn Robinson III represented another veteran signing in Sacramento on the minimum. Robinson is coming off his best season where in 48 games with Golden State, he averaged 12.9 points with a 40% three-point clip (3.5 attempts). Robinson entered the league logging more minutes as a two, but that’s flipped recently as he now plays more at the three (75% of 1516 minutes with GSW). The 6’6” wing can feature as either a two or a three with this current roster and will try to impress to propel himself towards a heftier contract next season. 

Easing the youngsters into games will be pivotal. With no Summer League and a condensed training camp, the four preseason games provide the only opportunity for them to obtain reps; the learning curve will be steep. Out of this group, Barnes and Robinson likely receive a sizeable chunk of the minutes as seasoned veterans, while the younger players compete for the remaining minutes. Nemanja Bjelica is another name that likely sees minutes at the four over Woodard early on, and if De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton share time on the court, Buddy Hield may feature as a three.

Nonetheless, Sacramento is brewing a youth movement to assemble a younger core around Fox, and some of these wings, if they pan out, could play crucial roles.

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NBALensface
December 5, 2020 7:48 am

Y’all miss Scott Moak’s pre-game intros? (starting @ 1 min)

mdeedublu
December 5, 2020 8:41 am
Reply to  NBALensface

Epic…..

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
December 5, 2020 8:13 am

There really are a ton of wings on the roster so some are not going to see much action. My rough guess:

SG: Buddy 30 minutes, Hali 8 minutes, Joseph, 5, Jeffries 3, James 2
SF: Barnes 20 minutes, Robinson 15 minutes, Woodard 9, Jeffries 3, James 1

Odd man is going to be Ramsey and possibly James. By the way, has James been seen at camp thus far?

Barnes is likely to get minutes at the 4, depending on the health and play of Bagley and Nemanja. Holmes and Whiteside will split the center minutes.

All that being spitballed, I still think there is another trade on the immediate horizon the clears rotations up a bit more. For example, if Buddy gets moved for a pick we are going to see a platoon of players on the wing so McNair can evaluate what he has got.

HongKongKingsFan
December 5, 2020 8:30 am
Reply to  Adamsite

I just want Woodard & Jeffries can get as many playing time as possible….
Justin James should be the odd man out. 

9sac8
December 5, 2020 2:51 pm

James should get minutes. The kid can play D, shoots well, and has hoops. F that. Give the kid some floor time.

Kingsguru21
December 5, 2020 9:32 am
Reply to  Adamsite

This is exactly where I think not having Stockton to get Ramsey or James some minutes (or lots of them) is going to factor in big time. The G League is so helpful in situations with young players like these.

Oh well. Such is life.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
December 5, 2020 9:51 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Guy as well. Kings still need to cut one player before the season, that is unless the NBA grants larger rosters this year. I’ve mentioned before that this would have been the perfect year for the Kings to utilize Stockton.

Kingsguru21
December 5, 2020 9:55 am
Reply to  Adamsite

 I’ve mentioned before that this would have been the perfect year for the Kings to utilize Stockton.

I think a lot of people share this sentiment. Certainly it’s no surprise you share it however. 🙂

Last edited 5 months ago by Kingsguru21
ForKingsandCountry
December 5, 2020 10:44 am
Reply to  Adamsite

So what’s the story with the G-League this year? Is it just not happening or are the Kings just not fielding a team or what?

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
December 5, 2020 12:45 pm

As far as I know nothing has been announced. There isn’t even a schedule posted. So far the new Ignite team is the only thing that’s been operational.

ForKingsandCountry
December 5, 2020 12:54 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Interesting. Yeah I mean if the league is pinching is pennies as much a they claim it wouldn’t shock me if they just wait and see what happens in a month or two.

NorCalKingsFan
December 5, 2020 3:07 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

I thought they announced a shortened season in a bubble (I think it was in Atlanta), of like 20 games or something with a $500K buy-in. I can’t find the exact link though.

I found this one instead: https://espn991.com/nba-g-league-to-play-season-in-a-bubble-in-2021/

RORDOG
December 5, 2020 1:44 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

I was watching some of Ramsey’s highlight vids earlier. He’s definitely going to need some developmental minutes somewhere. His ballhandling isn’t quite where it needs to be for how fast he plays. He’s got some bull in a China shop vibes. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s just the type of thing that should be fine tuned in the g league typically.

9sac8
December 5, 2020 2:52 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

Poor man’s Westbrook

NorCalKingsFan
December 5, 2020 3:10 pm
Reply to  9sac8

He reminds me a bit of a much bigger Frank Mason with less handles.

Kingsguru21
December 5, 2020 6:47 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

You’re the scout. I’m just the rambling dumbass. I’ll take your word for it. 🙂

MichaelMack
December 6, 2020 12:10 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

I was getting some Vinnie Johnson vibes watching some video on him

ThreeManWeave
December 5, 2020 8:54 am

I’d like to see Justin James get a legit look. He is the only wing that has shown some passing/playmaking. Outside of Fox and Halliburton, having another guy that looks to play-make can make help he offense flow well for 48 minutes.

ArcoThunder
December 5, 2020 12:03 pm
Reply to  ThreeManWeave

Love me some James. his play making ability and tenacity on defense are solid traits to build off of.

Last edited 5 months ago by ArcoThunder
RikSmits
December 5, 2020 8:55 am

Since Barnes reneged on his shaving promise I am done with him.

I was so looking forward to him stepping on his own beard during a fast break.

I really like to see what Woodard can do at the NBA level.

SMF-PDXConnection
December 5, 2020 8:58 am

It’s irrelevant to me with Alton in charge. He’ll probably give the most experienced wings a lot of leeway while yanking the young guys at the smallest mistake.

RORDOG
December 5, 2020 9:09 am

Just an FYI, I think the linked to the Teespring page to buy the ugly Xmas sweater is broken. I keep getting a “page not found” message when I click the link.

SMF-PDXConnection
December 5, 2020 10:20 am
Reply to  RORDOG

No, they’re deliberately trying to prevent you from getting one. They don’t want you sullying the Jerry threads with AM/PM sauce drippings.

RORDOG
December 5, 2020 1:07 pm

nacho cheese doesn’t stain, trust me.

SMF-PDXConnection
December 5, 2020 1:23 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

Do you wear a poncho every time you go there?

RORDOG
December 5, 2020 1:46 pm

my Winter look is actually velour tracksuits (and porn ‘stache)

DDF3BE86-5736-4154-BF40-9116B0E7025B.jpeg
Peja
December 5, 2020 1:57 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

It’s a beautiful winter look

RORDOG
December 5, 2020 2:28 pm
Reply to  Peja

Stylish comfort

SMF-PDXConnection
December 5, 2020 2:29 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

But how is the world to be graced with such a stache when it’s hidden under a face mask?

RORDOG
December 5, 2020 3:05 pm

It’s like hanging up the Mona Lisa in your basement.

ElRonToro
December 5, 2020 10:38 am

So….if Barnes splits his 36 minutes as a 4/5 that leaves 78 minutes for the 4 bigs, Holmes, Bagley , Bjelica and Whiteside. I believe all but Bjelica expect to play around 28 minutes a game or more if healthy. Who is out?
This team is really set up to move Barnes because it helps clear up the minutes issue this post is about and also the one I brought up.

MichaelMack
December 5, 2020 12:02 pm
Reply to  ElRonToro

I would imagine Bjelica is going to be moved before the deadline. I would think with his size, range, and playmaking ability on an expiring contract, that McNair will be getting more than a couple of phone calls for him.

ArcoThunder
December 5, 2020 12:08 pm
Reply to  MichaelMack

I’d assume the same. For the record though, I wouldn’t mind keeping Nemanja long term. You need some old dudes and I love his game for the price. You know what you got in Nemanja and you know it’s going to age well.

could they re sign him next summer after trading him?

BabalooMagoo
December 5, 2020 1:38 pm
Reply to  MichaelMack

Ah, fuck it…

citykidd
rff
December 5, 2020 10:41 am

Rumor has it Walton is going to start Bagley at the 3. Opening day line-up will be Whiteside(5), Holmes(4), Bagley(3), Barnes(2), Fox(1). Bagley will revolutionize the 3 position and will become a perennial all star.

Hobby916
December 5, 2020 11:19 am
Reply to  rff

That lineup will actually help the Tank job.

citykidd
rff
December 5, 2020 11:44 am
Reply to  Hobby916

You guys that want the team to tank are puzzling. Don’t you want the team you root for to win?? I’ll bet if you ask, Fox for instance: Do you want a higher draft pick or win as many games as you can? I’m 100% sure he would say win as many games as we can.

NotAlwaysLogic
December 5, 2020 12:18 pm
Reply to  rff

Perhaps those that want to tank are looking at the big picture and are seeking more wins in the future. Less wins this year and a top 5 draft pick could mean more wins for many years to come. Right?

RobHessing
December 5, 2020 12:45 pm
Reply to  rff

Given the new lottery rules, tanking ain’t what it used to be. And I do agree with you from the perspective of never rooting for this team to lose. And I will add that if Fox is playing, a tank would actually be counterproductive, as your best player will either demand out or be OK with not competing, and either of those options are disconcerting.

With all of that said, my wants for this season would be:

  • The next big step from Fox. Greater consistency on both ends of the floor, an improved percentage from the line and from beyond the arc, improved health.
  • Health and an exponential leap in his game from Bagley, especially signs of a consistent perimeter shot, passing out of double teams, and effort on defense.
  • An all-NBA rookie team performance (1st or 2nd team is fine with me) from Haliburton. In addition, signs from two of the following – Woodard, Ramsey, James, Jeffries, Metu – that they can become legit NBA rotation players.
  • Assets of any value (even 2nd round picks) for at least Barnes, Whiteside and Robinson.
  • A season that leads to a change in the head coach.

Note that wins is not on my list. Not wishing for losses, but also not prioritizing wins at all. Wins will benefit the current group of youngsters, losses will benefit draft position. There are benefits and detriments to both, but in the end I’m not smart enough to determine which route is more beneficial (when factoring in that ping pong balls are involved and losses are not a lock for pick position), so I’m not going to sweat it either way.

NorCalKingsFan
December 5, 2020 3:29 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

I would tell Fox that this year should be spent working on being the team leader consistently through increasing the pace, getting others involved early, and putting them in a place to succeed.

Work on setting up his wings with perfect chest passes to the spots they like most, work on the PnR (his lob passes need to be better), work on being a distributor and facilitator.

Of course he’ll continue to take shots, but the main focus should be on truly running this offense in both transition and half-court sets.

That way, we get to see what we have in the other players and I would like to save Fox’s body from unnecessary contact (less driving to the hoop) this year as much as possible.

Rosevillain
December 5, 2020 11:48 am
Reply to  rff

And they’re going to play 5 out, right? Awesome. Can’t Vivek just tell Walton he’s answering to Gentry now? Like he did Vlade. Come on Aneel, make it happen.

RobHessing
December 5, 2020 11:05 am

(“How’d he get in the game?”)

Yeah, no worries. Luke’s got this.

ArcoThunder
December 5, 2020 11:56 am

I like how it appears Monty has set up the roster to make moves.

I am overly excited about last years draft class. I’d love to see both James and Guy get rotational minutes this year. There’s a purple haze showing both as diamonds in the rough. These two dudes have a high BBALL IQ and they both create well. That’s why there’s optimism. If given the opportunity I think both would carve out a spot on the current and future rotation.

I think the priority should be trading Buddy and CoJo. Eliminate them from the roster and you have substantial minutes at the guard spots to fill in with Haliburton, James, Guy and Ramsey. If we could end the season knowing that two of those 4 are definite keepers and part of the big picture it would be a huge win for the franchise.

Buildable:
Inner Core = Fox, Halliburton, Bagley
Outer Core = Guy, James, Woodard, Jeffries, Ramsey
Mantle= Nemanja, Holmes,

richie88
December 5, 2020 1:29 pm
Reply to  ArcoThunder

I really don’t think Guy or Ramsey are ready for rotational minutes this season. They need more development. James will have to compete w/GR3, Woodard & Jeffries for minutes.

KingsHustle
December 5, 2020 12:32 pm

Sanjesh, in what world makes you think he can play three spot. He’s undersized as a two guard as it is. SMH

RobHessing
December 5, 2020 12:52 pm
Reply to  KingsHustle

Probably the same dynamic that at times had Paul, Schroder and SGA on the floor at the same time for OKC, or Harden, Westbrook and McLemore for the Rockets, or Lillard, McCollum and Bazemore for Portland, etc.

It won’t work in a lot of situations, but it will work in specific circumstances.

SMF-PDXConnection
December 5, 2020 1:25 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

Does anyone think Alton is smart enough to recognize those situations?

RobHessing
December 5, 2020 1:32 pm

He’ll have to check the tape.
comment image

SMF-PDXConnection
December 5, 2020 1:49 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

comment image

richie88
December 5, 2020 1:30 pm
Reply to  KingsHustle

If Hali was stronger, he’d be a better fit at SF in that lineup due to his length.

MauricePWhippoorwill
December 5, 2020 1:50 pm

My trade proposal for an ultra quick reset:
Buddy, Barnes, Bagley, 2021 First Round Pick, 2024 First Round Pick for James Harden.

ElRonToro
December 5, 2020 2:26 pm

That is not a resetting that is an upsetting

9sac8
December 5, 2020 2:57 pm
Reply to  ElRonToro

Very

RobHessing
December 5, 2020 3:51 pm
Reply to  ElRonToro

The Hardening of my arteries.

Rosevillain
December 5, 2020 4:42 pm

Sorry, but doesn’t the word “reset” suggest there was something once?

RobHessing
December 5, 2020 4:54 pm
Reply to  Rosevillain

Reshit?

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