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De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton named in ESPN’s top 25 under 25

The Kings back court is getting some well-deserved recognition.

ESPN has released their annual 25 under 25 list, in which they rank the top young stars in the NBA that are under the age of 25. The premise is that the list is based on potential, rather than production thus far, but ultimately is just an average ranking based on the opinion of Bobby Marks, Kevin Pelton, and Mike Schmitz.

In a ranking of young players with great potential, it's no surprise that the Sacramento Kings would be represented by De'Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton, their young back court of the future.

Fox landed 6th in the overall rankings, with Mike Schmitz saying the following:

Fox is one of only seven players in the NBA averaging at least 24 points and 7 assists per game as the leader of a Kings franchise that finally appears headed in the right direction.

As I outlined last year, the game has slowed down for Fox -- he's striking that balance between using his blazing speed and taking what the defense gives him. According to Second Spectrum data, Fox generates the fifth-most points per chance on drives. He's also posting a 70% effective field goal percentage on shots in the restricted area.

Once he can get his 3-ball above league average, Fox will be close to unguardable.

Tyrese Haliburton has been having a strong rookie season, yet I wasn't sure if it would be enough to land him in the top 25. I was pleasantly surprised to see him at the 21st spot in the rankings. Kevin Pelton said the following about Haliburton:

The No. 2 player in my projections for the 2020 draft has lived up to that billing despite sliding to 12th on draft night.

If anything, Haliburton has exceeded expectations with his knockdown outside shooting (42% from 3-point range) and ability to create out of the pick-and-roll -- areas that were supposedly concerns. Remarkably, Sacramento's 1.04 points per chance on Haliburton pick-and-rolls rank him in the 80th percentile among ball handlers with at least 250 such plays, according to Second Spectrum tracking.

You can find the full list in the link above, but it is behind the ESPN+ paywall.

Last year De'Aaron Fox was ranked 15th, and was the only Kings player to make the list.

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ukca375
April 6, 2021 8:26 am

Two reasons for hope

1951
April 6, 2021 8:51 am

Until the coach changes and Monty really starts reshaping this team I don’t get much joy out of this kind of stuff.
comment image

RORDOG
April 6, 2021 9:10 am
Reply to  1951

I guess the charitable way to look at it is Monte needs a proper sample size to justify replacing the players/staff preventing the team from winning.

1951
April 6, 2021 9:13 am
Reply to  RORDOG

That’s the hope.

The “value buyer” trade deadline gives me pause. I worry that he thinks we are just a few tweaks here and there away from being competitive.

eddie41
April 6, 2021 9:17 am
Reply to  1951

I think they’ll change the head coach. Most of the positive comments about Walton are in the CoVid context. It’s as if this season is just a summer camp.

RORDOG
April 6, 2021 9:31 am
Reply to  1951

I think the value for each of those transactions are different. Davis is a young player with upside that could be had for cheap due to his offcourt situation. Wright is a legitimately good player on a value contract through next season. He could be had for cheap because the Pistons want to tank while giving developmental guard minutes to Hayes. The Bjelica trade probably doesn’t have any long-term value though.

1951
April 6, 2021 11:27 am
Reply to  RORDOG

I think evaluating each trade in isolation – ie without any context of the larger picture – would result in a conclusion that they are all perfectly acceptable transactions.

I am looking at the totality of the moves and non-moves (still small sample size approved!) and just a bit concerned about what may be the strategy overall. Still not sure what the goal is given that some moves appear to be aimed at instant and incremental improvement (win now-ish) while others do not.

RobHessing
April 6, 2021 11:42 am
Reply to  1951

I’ve boiled this down into simple terms, mostly for my own benefit and hope of understanding –

The front office placed valuations on Barnes and Hield, and no one offered them those valuations. So they stood pat and figured that they would re-visit this off-season, when the number of buyers appears to be larger than the free agent market.

I don’t think that the front office took ping pong balls into consideration when making their decisions, and I think that I agree with that. This is not the Sixers scenario of their top prospects sitting out a year or two while they tanked. I just don’t envision the Kings being a team capable of tanking to that level with Fox in the lineup. Even had Barnes and/or Hield been dealt at the deadline, I don’t see that impacting the final record more than a game or two. I sure don’t see them as a bottom six team had the trades been made.

The acquisition of Delon Wright for a net of around $6m or so next year (when factoring in CoJo’s buyout) makes sense to me, especially if they are considering shopping Hield in the off-season. The rest of it is more deck chair shuffling.

I don’t understand holding onto Whiteside if there was even a 2nd round pick offer for him. But again, deck chairs.

It’s a little too soon for me to form an opinion on this front office, but if the team and coaching staff that we are looking at today is primarily the team and coaching staff that opens next season, I will be more than a little concerned.

1951
April 6, 2021 11:52 am
Reply to  RobHessing

Seems all pretty reasonable to me.

but if the team and coaching staff that we are looking at today is primarily the team and coaching staff that opens next season, I will be more than a little concerned.

And that’s really all I am saying. I am a tiny bit worried that this team comes back next year with only a few additional “value buys” or tweaks. Based on Monty’s recent interviews and his explanation of the trade deadline, I am just a bit concerned that the FO sees this team as only a few minor tweaks away from getting right.

Now, if the coach is fired and more significant team building moves occur this offseason, then my wee angst will be for not!

RobHessing
April 6, 2021 11:59 am
Reply to  1951

Yep. And again, they may have completely blown their valuations of Barnes and Hield – guess we’ll know more this summer. And as I have noted elsewhere, Barnes is a piece that does not necessarily need to be dealt, as he would fit a transition and upward trajectory team. So in his case, I understand the desire to get a return. In Hield’s case, it’s not as though he is without his plusses, but with the arrival of Haliburton and the addition of Wright, he becomes an expense that would be better invested elsewhere on the roster.

1951
April 6, 2021 12:07 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

With Barnes my issue is more with cost and how to best utilize cap flexibility to acquire and maximize asset value.

Holding onto (or getting stuck with) all of Barnes, Buddy and Bagley severely restricts the Kings team building options.

But as you and I both appear to agree, we shall see what the roster looks like in the Fall when it comes.

Last edited 10 days ago by 1951
RORDOG
April 6, 2021 12:36 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

It feels like Wright was brought in for an extended tryout as Buddy’s replacement.

andy_sims
April 6, 2021 9:44 am
Reply to  1951

I don’t really understand this take. McNair had no luck in finding a fair deal for Barnes and/or Hield, and so made less splashy moves in acquiring Wright, Davis, Harkless, and Silva. The cost was CoJo, Bjelica, and some second-round picks. This isn’t tinkering around the edges, per se, it’s simply making the best deals that were available. The talent level of the team is, I think, indisputably improved.

Harkless, Davis, and Silva are off the books after the season, and Wright has one year left, and provides solid backup talent at the guard position. McNair categorizing the moves as “value buying” is simply a description of what transpired, not an organizational strategy for rebuilding. I like the moves, but I also don’t think that they were done for the purpose of getting to the playoffs this year.

The criticism that Wright’s contract makes it more difficult to retain Holmes is valid, and my hope is that Holmes will be re-signed. It cannot be overlooked, however, that the Kings with Holmes still isn’t a particularly good team. The blame doesn’t fall on Holmes, but keeping him past this season would be little more than maintaining the status quo, which, as we know, isn’t great. The team still needs a legit seven-footer who can bang with bigs, and at least slow them down a little. Holmes is a battler, but he’s undersized to fill the center role.

Not really sure where things go from here, but I didn’t really know before the trade deadline, either. The Kings are in a tough spot with their cap sheet, so options are iimited. I’m in favor of McNair’s strategy to take what’s there, and not force a larger deal that ultimately is detrimental to the team’s progress. Value buying beats that every day of the week, and twice, maybe three times on Sunday

BestHyperboleEver
April 6, 2021 9:55 am
Reply to  andy_sims

The thing is, we don’t know this:

a larger deal that ultimately is detrimental to the team’s progress.

Any more than we know this:

no luck in finding a fair deal for Barnes and/or Hield

As what exactly constitutes a “fair” deal is highly subjective.

Regardless, at some point he’s going to have to make a larger deal. Larger deals, virtually by definition, entail larger risk. Otherwise, as you mention, you’re just maintaining a losing status quo. Or “tinkering around the edges” and potentially, if everything goes well, turning a 32-ish win team into a 37-ish win team.

Ultimately, whether a deal is a “value buy” or “detrimental to the team’s progress” is only really revealed in retrospect.

eddie41
April 6, 2021 10:21 am

A competent nba coach would add at least another 5 wins, maybe closer to 10.

andy_sims
April 6, 2021 10:24 am

I’m certain that I never said that large deals are, on their face, bad, despite your creative quote clipping. It’s like when a movie review states that “the film was stunning in how bad the script was, and overwhelming and confusing due to terrible editing choices,” and the copy that makes it to the ad is “stunning…overwhelming.”

My basis for thinking that there weren’t any good deals available for Barnes/Hield is that the moves that McNair did make appear to be be improvements. Given that McNair didn’t sign either of them, I don’t see why he’d be inclined to overvalue them as trade pieces.

And I agree that determining whether a trade was beneficial can only be determined in retrospect, given the linear nature of time.

BestHyperboleEver
April 6, 2021 11:22 am
Reply to  andy_sims

Except my clippings were direct quotes and the context is present and evident. You didn’t say all bigger deals are, on their face, bad. But you are assuming that any bigger deals that may have been available would have been, on their face, “detrimental to the team’s progress.”

All we can surmise is that Monte didn’t find larger deals to his liking. But unless we are going to work under the premise that Monte’s judgement is infallible, we can’t assume that the deals that were available were definitively, intrinsically bad.

andy_sims
April 6, 2021 11:43 am

Direct quote, sure. Context? Hardly.

You feel that

But you are assuming that any bigger deals that may have been available would have been, on their face, “detrimental to the team’s progress.”

adequately conveys my meaning when I wrote

I’m in favor of McNair’s strategy to take what’s there, and not force a larger deal that ultimately is detrimental to the team’s progress.

That’s weak stuff, and lazy. If you’re not going to respond to what I actually said, why are you bothering?

And please, do show me where I referred to McNair’s judgment as “infallible.” I’ve explained the reasoning behind my take on McNair’s actions at the deadline. I’m still waiting for anyone with an opposing view to do the same.

1951
April 6, 2021 10:24 am
Reply to  andy_sims

This isn’t tinkering around the edges, per se, it’s simply making the best deals that were available.

Do we know that?

a fair deal for Barnes and/or Hield

What is a “fair” deal for Buddy? Or Barnes? Do we know that no one offered anything close?

 The Kings are in a tough spot with their cap sheet, so options are iimited.

It seems you have just identified the core value in moving Buddy/Barnes. It’s not just a “fair” deal in terms what you get back that makes such a move valuable to the Kings team building process.

Last edited 10 days ago by 1951
andy_sims
April 6, 2021 10:58 am
Reply to  1951

Oh, you want specific details of real or fictional trades that were on the table before you can reach a conclusion as to whether or not McNair biffed at the trade deadline. Sorry, I don’t have inside information, or an interest in creating imagined scenarios to “prove” my theory.

I’ve built my opinion on the fact that the moves that McNair did make seem to be net positives for the team. Nothing that he did suggests to me that he would pass up an opportunity to do the same with the larger contracts.

I’m not going to ask you to provide specifics about supposed trade scenarios, even though your stance suggests that you may be privy to them. Otherwise, what basis do you have to suggest that McNair balked at moving Barnes/Hield for reasonable return?

1951
April 6, 2021 11:21 am
Reply to  andy_sims

Okay then.

I guess there is no need to continue this discussion since you can reach conclusions based on your own speculation and then pretend to be exasperated when asked simple questions about the basis of said conclusions.

Good times.

Last edited 10 days ago by 1951
andy_sims
April 6, 2021 11:56 am
Reply to  1951

Translation: I’m not going to provide the reasoning behind my opposing take, because it’s easier to clip partial quotes, place them out of context, and then poke holes in them.

I’ve provided my reasoning multiple times. Go knock down strawmen with someone else.

Last edited 10 days ago by andy_sims
1951
April 6, 2021 12:02 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Or the actual meaning: I am uninterested in getting dragged into a meta conversation about you. That bores me.

andy_sims
April 6, 2021 12:51 pm
Reply to  1951

I’ve been talking about McNair, and my interpretation of what his actions/inactions at the deadline may mean.

I don’t think you understand what “meta” means, and I’m left wondering if your inclination to change the subject rather than address it ever actually works.

I’m still very interested in your interpretation of what transpired, as it seems that you’ve reached different conclusions. I’m simply wondering why.

If you don’t want to talk about basketball, that is, of course, your prerogative.

RORDOG
April 6, 2021 11:34 am
Reply to  andy_sims

There could be an alternate-ish scenario. It’s at least plausible he doesn’t have the negotiating experience, or reputation, to pull off a big deal that makes sense. It can take some time for assistant coaches to get acclimated when they get their first head coaching job. I don’t see why it would be that different for a first time GM. If I was an opposing, experienced GM, I’d be salivating at the opportunity to negotiate with a rookie GM. So to your point, maybe McNair was getting a bunch of garbage offers. But his lack of experience could have also played a role in not being able to overcome those initial obstacles.

andy_sims
April 6, 2021 11:53 am
Reply to  RORDOG

A lot of supposition in this paragraph

It’s at least plausible he doesn’t have the negotiating experience

and

If I was an opposing, experienced GM, I’d be salivating at the opportunity to negotiate with a rookie GM

McNair isn’t a former player with zero management experience, hiring his unqualified friends and staggering from one dumb move to the next. Do you really think that a couple of dozen other GMs believe that they can fleece the new guy, even though he was the right hand of one of the savviest GMs in the league?

I’ve clearly stated the reasoning behind my supposition that McNair did a pretty good job. I’m still waiting for anyone with an opposing view to put some meat on their take.

RORDOG
April 6, 2021 12:10 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

So supposition is only allowed when you do it?

andy_sims
April 6, 2021 12:54 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

I’m propping up my position with the available information. What have you got to support your assertion that the NBA operates like a high school, and Monte McNair is a freshman in danger of being swirlied?

Something, anything, would be great.

RORDOG
April 6, 2021 1:12 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

If this is true:

McNair had no luck in finding a fair deal for Barnes and/or Hield

then that kinda implies that only unfair deals were offered correct? I think it’s possible that a more experienced GM could’ve negotiated fair(er) deals with his counterpart(s). That has nothing to do with high school or swirlies or any other sophomoric comparisons you make to try to belittle people you disagree with Andy.

andy_sims
April 6, 2021 2:05 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

There’s a difference between a deal being unfair, and it not being beneficial to the organization. They may be both, but can be either.

And I’m not the one that suggested that McNair may be considered as fresh off the turnip truck by other GMs just because he’d not sat in the big chair before this year. It suggests a naivete on McNair’s part, and to my knowledge, there’s no evidence of it, let alone that it has other teams “salivating” at the prospect of making deals with him.

In the absence of real information, all one is left with is supposition. I’ve detailed the reasoning behind my butt-pulled theory. What is the reasoning behind your inexperienced-therefore-ripe for fleecing GM theory? He’s new, that’s a fact. Do you feel that he’s therefore at a disadvantage in negotiations with more experienced executives? That’s fine.

Are there any particular behaviors, statements, actions that McNair has made that indicate to you that your theory is correct?

RORDOG
April 6, 2021 3:47 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Your right Andy. I don’t have any secret insights into Mcnair’s behaviors, statements or actions. I also was not in the room with the front office when deals were being negotiated. That is why I specifically stated his lack of experience was a possible reason he did not negotiate fair deals for Barnes, Buddy and Bagley. It wasn’t a “theory.” It was one of the various possibilities that can’t be ruled out at this time.

andy_sims
April 6, 2021 5:10 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

My read given the moves made and not made at the deadline is that McNair made the seemingly-smart non-blockbuster deals as a chance to improve the bench, some things that he proposed were not accepted (Bagley for Bey: not a smart ask?). I don’t think it’s unreasonable to suggest that McNair also proposed trades involving pricier Kings players, and did not like what was offered in return. Same result for trades proposed to McNair, that he felt weren’t in the best interests of the organization.

These are inferences made by me based on factors having to do with what transpired at the deadline. Though they remain inferences, I am resting them on something generally (albeit not universally)accepted as true: The roster is more talented than it was prior to the deadline.

The rebuttals have consisted primarily of statements to the effect of, no, McNair screwed up the deadline. That’s great, and possibly valid, but I can’t seem to get anyone to provide details that might support this take.

You have suggested that more experienced GMs must have been salivating at the notion of dealing with our new GM. Can you point me to anything that can lend any feasibility to your take? Granted, our recent experience with first-time GMs has been repeated kicks to the teeth, but is that what underlies your theory? I’ll suggest that any McNair/Divac comparison is apples to horse apples. But hey, possibilities right?

Could McNair have passed up blockbuster deals because one time, someone in Sacramento called Tracy McGrady a bitch? Possibilities!

It’s fun to do, admittedly, but in this case, I thought we were talking about things that could have happened. I’ve explained the meat behind my read of what we know actually happened. There are scores of very bright people who contribute here, and each have their own takes. If you feel that mine is a crap take, that’s fair.

Explain to me why yours isn’t.

RORDOG
April 6, 2021 5:29 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

No.

LaBradfordsCreditCard
April 6, 2021 4:55 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Agreed. I was not in favor of giving Barnes away for some other team’s platter of shit just because they asked for him.

Marty
April 6, 2021 9:16 am

Now if we could just figure out a way to get a top 5 player. There must be a way.

aplumley
April 6, 2021 9:38 am

No Bagley?

RORDOG
April 6, 2021 9:42 am
Reply to  aplumley

Not until next year after the Kings trade Marvin for the draft rights to Marcus, and Marcus wins ROY.

LaBradfordsCreditCard
April 6, 2021 4:58 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

And we’ll select Marcus Bagley instead of, like, Steve Doncic.

Last edited 10 days ago by LaBradfordsCreditCard
Jman1949
April 6, 2021 10:41 am

OT
Jeffries got picked up by the Rockets to replace BMac on their roster.

andy_sims
April 6, 2021 11:00 am
Reply to  Jman1949

The fact that he’s replacing McLemore is icing on the cake. I’m glad Jeffries was signed, and hopefully, he can get some run and audition for playing time.

sonny
April 6, 2021 11:05 am
Reply to  Jman1949

Happy for him!

According to the Houston Chronicle, there has been a spike in the Rockets’ team BBIQ.

RORDOG
April 6, 2021 11:12 am
Reply to  Jman1949

Hopefully McNair was aware of the Rockets interest in Jeffries prior to waiving him.

Kosta
April 6, 2021 12:44 pm
Reply to  Jman1949

Ben McLemore will likely win a championship with the L*kers now.

sonny
April 6, 2021 10:54 am

So what?

RobHessing
April 6, 2021 10:59 am
Reply to  sonny

So…let’s dance!!!comment image

Klam
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
April 6, 2021 11:17 am
Reply to  RobHessing

comment image

RobHessing
April 6, 2021 11:28 am
Reply to  Klam

“For the 15th time…comment image

1951
April 6, 2021 11:34 am
Reply to  sonny

comment image

Inthestarz
April 6, 2021 3:16 pm

There has been no imprint on the game the last 4 games

or half the games this season

it’s just a higher and improved level of no imprint

some games he has an argument with Trae as the coming PG

others he looks weak sauce d Angelo russell

its innate, but Joerger got him playing to his ceiling at a greater level than milquetoast Walton

hopefully the next coach is a ball buster who gets him playing high level most the year

andy_sims
April 6, 2021 5:13 pm
Reply to  Inthestarz

comment image

Last edited 10 days ago by andy_sims
LaBradfordsCreditCard
April 6, 2021 4:52 pm

Bagley must have been 26th.

Just missed it.

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