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30Q: Can Chimezie Metu Earn a Role?

The 24-year-old from USC could be one of the Kings only floor spacing big men.

Chimezie Metu has been a busy man over the last year. Since signing a two-way contract with the Kings last December, he came off the bench in 36 contests, averaging 6.3 point and 2.3 rebounds in 13.6 minutes per game, while shooting 50% from the field and 35% from the three point line. He was injured in February on a cheap shot by Memphis’ Jonas Valanciunas, which broke his wrist and kept Metu - a young player trying to prove himself in the NBA - out for six months. But the Kings apparently saw enough in him to sign him to a multi-year contract in April.

Metu has played a lot of basketball this summer. He played for the Nigeria men’s national team in the 2020 Olympic qualifiers, and had a 22 point, 10 rebound outing in their qualifying loss to Italy in late July. He then flew back to the states and played for the Kings Vegas Summer League squad just a week later, and averaged 10 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in 25 minutes a game (albeit while shooting poorly, just 31% from the field and 25% from deep). He’s also been working out in Los Angeles with Kings Player Development Coach Rico Hines, and has spent that time competing with Tyrese Haliburton, Davion Mitchell, and a bunch of other Kings players and team personnel. As the team tries to develop a culture, Metu seems to be making all the right steps with his squad.

But considering the team’s logjam of big men, there’s both a lack of guaranteed playing time for Metu or a clear avenue for his success. While Richaun Holmes is locked in as the starting center, and Marvin Bagley would get big minutes if he's around, the rest of the rotation - between Damian Jones, Alex Len, Tristan Thompson, Robert Woodard, rookie Neemias Queta, and training camp try-out Emanuel Terry - is very much up in the air. If Metu is going to stand out amongst the tall Sacramento paint, it could be because of his deep shot. He shot 35% from deep last year on 37 total attempts, which isn’t anything to bank a career on… but he’s one of the more promising big man floor spacers on the roster, aside from Bagley (34% from three on 108 attempts last year). And the Kings could always use more spacing on the floor to give De’Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, and Davion Mitchell more room to operate.

Metu showed enough across the board last season to earn both a deeper look with the team and some fan mania, and he’s a quiet fan favorite for a reason. Due to the incoming roster crunch and depth of bigs, Metu may not end up on the squad entering the season - but if his flashes from deep last year prove to be real skill from beyond the arc, he could earn a meaningful role with the team moving forward.

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1951
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September 17, 2021 9:05 am

Um, Bagley is still penciled in as the starting PF, right?

As such, Metu better stay ready!

SexyNapear
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September 17, 2021 9:23 am

I love Metu. He isn’t afraid. Lots of athleticism and growing skills. He should get all the Bagley minutes, unless that second-pick stiff suddenly blossoms

HongKongKingsFan
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September 17, 2021 9:59 am
Reply to  SexyNapear

Totally agree.

We’d probably already in the play-in if Metu got all Bagley’s minutes and didn’t get injured last season.

So, if Walton decided to play for WIN, rather than showing off Bagley, he should let Metu get all Bagley’s minutes.

andy_sims
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September 17, 2021 11:29 am

So, Bagley took all of the minutes Metu should have played, including the ones where Bagley was injured, and/or Metu was injured, and that’s why Sacramento didn’t crack the top ten?

That is staggeringly tortured logic.

WizsSox
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September 17, 2021 12:30 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

I mean if you ignore the fact that almost all their counting and advanced stats are ridiculously similar, then it makes perfect sense because…Bagley.

By this logic and if Metu is worth 3-4 wins, Monte should be given a ton of credit for getting Metu on that cheap non guaranteed contract. Who says no major moves have been made?!?! McGenius!

In all seriousness Metu and Bagley are pretty equivalent players right now in my book, except Bagley is 2 years younger and has higher end potential. Even if somewhat of a longshot to meet that.

The takes by some of this board is interesting about Metu. I don’t dislike Metu, seems like a back end rotation guy maybe, but if Bagley just got done shooting 31%FG and 25% from deep in 6-7 summer league games, the tone would be quite different.

Last edited 26 days ago by WizsSox
NorCalKingsFan
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September 17, 2021 5:03 pm
Reply to  WizsSox

Metu moves the ball and plays much better defense than Bagley, your comparison completely ignores half the game. Metu also is significantly cheaper. I’d also argue at length about potential, you have to want to be better and work for it, Metu works for it. Bagley already believes he is MVP worthy and as a result is the same player he was as a rookie.

WizsSox
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September 17, 2021 6:09 pm
Reply to  NorCalKingsFan

OK…they both have negative DBPM and Metu is a net negative ON/OFF court. Bagley is slightly net positive, which for sure is part of a result of playing with a successful starting five, net rating wise. Also true that means he has played against other starting caliber players to “get his numbers”, counting and advanced.

Metu more blocks, Bagley better rebounder, which is part of defense.

Opponents shoot +2% better against Metu at the rim, Bagley +5% better. For reference Holmes is -10% against.

The claim he is “much better on defense ” is a bit dubious. They both suck, Metu a bit less so. That said Bagley is a better offensive player by most metrics and eye test.

Hence my claim they are about equal.

Metu works for it

Sorry, but I need Sims level receipts for this…you in the gym with both each day? Or more importantly, have we heard reports that one does or doesn’t work more than another. Come on, that’s pure projection because of Bagley’s failures as a #2 pick.

Bagley already believes he is MVP worthy and as a result is the same player he was as a rookie

Is that worse than being a player that is 2 years older who has “improved” to get to that equal level? I don’t really see the difference. They are what they are at this point.

I generally would take the player that’s 2 years younger with a higher pedigree. Kings need to find a top 5-6 rotation player of the two. Bagley has a better chance at that in my opinion, even if that’s not necessarily a likely outcome.

Last edited 26 days ago by WizsSox
NorCalKingsFan
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September 17, 2021 8:30 pm
Reply to  WizsSox

When it comes to rebounding, I discount Bagley’s rebounding “prowess” because he often rebounds his own miss several times a game.

Metu knows how to actually box-out, he hits his rotations, and is more aware of what is going on around him than Bagley. Based on my observations, its not even close, Metu is much better than Bagley on defense.

In terms of potential and growth, Bagley is basically the same player he was as a rookie. He’s no stronger, and he hasn’t improved his technical skills. Go ahead and put your money on the one with “pedigree” who is trending nowhere in terms of growth. That potential he had is basically all gone, Bagley’s best hope is that he doesn’t wash out of the NBA. He’s young so maybe he’ll figure out, but I doubt it.

IMO, Metu is already surpassed Bagley in terms of skill level and since he’s actually shown growth since coming out of college, I believe he’ll continue getting better and put more distance between them. Athletically, there isn’t much difference between them. Physically, Metu both shows more strength down low and he has that junkyard dog attitude this team could use.

We tried 3 years of Bagley, I’ve seen enough to know he isn’t the answer. He’s out here next year no matter what, so why waste time on him?

WizsSox
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