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Kent Bazemore and Alex Len will be crucial when the season resumes

The two veterans have brought imperative leadership to a squad in need of it.

The mid-season acquisitions of Kent Bazemore and Alex Len have provided Sacramento with quality role players and necessary leadership that will play a large role when league play resumes. 

The identity of a run-and-gun offense played a significant role in the success of the 2018-19 Kings. The team also lost influential veterans like Vince Carter and Zach Randolph who guided the young talents in any way they could (though Randolph was still there, he didn't play at all and was eventually traded).

When the Kings flipped George Hill for Iman Shumpert in 2018, Shumpert's value to the team was cloudy. He was entering the final season of his contract which included an opt-in clause that would see him earn $11 million. To no surprise, Shumpert opted in and solidified that decision by becoming a leader in and out of the locker room that would emphatically impact the youth of the roster. 

Nicknaming the Kings €œThe Scores€ and adding the #PurpleTalk slogan many Kings fans and players became accustomed to. Everyone loved what Shumpert brought to the team and his surprisingly high level of play for someone heavily relied on to play small forward put the cherry on top. Eventually, the Kings traded Shumpert to Houston in a move that can be debated back and forth. 

Shumpert's absence was definitely felt throughout the team as in tough situations, they needed his presence to bring the energy. The firing of Dave Joerger added onto the cultural reset button the Kings decided to hit. They lacked that go-to veteran leader and had to adjust to Luke Walton's coaching style. 

The free agent signings of Dewayne Dedmon and Trevor Ariza became failed experiments and though the situations of both players were more complex, Sacramento General Manager Vlade Divac flipped the two to other teams. 

The Ariza trade, which came first, saw Ariza, Wenyen Gabriel and Caleb Swanigan go to Portland in exchange for Kent Bazemore and Anthony Tolliver. Bazemore obviously was the centerpiece of the deal as Sacramento bought out Tolliver's contract. 

Dedmon's trade saw a new Atlanta center come to town as Jabari Parker and Alex Len made their way to California's capital and Dedmon along with two second-round picks went the other way. Now Parker's potential talent and age could be made the main centerpiece of this deal as Alex Len's acquisition served to bring frontcourt depth. However, it became Parker who Walton infrequently used and Len who fans fell in love with.

If there's anything you take away from Sacramento's fanbase, it's that they love their performing role players. 

Bazemore and Len quickly became reserves that could change the pace of the game and give Sacramento the momentum at any given notice. 

Bazemore became everything the Kings thought Ariza would be. Though not as lengthy, Bazemore still aggressively defended wings and guards effectively and turned heads on offense as a ball-handler and shooter. So far with the Kings, the 6'4€ veteran is shooting 38.6% from three on 2.7 attempts. He sits at 35% for his career. But with Bazemore, the Kings added a reliable scorer off the bench and someone that could do his role and do it exceptionally. The same can be said of Len.

Putbacks, blocks, shutting down opposing centers - it's what happened when Len dawned the purple and white. No one expected it and that's what made it better. It turns out the Kings needed Len's presence more than ever as their frontcourt depth, especially at center, constantly faced challenges and setbacks. 

Holmes' rise to local stardom suffered a setback to a shoulder injury. Dedmon completely forgot how to play basketball once he signed the dotted line. Harry Giles stepped into the starting role and as great of a story it is, he was still learning while making big plays but struggling to guard bigger bodies and limiting his fouls. 

Len came in and did his role. It's easy to come by for fans and watchers of other NBA teams but for the Kings, it's a breath of fresh air when a player simply does his job. It's games like going for eight points, 13 rebounds and five blocks against Detroit that will make Kings fans pour their hearts out to a player. It's not backing down to Montrezl Harrell when he tries to intimidate you that brings a different personality to the roster. 

In nine games, Len averaged 6.6 points and 7.1 rebounds on 62% shooting in just 16.7 minutes a game. If Len is ever tasked to play 36 minutes a game, those numbers jump to 14.2 points and 15.4 rebounds a game. 

It's a phenomenal concept really. You come in, do your job and do it effectively and now you hold an important role to the team. Bazemore is already the primary backup at the three to Harrison Barnes and Len may very well be the primary backup to Holmes once the season resumes. 

The two players have been crucial in bringing back an identity that was lost after Shumpert's departure. When the season is back, their play on the court will have to be just as important as it is off the court.

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Kosta
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June 8, 2020 2:36 pm

If Richaun is ready to go, I’m hoping for these 3 guys to
help us bigly in their roles. comment image
Maybe Bagley, too?

kgdobter
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June 8, 2020 3:33 pm
Reply to  Kosta

Depending on Bagley’s condition, Giles may be a better option.

Kosta
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June 8, 2020 3:44 pm
Reply to  kgdobter

Maybe even not depending on condition?

PretendGhost
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June 9, 2020 8:48 am
Reply to  Kosta

I dearly love Giles, and as much potential as he showed in the late season, his advanced numbers were still very bad. He and Bagley are probably a wash at this point

Kosta
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June 9, 2020 9:50 am
Reply to  PretendGhost

True, true. In that case maybe it’s better to play Bagley since contract-wise his career is part of our future, whereas Giles could leave us after this season.
 
As a fan though, my heart lies with Harry and I’d love to see him play one last time in semi-meaningful games for the play-ins, and perhaps meaningful games in the playoffs (dare to dream!)
 

Last edited 2 years ago by Kosta
Hozr
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June 10, 2020 10:12 pm
Reply to  Kosta

If the Kings are going in the play-in to win then you go with the guys who’ll get you wins and not the guy who has the bigger contract. At this moment in time Bagley, with only 13 games played this season, is not the guy who’ll help you get wins.

Hozr
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June 10, 2020 10:09 pm
Reply to  PretendGhost

I think the nod goes to Giles because he is integrated into the offensive and defensive systems while Bagley is not.

RobHessing
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June 8, 2020 3:28 pm

“Kent Bazemore and Alex Len will be crucial when the season resumes.”

That sure seems like a troll line, even though it’s not.

Kosta
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June 8, 2020 3:50 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

You know what’s worse? Seeing that you have 500 up votes as well, but in less comments than me. Makes me realize my stats are the “20 points on 20 shots” type. 🙁

My stats are allcomment image

And you’re Mr. Efficiencycomment image

Last edited 2 years ago by Kosta
RobHessing
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June 8, 2020 6:33 pm
Reply to  Kosta

I have more accounts than you.

Klam
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Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
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June 8, 2020 8:02 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

Otis/1951/Rob Hessing.
 comment image

Jman1949
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June 8, 2020 8:48 pm
Reply to  Klam

I found a different picture:
 
comment image

RobHessing
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June 9, 2020 10:22 am
Reply to  Jman1949

Mo accounts.

Jman1949
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June 9, 2020 11:02 am
Reply to  RobHessing

(Larry) Fine by me!

MaybeNextYear
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June 9, 2020 6:44 am
Reply to  Kosta

I’ve been out here upvoting like crazy, thinking that’s how you get the badge. I thought we were incentivizing giving shine to others, like an assist. I feel, well, not smart…

Kosta
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June 9, 2020 9:46 am
Reply to  MaybeNextYear

I was wondering about that too. Maybe you’re right?
 
I’ve been upvoting like crazy too, so it’s hard to tell!

HongKongKingsFan
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June 8, 2020 5:47 pm

Just stick with this lineup to finish all the remaining games (both play-in & playoff)
PG: Fox, Joesph
SG: Bogdan, Heild
SF: Barnes, Bazemore
PF: BJelly, Giles
C: Holmes, Len

They all know their roles, and they had good chemistry….

Kosta
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June 8, 2020 6:21 pm
Reply to  SanjeshSingh

And if he’s not healthy by now….ay caramba!

Klam
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Nostradumbass 18
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June 9, 2020 6:51 am
Reply to  SanjeshSingh

“He’s day-to-day.”
 
2 weeks later.
 
“He’s going to be out for three months. We’re sorry for not telling you at the beginning.”
 

Last edited 2 years ago by Klam
BestHyperboleEver
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June 8, 2020 7:15 pm
Reply to  SanjeshSingh

Realistically, he probably takes Giles’ minutes. Whether he should or not is a different question all together.

Marty
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June 8, 2020 7:35 pm

If you missed it this morning, Carmichael Dave addressed the Grant firing. He sounded sincere, sad, and shaken.
 

 

Last edited 2 years ago by Marty Marty
G-naps
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June 8, 2020 9:11 pm
Reply to  Marty

Heard it but not sure what the point of it was.
 
I guess I don’t understand why Dave was off the air since he didn’t say or do anything last week. Maybe Dave wanted to take a break to clear his head.
 
 

ajon_es
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June 8, 2020 10:11 pm

Nice post, Sanjesh. Hope these two continue the pre-shutdown momentum.
 
Unrelated, but has anyone heard from G-man in regards to the Orlando plan / Grant firing?
 
On orlando. I know the virus has turned into a sort of PC bull shit phenomenon to a lot of folks, but I personally lost two relatives, both in their early 40s. One in Tempe, one in NYC. That they were otherwise healthy beforehand, demonstrated just how random this thing can be. I hope Gary, pushing 80, will be kept relatively unexposed, as any broadcasting hero should be
 
Second, I think Grant had it coming. However, as his fellow long-time Kings commentator, I’d hate it if this adversely affected G-man’s relationship with the organization.
 
Haven’t stayed up on local radio of late. Curious if G-man has given his thoughts on any of the latest?

RikSmits
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June 8, 2020 10:47 pm
Reply to  ajon_es

I am sorry for your loss.
 
I don’t see why people who worked with Grant should have been affected much, unless they believe that what he said was okay. In that case, I don’t care much about their feelings.

RikSmits
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June 8, 2020 11:33 pm

With all due respect to our role players, this team will go as far as Fox will take them. It is a league built around and built for superstars. Without one, we will go nowhere. And that goes especially for this team, where we have only one player who can be such a superstar.
 
And that also means that Fox has to develop into a player who does not need to really on thing like defensive intensity, a bit of nastiness, banging and hustling and never say die attitude from other players. He has to be the one to lead by example, not take plays off and to hold his teammates accountable.
 
He is still young and perhaps it is too much to ask all that now, but these 8 games are an excellent opportunity for him to show that he is at least taking a step into that direction, an obligation even. Next season will be his 4th year in the NBA, and he will be viewed as a veteran.
 
Clearly it is a team sports, and also role players like Baze and Len will have to step up. But it starts and ends with De’Aaron Fox.
 
Also, if Holmes is healthy and not too rusty, I wonder if Len will see the floor much.

Hozr
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June 10, 2020 10:20 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

I would expect Len to play against centers like Zion so I think he’ll get minutes.

MaybeNextYear
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June 9, 2020 6:42 am

It’s sad that Alex Len is more crucial to this team’s (short-term) success and has earned more minutes than Marvin Bagley. Sad but true.

SactownSportsfan
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June 9, 2020 8:24 am
Reply to  MaybeNextYear

If Bagley is healthy, LW will find some way to unnecessarily force him into the lineup.

TheFifthMookie
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June 9, 2020 8:53 am

I believe the offensive set is called “Black Hole”

MaybeNextYear
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June 9, 2020 9:49 am
Reply to  TheFifthMookie

I think Grant calls the set “All Hole”

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