30Q | Articles

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 9 months 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 9 months 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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September 17, 2021 8:42 pm
Reply to  NorCalKingsFan

so why waste time on him?

Because he is a potential restricted asset, that the Kings control and could gain assets for if he develops and tries to leave. Plus, I think he’s better or will be this year.

since he’s actually shown growth since coming out of college

I love how Metu gets bonus points for being worse to begin with, not having the talent to come out after Freshmen year (Bagley consensus top 10 pick) and had to stay for 3 years. By comparison, Bagley was as old last year as Metu was his rookie year. Was Metu as good his rookie year as Bagley was last year? Age matters, especially big men.

I discount Bagley’s rebounding “prowess” because he often rebounds his own miss several times a game. Metu knows how to actually box-out

You say these things with nothing to back them up. Metu’s defensive rebounding percentage is 18%. Bagley’s is 21% and Metu spent more time playing center than Bagley did, so theoretically closer to rim. You can assert he just rebounds his own misses if you want, but data doesn’t support that.

I imagine that doesn’t matter though…Metu isn’t Bagley, which is probably the only prerequisite for some on here to advocate for somebody else over Bagley.

Personally I would rather just have a clear cut better player to be able to do that with.

Last edited 9 months ago by WizsSox
Kingsguru21
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September 18, 2021 7:54 am
Reply to  WizsSox

Personally I would rather just have a clear cut better player to be able to do that with.

Which isn’t easy to get or cheap, as Maximus pointed out to BHE downthread.

WizsSox
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September 18, 2021 8:59 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Well apparently it is easy if you think Bagley has the skill of G League bench fodder, like some do here…but if not, then yes not so cheap to find.

AnybodyButBagley
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September 18, 2021 12:09 pm
Reply to  WizsSox

Bagley should be a G League starter. The constant excuse for Bagley is that he does not have enough minutes played at this point in his career. Put him in the G League and let him play.

If he can play more than ten consecutive games maybe he actually does have potential?

furious.d
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September 18, 2021 2:37 pm
Reply to  NorCalKingsFan

Bagley’s defensive rebounding percentage is better than Metu’s. Obviously defensive rebounding doesn’t involve rebounding your own misses. Len and Thompson are also better rebounders. Metu is just flat out bad at rebounding and defense.

andy_sims
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September 17, 2021 9:24 am

You’ve really hit the nail on the head with Metu: With Holmes, Len, & Thompson likely to get a ton of minutes between them, a floor-spacing big man will be needed to keep the paint more open for drives to the hoop.

I don’t really see Queta or Woodard getting a lot of minutes down low this season, and while I think that DJones has some potential to be a pretty good modern center, it’ll likely make more sense for him to be getting playing time in Stockton with Queta.

Metu seems like a guy who knows what he needs to do, which I’m sure was reinforced during his time with the Spurs organization. I feel like the necessary groundwork has been laid for him to have a shot at being a solid rotation player, and if his three-point shooting gets to league-average or better, maybe even a starter.

BuffaloDiaspora
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September 17, 2021 2:16 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

>> I don’t really see Queta or Woodard getting a lot of minutes down low

Kind of OT here, but what position do you actually see Woodard playing if he ever develops? Last I checked the Kings had him listed as a guard and his SL minutes seemed to mostly be in a SF role. I agree that he *looks* like a PF (and a physically imposing one at that) but maybe his skillset just isn’t there for playing in the post?

BestHyperboleEver
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September 17, 2021 3:27 pm

SF/PF. Obviously not of the quality, but positionally Covington-esqe

andy_sims
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September 17, 2021 4:35 pm

I concur with BHE. I really hope he gets his confidence back, he checks a lot of boxes when he’s making shots.

BestHyperboleEver
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September 17, 2021 5:23 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Unfortunately, there hasn’t really been a point when he’s really been making shots. Even in college he wasn’t above average in any way except a pretty small sample size of 3s as a sophomore. Hopefully he comes around, but there isn’t a whole lot of evidence that there’s an NBA scorer in there.

rockbottom
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September 18, 2021 8:22 am
Reply to  andy_sims

When has he made shots ? Seems a total non NBA player to me ! Undersized and skilled power forward !

KingsHustle
September 17, 2021 9:29 am

Metu showed better than anyone on the Kings power forward defensive presence, aside from Barnes. With his length he altered many opposing guards attempts near the hoop. And was usually in the right position on the court to do so.

eddie41
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September 17, 2021 9:32 am

If he plays well, I think he can become the tenth player in minutes this year, over Bagley. One injury away from cracking the rotation.

Kosta
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September 17, 2021 9:52 am

comment image

MichaelMack
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September 17, 2021 10:27 am

I hope he gets some playing time. I think this Olympic experience is coming at the right time for him. The Kings never seem to have interesting players in the 8-9-10’th man position. Metu has an intriguing athleticism and feel for the game. I hope his shot can be consistent.

Maximus
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September 17, 2021 10:56 am

An interesting note is that Metu played more as a center than a PF last year. He usually played as a small ball center with the bench. He sometimes played with either Holmes or Jones.

Now that we have Thompson and Len, there is no reason to play Metu as a small ball center. It comes to question if Walton wants to run small ball with the bench. If he does, then there is not many minutes for Metu. With the system the Kings ran in summer league, I think Walton will keep running small ball with the bench. Louis King and Harkless are better options than Metu in that case.

Metu has a nice offensive skill set. Just not very consistent. And forcing too many shots.

BestHyperboleEver
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September 17, 2021 11:02 am
Reply to  Maximus

I’m not sure I’m reading this right. Neither Len nor Thompson are good options for playing a small ball style. Despite, Thompson having “small ball C” stature. If Walton want’s to run small ball with the second unit, to me, that makes Metu more likely to get time. Not less.

Maximus
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September 17, 2021 11:24 am

He is ok but inconsistent on offense and he get destroyed on defense, especially rebounding.

We need to pressure to ball to turnovers and then collect defensive rebounds. Our bench guards/wings are not good rebounders, not even average (maybe only Davis), the center has the make up for it.

BestHyperboleEver
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September 17, 2021 11:31 am
Reply to  Maximus

But if you’re playing an interior “big” like Len or Thompson, you’re giving up most of the advantages of “small ball” as you aren’t creating athleticism mismatches or forcing the opponent’s rim-protector(s) to extend on defense. The whole point of small ball (usually), is to create more advantage on the offensive end than you give up on the defensive end. Now, I hear you that you don’t think Metu achieves that. But IF you’re going small, he achieves it much more than Len or Thompson do.
Now that I think about it, Thompson and Len are more the types of player that allows the opponent to play small at C because they can reasonably expect their more perimeter oriented Forward to have little trouble defending Thompson/Len.
It sounds like you’re trying to push more of a fast/transition offense, rather than a “small ball” offense.

Last edited 9 months ago by BestHyperboleEver
Maximus
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September 17, 2021 12:28 pm

We can run small different ways. But the easiest ones are 4 offensive perimeter-oriented players surrounding one defensive big.

As I posted in my earlier post, Metu played most of his time at center and it was bad. Thompson and Len are here for a reason. The only way Metu plays as a small ball center before Thompson or Len is that his 3-pt shot becomes much more consistent. I would love for it to happen but I think the chances are slim.

BestHyperboleEver
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September 17, 2021 1:59 pm
Reply to  Maximus

I hear you. That just isn’t what I think is the generally accepted definition or purpose of “small ball.” What you’re talking about is really more of a poor-roster-construction mitigation strategy than a cause-problems-for-the-opponent strategy. It isn’t “let’s see them stop this!” It’s “welp, almost all of our best players are smaller than you’d like, but we’d still like to play them together, so we better at least have a decent rebounder in the middle.”

Ultimately, a 4-out alignment like you’re talking about is the norm these days.

Last edited 9 months ago by BestHyperboleEver
Maximus
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September 17, 2021 3:16 pm

Yeah I agree. Let me just rephrase it into “we don’t have enough quality perimeter players so let’s make do with what we have”. To be honest, this is a problem with most teams in the league.

We ran small with Holmes. It was bad defensively but it was excellent offensively.
We ran small with Metu. Even worse defensively and fallen off a cliff offensively.

We have plenty of lineup that can score. We need a small ball lineup that can hold defensively. To be honest, I would play Bagley at small ball center even before Metu. Both are bad defensively but Bagley would give you more on offense.

murraytant
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September 18, 2021 4:53 pm

yes, small ball is a default, not a plan. I like 4 out but it would be nice if the 4 were all 6/8.

BestHyperboleEver
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September 17, 2021 10:57 am

Sure. I don’t see why not. If he shows development on the flashes of interesting skills we’ve seen. It isn’t as if the depth chart at his position is full of talent and reliability. Now, whether he’s given the opportunity to earn a role and is given the role if he earns it is a different question. And all that may be unlikely as long as the Kings consider themselves playoff competitors.

jwalker1395
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September 17, 2021 10:58 am

Metu is gonna be great in the Marvin Bagley role once Marvin Bagley gets traded. Shot-creating big man with good athleticism and feel. Can be fun working the pick n pop with Fox, Hali, and Mitchell. And he even plays defense!

RighteousandHopeful
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September 17, 2021 11:06 am

“Logjam” of 4’s and 5’s is right. Metu was coming on last season until the caught the Valanciunas. And he was very effective with Nigeria. He has the size and skill to make the rotation. After two years experience with Spurs and a third with Kings (83 games), don’t waste him in Stockton. Bagley is excessive baggage. A second unit of Mitchell, Davis, Harkless, Metu and whoever at the 5 would be fun to watch. I am hopeful.

Marty
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September 17, 2021 11:53 am

Metu may not end up on the squad entering the season but…..he could earn a meaningful role with the team

Life as a Kings fan perfectly summarized.

Kingsguru21
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September 17, 2021 12:29 pm

Possibly. He’s at that point where he really needs to to prolong his career. Hope he does.

Sacto_J
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September 17, 2021 1:53 pm

There’s exactly 1.5 other starting power forwards on this team; Bagley (1) and Barnes (.5, cuz he’s a 3. A 3, WALTON!)
Metu isn’t a center, so I don’t think he’s got much competition for minutes, especially if Bagley’s traded or inevitably gets hurt. But if last year is any indication, Metu has already earned a role on this team as a rotational 4, and while he’s not on the short list for the all-star game he does bust his ass, can put the ball in the hole and grab some boards, and seems to have earned his teammates’ respect. Not sure what his ceiling is but I don’t mind giving him an opportunity to find out.

Last edited 9 months ago by Sacto_J
BestHyperboleEver
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September 17, 2021 2:07 pm
Reply to  Sacto_J

I’d argue that the Kings natural front court rotation players would be more categorized as:

3/4 – Barnes, Harkless
4/5 – Bagley, Metu, Holmes
5 – Len, Thompson

The only guy there that I would say is clearly defined/confined to a single position is Len.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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Nostradumbass 14
September 17, 2021 4:08 pm

I don’t see how you could play Holmes or TT at the 4 because that would mean Len is at center which would mean horrible spacing. Seriously, anytime two of Holmes, TT, Len, or Jones are on the floor, together it is not going to be good.

BestHyperboleEver
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September 17, 2021 5:25 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

I’m not talking about “relative to this roster.” I mean how their physical makeup and skillsets match up with the prototypes for the positions in the NBA.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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Nostradumbass 14
September 17, 2021 11:15 pm

Ahhh, understood.

Falconsfury
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September 17, 2021 4:12 pm

Metu also a former Oakland Soldier. Following in the footsteps of Lebron and the legendary Chuck Hayes

NorCalKingsFan
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September 17, 2021 5:09 pm

If Hield is moved to the bench and Barnes starts at the 3, then I think Metu should start at the 4, otherwise he would be my backup 4 behind Barnes.

WizsSox
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September 17, 2021 7:43 pm
Reply to  NorCalKingsFan

Metu in 6 starts last year. Small sample but…
98 off rating, 122 def rating, -6.7 on court in 27 mins
Team Record 2-4

Bagley in his starts
109 off rating, 118 def rating, -3.4 on court in 26 mins
Team Record 19-23

Majority of Bagley’s counting stats better or equal too, playing similar minutes.

I’m all for a Barnes at the 4, even starting most games. If that’s not to be, I don’t see the argument for Metu starting unless he kicks Marvin’s ass in training camp. Which is conceivable I suppose. Until then…

I would make fun of this for arguing about 2 sub par PF’s, but it’s September and this is Kangz basketball, so it’s what we got : )

Last edited 9 months ago by WizsSox
NorCalKingsFan
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September 17, 2021 8:38 pm
Reply to  WizsSox

I’m operating under the assumption that Bagley was handed the starting PF position, he never earned it. The on/off stat comparison is far too small to be of any use.

I would make fun of this for arguing about 2 sub par PF’s, but it’s September and this is Kangz basketball, so it’s what we got : )

100% Agree : )

WizsSox
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September 17, 2021 8:47 pm
Reply to  NorCalKingsFan

We will let it go, but I have a feeling if the tables were flipped, 6 games wouldn’t be too small a sample to try and take down Marvin for many on here.

Good chattin’ NorCal!

AnybodyButBagley
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September 18, 2021 7:09 am
Reply to  WizsSox

Someone kicking Bagley’s ass is exactly what needs to happen.

WizsSox
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September 18, 2021 8:54 am

I’m all for it! Just find it unlikely that Metu is the guy to make that happen.

AnybodyButBagley
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September 18, 2021 12:13 pm
Reply to  WizsSox

In terms of basketball talent Metu probably loses out.

Metu will win in the end because after a few days it is highly likely that Bagley gets a bruise and sits on the bench.

Any player that is available to play > Bagley

HongKongKingsFan
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September 17, 2021 9:37 pm

comment image
If you can do consecutive blocks (without elite 2nd jump), with one against our beloved Harry Giles, you definitely earned your playing spot over someone who’s only elite at 2nd jump.

This play just showed Metu knows what he should do on court.

WizsSox
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September 17, 2021 11:14 pm

All I see is a guy who blocked another man with no cartilage in his knees…

I mean, if we are comparing below average PF highlight reels against even less than below average PF competition as proof of something, I prefer this one!!!

I still remember thinking, well maybe this won’t be so bad after all. Maybe Luca sucks and Bagley will be awesome.

Life lesson: Go with your gut : (

Last edited 9 months ago by WizsSox
AnybodyButBagley
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September 18, 2021 7:12 am
Reply to  WizsSox

That is where Bagley peaked…..

AnybodyButBagley
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September 18, 2021 7:02 am

Metu > Bagley

WizsSox
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September 18, 2021 8:53 am

Kinda gathered that from your screen name…

AnybodyButBagley
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September 18, 2021 12:15 pm
Reply to  WizsSox

Bagley always has the “potential” to change my mind.

BeTheBall
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September 18, 2021 11:22 am

His role should be ahead of Bagley on the depth chart. Might keep Bagley healthy by limiting his minutes to around 20/game.

aplumley
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September 18, 2021 11:39 am

The only big that is guaranteed minutes is Holmes. Beyond that the guys will have to earn their court time. So yes, Metu can earn time. He seems to be blossoming wherever he gets court time, so I’m going to predict he’ll become a rotation player by seasons end.

Last edited 9 months ago by aplumley
murraytant
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September 18, 2021 4:50 pm

Holmes starts at 5, backed up by TT (unfortunately) and Len ( for huge guys and some muscle). Not sure where Jones fits in but Quetta is Stockton all the way.
At 4- Bagley will probably get the start. TT could slide over there but that is not a great lineup at all. Harkless may play some 4. Metu is first 4 off bench. Not over joyed with that unless he steps up from last year. LVSL was not pretty- he looked like he thought he should be the star- too many bad shots, poor rebounding position and an absence of passing. Maybe he was tired. Barnes will also slide over to 4 with 3 guard line up. That moves Metu down a slot.
Woodard who should be a 3 is regressing.
Metu MIGHT develop into a serviceable 4. MIGHT.
Bagley MIGHT step up to a starting caliber 4.

Lots of mights.
Unless there is a trade I suspect lots of 3 guard lineup attempts- Fox, Hali, Mitchel and Buddy -4 guys, 3 spots. That moves Metu deeper into the bench.

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