Welcome back to Chainmail! We had a ton of great questions this week, so let's dive right in!
Straight up: Starting at the trade deadline, what grade would you give the front office? You can do letter grades, stars, 1-10, 1-100, or create an entirely new metric that no one will understand, and will likely be the thing that takes you down.
Tim: Hmm...this is tough to do considering that the offseasons isn't finished and I don't think that this roster is the one that we'll be seeing opening night, but overall, I would grant him a 70,000,000 out of 100,000,000. Upgrading from Cory Joseph to Delon Wright and Terence Davis was a nice move at the deadline, but then downgrading from Wright to Tristan Thompson didn't make any sense to me. The Kings essentially gave up $7 million of cap space and a pair of second round picks for a quarter of a season of Wright and a year of Thompson, who probably won't see much on-court time this season.
Aside from getting a little lucky with Tyrese Haliburton in last year's draft, Richaun Holmes' re-signing is probably the biggest and best move of Monte's tenure. And to put the cherry on top, the Kings inked Holmes to a completely reasonable deal. However, a quick glance at the rest of the offseason leaves a lot to be desired. Sacramento didn't get a whole lot better from a talent-infusion perspective, and that's not great news for a team that won 31 games last year. They have zero quality wing depth behind Harrison Barnes (don't you dare say it's Moe Harkless), there are seven hundred thousand centers on the depth chart, and Monte chose to keep Luke Walton instead of pursuing a quality candidate. Honestly, the best grade might be incomplete until we see what happens in the coming weeks.
Will: Monte has been a mixed bag. I ended up really liking the Cory Joseph and two second round picks for Delon Wright and I really, really hate the Delon Wright for Tristan Thompson swap. I wouldn't trade Cojo and two seconds for Tristan and I assume that Monte knows something we don't about Tristan's time in Boston, but woof. That one is a head-scratcher right now. Moe Harkless played well enough to be a positive asset and I'm not going to get in any huff about his plenty moveable contract. Terrence Davis I'd prefer to have off the team for obvious off-the-court reasons, but as a pure basketball asset, the deal is fine. The man could score 82 points in a game next year for the Kings and I'm just not going to be talking about him - on this site or any other.
Richaun's re-signing was a welcome surprise and the number even more so. Credit is due there for Monte and staff. The Buddy deal that fell through was unfortunate and I'm at a place now where I really don't want to factor that into my grading. He's been swooped out of decent deals two years in a row and "almost" only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades - a non-grade is better than me grading him for not locking down those deals before the vultures could swoop in on them.
If the off-season is over, I give him a 75% C. The depth signings are nice, but small homework assignments. The draft is probably too early to grade but he gets a high B for sticking to his guns and getting the guys he wanted, not necessarily the guys we as fans called for. I have reservations about Davion Mitchell and his fit, but he's looked good in Summer League and I'm hopeful. Getting Richaun Holmes was McNair's first big test of the free agency period and he passed with flying colors. The bigger and more important test of bringing in a certified star has been left incomplete and will be counted as a zero until he drags someone in. Overall, the roster is terribly balanced, the coach is the worst in the Western Conference - but I'm waiting for another shoe to drop and tapping my toes and checking my watch till it does.
Akis: I'll go ahead and give Monte and co. a B- since last year's trade deadline. Much of that is based on the fact that they correctly assessed their ability to retain Richaun Holmes with their Early Bird rights. They also made a couple of additions to help out the depth of the team by acquiring Moe Harkless, Delon Wright and Terence Davis. Two of those guys were retained for the upcoming season, and Delon Wright was sent to Atlanta for Tristan Thompson (perhaps the most perplexing move of the offseason but I get it considering how many guards we have). Sacramento seemed to prioritize getting tougher and better defensively, and almost all of their moves since the deadline have been focused on that. Now, I have to imagine that Monte isn't done just yet. Buddy Hield was nearly dealt to the Lakers before the draft, but that fell through. I still think the Kings will be looking to move on from Buddy and also Marvin Bagley, but who's to say what the market is like now. It's possible we could be waiting until next deadline when players signed this summer can be traded. Sacramento also still has their own MLE. The Kings have improved slightly, but there are still big moves to be made and all indications are that Sacramento is going to kick the tires on everything they can.
Who was your guy at #9, was Mitchell on your radar, and how do you feel about the pick?
Tim: I didn't have a strong favorite heading into the ninth pick, as I felt there were multiple guys who could have helped the Kings. Moses Moody and Alperen Sengun were my favorites, but I also would have been happy with Ziaire Williams, Kai Jones, or even Jalen Johnson.
As far as the pick is concerned, I think Mitchell has been really solid in Summer League, and his on-ball defense is legit, but I still can't really figure out where he fits in the big, long-term picture. Even with his abilities, I don't believe he'll ever be able to check small forwards at his size and wingspan, which makes starting him next to De'Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton a little challenging. He could and may very well play a super-sub role, a la Marcus Smart with more offense and less defensive versatility, but that's a little bit of an odd spot to fill with so many talent needs on this team. Of course, we could see one of these three guards moved in a big-time trade in the coming months, and if that happens, this pick makes a lot more sense.
Will: I was a Sengoonie through and through, though I'd have been happy with a good deal of players. Mitchell was one of the few I'd assumed would be gone before the Kings picked because of all the talk around the Warriors grabbing him at seven. Jerry Reynold's being high on Davion piqued my interest in him and I watched a decent amount of tape on the kid, but in a much more casual "eh won't really have to worry about this guy". I was pretty shocked the Kings picked the kid and I've got to say I was a bit underwhelmed at the decision at first. I'm still hesitant on his long-term impact with the Kings but I will say he's done everything he's needed to do for Kings fans to be hopeful in his growth. For reference, I'm still a bit hesitant on Haliburton too, so that just might be my thing. I've been burned enough times and I've been much more hesitant to get excited right away for these guys. That being said, I'm hopeful for him to turn out and I've been rooting hard for him in Summer League. Do I still think they should have taken other guys? Sure. But he's our guy now and I can still root for the others just as hard.
Akis: I was really rooting for one of Franz Wagner, Moses Moody or Alperen Sengun (in that order of preference). Wagner ended up going 8th to the Magic, so the Kings still had two of my favorite choices on the board. Instead, they grabbed Mitchell, and my instant reaction was laughter because even though he was a widely projected lottery pick, I don't think I saw him projected to go to the Kings a single time during the lead up to the draft.
In years past, I might have been upset that the Kings didn't grab a prospect I was firmly in love with, but over the years I've learned that my preference isn't always the right one. I was over the moon when the Kings selected Thomas Robinson, Ben McLemore and Willie Cauley-Stein. I was frustrated when the Kings passed on Luka Doncic. Sometimes I'm right, sometimes I'm wrong. Mitchell was a prospect firmly in my "Sure, why not" tier, and he definitely brings a toughness and defensive intensity to the Kings that they haven't had in a long time, even though he plays the same position as the team's best player. I've enjoyed watching him in Summer League so far and think he can be a really good player. Time will tell how the Kings make it work in the backcourt with Mitchell, Fox and Haliburton.
Now that the FA dust has settled a bit, do you see see Buddy and/or Marv still on the roster by opening night?
Tim: Oof, at this rate, it's feeling more and more likely that both guys will be on the roster on opening night, which is certainly something we didn't expect a few weeks ago. A Buddy Hield trade seems more viable at this time, but getting teams to match his salary after spending a ton in free agency may be a bit challenging until the season starts and organizations start to realize their on-court weaknesses or experience injuries. For Marvin Bagley, I'm just not sure anyone wants to give up anything of value to pay him $11 million this year. And I don't think Monte will dump him for nothing.
Will: I wouldn't hold my breath at this point for either man to be traded, but if someone is going to get sent away, it'll be Buddy. Rumor has it he was getting congratulation calls and looking for places in LA and so he has to be absolutely DONE with Sacramento. There's enough motivated teams looking for shooting - someone will give a deal worthy of a swap. It won't be as high as what LA was going to give but, that's water under the bridge.
Marvin is another case. The kid STILL needs to build some value, the Kings are still holding all the cards for Marv and while he can take all the Kings-related mentions out of his Instagram, Twitter or Friendster pages - the Kings still hold all the cards for the young guy. He might be a guy whose deal gets punted back to the trade deadline.
Akis: As I mentioned above, I'm sure the Kings are going to be trying to move both of them, but at this point, I wouldn't be surprised if they are both still on the team come opening night. I would be very surprised if they aren't traded by next year's deadline, however.
With the new report that Vivek is publicly Vivek-ing now and with Fox and this middling team not allowing us a top 5 pick in the near future IMO, what is your outlook on mortgaging the future and finally trading multiple future 1st rounders for that difference maker?
Tim: I think it's always wise to take those reports with a large grain of salt, especially when they're coming from folks not directly linked to the organization, as was the case in Jason Anderson's article. Yes, Vivek has meddled and has been too involved in the day-to-day in the past; there's no doubting that. He's made his bed, and to a certain extent, he needs to lay in it. On the other hand, if I were an NBA executive who knew folks were just waiting to throw Vivek under the bus, might I let the possibility of ownership influence leak anytime a potentially controversial move was made? To put this idea in another context, have we ever heard a leak that accused Vivek of meddling in which that "meddling" turned out to be the absolute right call and ownership got the credit? I think not.
Will: Tim hit this nail on the head in regards to the Vivek stuff. As for mortgaging the future to go out and get a real piece. Sure. Let's do it. That might sound blasphemous from the tank guy, but again, it's obvious that the Kings aren't going that way regardless of the merits for a team with a young core, so the second-best chance at a championship and to go out and get a real, true to life superstar (or a guy who is damn close to it and needs a new start to really have that chance) is to trade for the them. If it's Siakam or Simmons, I lean Simmons. He's younger, one of the best defenders in the NBA, and might just need that good ol' C-Webb fresh start. I don't personally think Monte gets Simmons without Haliburton in the swap back to Philly, but imagining a spot line-up where Hali was retained is fun as hell. Davion Mitchell, De'Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, Ben Simmons and Richaun Holmes is hell on wheels on the defensive end of the court and terrifying for both home and away teams on the offensive end of the floor. Four point guards and smaller center with one good outside shooter, two decent outside shooters and two non-factors from deep? It's a science experiment only a true Dr. Frankenstein of a coach like Mike D'Antoni could figure out... but lord would it be tantalizing. Obviously, Harrison Barnes would be uber-important to that group outside of my 2K-team meddling lineup but that's a team that you could squint and see making it to a second rounder or so in the coming years.
Akis: I feel like that "Vivek is meddling" article always comes out at this time of year like clockwork. Sure, he wants to win. So do we. It's been a long damn time. As for mortgaging the future for a difference-maker, I think you have to do it if it's the right player, an established star. It'd be a nice bonus if that player were also locked up for multiple years. De'Aaron Fox is well on his way to stardom, and Tyrese Haliburton could be there one day as well, but the Kings could really use another guy to take the pressure off. Someone like Pascal Siakam or Bradley Beal. I'm less inclined to trade for Ben Simmons, because I feel he is more of a super roleplayer than an actual star himself. That's still a player who can help you win games, but he's being paid like a superstar. I do feel confident in Monte that he at least isn't going to empty his clip unless it's for someone that he feels is worth it.
Realistically, how long is Luke’s leash this year? Is it playoffs or fire? I really need to never see him on the King’s sideline ever again.
Tim: There are probably two thresholds for Luke getting let go this season. If the Kings flounder to start and lose a bunch of games in a row, or post an initial record of something like 5-12, he's probably gone by the All-Star break. The ax also might drop at the end of the season if the Kings fail to at least make the play-in. Either way, Monte McNair will probably be looking for a new head coach next summer.
Will: I'm not sure Luke survives the next nine-game losing streak... he said two nine-game losing streaks ago. Honestly? I think he makes it all through next season regardless. I know we've said, "maybe the coach is our Mark Jackson" for like four straight coaches now, but I do think they're setting him up to take the blame if this thing doesn't end up in a playoff position at next season's end. Monte will have allowed the Kings ownership two years to pay the man without also having to pay a new head coach. they'll have had two years to scout assistants and get a feel for what exactly it is they want as a leader for this core. Outside of players now throwing Luke under the bus, what has he shown that we can point to as a reason to retain him. Someone in the comments will be itching to point out that he's the second-winningest head coach in Sacramento Kings history and to that person I say simply that I pity you and that if you ever see me at a Kings game... step forward so I might give you the good, long and loving hug you've been deprived of for so long.
Akis: Yes, it's playoffs or bust for Luke in my opinion. Monte made it clear that this is the goal for this team, and now that Luke is entering his third season, another 31 wins isn't going to cut it. I personally think the Kings are wasting their time with Luke and don't think he's the guy who is going to lead us out of the muck, but Monte has made it clear that even though he didn't hire Luke, this is his guy. This is perhaps the biggest gamble of his tenure yet, and it'll be up to Luke to live up to those expectations.
Are there any FA players left on the market worth Sacramento using the MLE on?
Tim: As I'm sure everyone else will answer, Josh Hart is probably the best, most realistic guy left on the board. He's a quality guard/wing who plays hard and rebounds the hell out of the ball. As I've mentioned a few times through different avenues, Hart posted a higher defensive rebounding rate than Richaun Holmes, Alex Len, Marvin Bagley, or Tristan Thompson last season. For a team looking to play a lot of small-ball and three-guard lineups, a glass-cleaning perimeter player such as Hart could fill a lot of gaps.
Another consideration is splitting the MLE up into smaller parts. The Kings would need to eventually cut some fringe guys to make this idea happen, but minor-level contributors like Wes Matthews, Langston Galloway, Svi Mykhailiuk, Avery Bradley and others are out there.
Will: Tim and Akis have some decent names in there. James Ennis III might garner some interest as a 6'6 small forward that isn't very expensive. Maybe they see something to kick the tires on Denzel Valentine? My dark horse guy is Cassius Stanley, who I really liked in the draft last year as a sleeper second rounder and who just had his QO pulled by the Pacers. He's 6'5 but strong as an ox with outstanding athleticism. He's probably more of a G-League guy or a 13th guy on the Kings right now but I still have hope for him long-term. I'd stake a case for Jarred Vanderbilt as well, but he's more of a PF/C, and if it is one thing the Kings DON'T need...
Akis: Josh Hart is my favorite player remaining on the market. He's a bit undersized for a wing but he also plays bigger than he is. He rebounds like a PF, plays defense and can hit an outside shot occasionally. The Kings are coming dangerously close to the luxury tax as is though, and I'm not sure this is a team that wants to pay the tax yet.
One player that could potentially be had for cheaper than the MLE that I've always been intrigued by is Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot. He's who I wanted Sacramento to draft back in 2016 (we took Papagiannis instead) and while he hasn't really panned out either, he's a young wing who I think could carve out a decent niche if given the opportunity.
Thanks for answering my question, gents!
Fine work you do as well. Carry on.
I totally get that, Will. I’m fretting about it too, thinking of players who had a good roiokie year and then sort of stagnated. Development is not lineary, as we Kings fans should know.
Having said that, I really think (hope?) his BBIQ should keep this from happening to Tyrese.
What really needs to happen is an increase in his BBQIQ. Kid needs some lbs!
Apparently he’s put on some weight and muscle this offseason.
But is he in The Best Shape of His Life?
I wouldn’t wish IBS on anyone, it sounds terrible. Like sneezing out of your butthole.
à tes souhaits!
I think two things can both be true:
1 – Growth isn’t always linear and it’s possible that Haliburton stagnates
2 – Even a stagnated Haliburton is still a very useful NBA player.
Evans was so ball dominant (and couldn’t shoot) that he really had to be a top 2 player on your roster or he was going to struggle to be a great fit.
Haliburton could end up being very close to his peak already and while it would be disappointing, a more veteran and refined version of Haliburton is still a 10 year starter or 6th man.
Probably one of the players I am least worried about.
…he’s the second-winningest head coach in Sacramento Kings history
Well, I guess we can rule this idea out.
Welp, I don’t think any other player out there is worth the MLE at this point.
Kind of amazing that a team that won the equivalent of 35 games and has missed the playoffs for 15 years really had only one new addition via free agency in Alex Len, and even he is a retread. There sure doesn’t seem to be much impetus to change things.
I punched it into the ENIAC, and it turns out that ~$12.7 million is more than $9,536,000.
There’s your lack of impetus.
Are those the numbers the Kings are getting from tax paying teams for remaining uncompetitive?
If you don’t understand, it’s okay to say so.
I don’t understand. I just remembered reading each non-taxpaying team was slated to get $12-13m this year from the tax payers. I just guessed that maybe those were the numbers you were referring to.
I believe Andy is obtusely saying that they couldn’t sign Hart with the MLE because he got more than that.
Apparently that somehow negates your desire to actually see moves that would improve the team.
Sims’ point, as it were, as best as I can understand it, is that you and Adam both slam this FO for not making moves as you perceive them to be available to this FO for being able to make as opposed to making moves you can actually make.
It’s the single biggest disconnect I continue to have, too. I don’t get exactly where this FO has failed because they don’t do what you want Carl.
And, for fuck’s sake, what does signing Josh Hart actually solve assuming you could actually pay him? Is the point to win the narrative in summertime or win games on the court? With this place, I often wonder.
I was not slamming the Kings for not signing Hart to the MLE, I just thought he was the last best option that might work for the MLE, as did two of the contributors who answered the mail bag.
I’m more upset that the FO has done little to nothing to improve a historically bad team on a record breaking playoff drought. Sitting on their MLE while the free agent market dries up is where I feel the FO has lack of impetus.
But if we want to talk about Hart, keep in mind there were rumors just last week that the Kings were talking with the Pels about a possible S&T for Hart. Tim even wrote a piece on how to make numbers work for Hart to get that $12m per year. Is this another one that got away?
A drought that the current ownership isn’t entirely responsible for, and certainly the current basketball people aren’t responsible for.
Well, if I am being asked, no, it’s Josh Hart. He isn’t a star, role players go elsewhere all the time. It’s not that big of a deal.
I don’t think this is a major issue. Unless there’s an actual player willing to sign for that number, I don’t see it being that big of an issue.
The big move hasn’t come yet, I think we can all agree on that. That’s what’s going to matter. When this ‘big move’ is going to come, if at all, is anyone’s guess. I think there’s a high likelihood it happens in September, personally. I’m betting it’s Ben Simmons.
We’ll see. As always.
Hey, I’d love it to be Ben Simmons.. or Siakam…or whoever gets my Kings blood flowing again. Until then, 15 years has left me with a serious case of the passimisims.
Agreed Guru. Josh Hart is not moving the needle much, and I feel like the whole league is holding thier breath until Dame and Beal announce they don’t want to leave their respective teams. Activity does not equate to accomplishment.
This is a dumb strawman.
Are Davion Mitchell, Alex Len and Tristan Thompson enough to win games on the court? Because that’s what’s been actually added over the end of last season.
I couldn’t care less about Josh Hart or any other specific moves. My issue is that this is a 35 win team that’s stood pat on everything but bench players and draft picks for a year. I hope and anticipate that they aren’t done, but I fear that they are.
Please do make the case that they’ve done enough to win games on the court. I’d love to hear it.
I am a dumb strawman. It’s all I know or understand.
As the resident dumb strawman, I don’t understand how you don’t care about Josh Hart but somehow expect the FO to sign him in an effort show they aren’t building a 35 win team despite the fact that Josh Hart won’t make them a 50 win team? And that’s the goal here, right? Or that’s a trendline worth reaching for?
Dumb strawman confused. Dumb strawman need clarification.
Summer’s not over. Dumb Strawman believes that until summer is over it’s best to withhold about judgment until more clarification comes. Dumb Strawman is a simple creature who eats bugs and whacks self in head with stick. Dumb Strawman’s hero is not Tongus. Dumb Strawman does not confuse activity with achievement.
Dumb strawman is going to smack the giant living on the hillside with a tampax on anthrax until he can’t stand. Excuse me.
I didn’t know what ENIAC was…but after looking it up I find the comment even more amusing that I did before : )
I have deep, terrifying concerns that I might be turning into Dennis Miller.
I miss Dennis Miller.
I get this general feeling and it may turn out to be 100% correct. I also wonder if we are not giving enough credit to how good certain lineups on this team were last year and the drastic change in the bench that has occurred since the deadline.
It’s one month, but in the month of March last season the Kings had the second best group of starters in the entire league, behind Denver (Efficiency Diff) – http://www.hoopsstats.com/basketball/fantasy/nba/teamstats/21/6/diffeff/28-1
The bench was dead last during that same time frame. Most frequent bench players were the likes of Joseph, Whiteside, James, Bjelicia etc. Unsurprisingly, the month of March coincided with another Bagley injury and when Hali became part of the starting lineup for the last 9 of the 14 games. That starting (and closing all year) group of 5 was flat out good…even the Bagley starting lineup was positive for the year. Both +7 net rating for the year, which is where you find some of the better playoff team lineups sitting at. The bench was absolutely miserable.
Trade deadline wasn’t until 3/25. April coincided with Fox and Holmes missing time effecting lineups, bench rotations, Dunce Walton starting Harkless over Hali for a stretch etc. So not sure we ever really got to see an extended run of the Hali 3 guard starting lineup with a more competent bench. It is a short 14 game sample but there are promising numbers in there.
I think having the Mitchell, Davis, Harkless, Bagley, Len bench is remarkably better than the Joseph, Guy, James, GRIII, Bjelicia, Whiteside poo poo platter of much of the early season. Can they be league average or approaching? I don’t see why not.
Kings have 2 different starting lineups that played 400+ minutes and each had a net rating better than the Suns starting lineup of Paul, Booker, Bridges, Crowder and Ayton. Meaning the 4 of Fox, Hield, Barnes and Holmes with either Hali or Bagley are flat good. 400+ minutes is nothing to sneeze at in 5 man line ups.
I’m not predicting 50 wins or anything, but if analytics is Monte’s forte there are definitely numbers you can find to be optimistic about the team. Prolly ones you can find not to be as well.
I think bigger change or wanting it is fair when missing playoffs for 15 years, but I personally am very curious to see how these 9-10 players shake out and if they can replicate the starting line up successes they had last year, combined with a more competent bench.
I admire your optimism, but I don’t share it.
I think the front office may also be enamored of the starter lineup data. If you narrow the data just in the right way, it can pretty much tell you anything. Suffice to say, I don’t think there’s going to be meaningful improvement of this team without meaningful change.
I get the stance…to me, the bench was the biggest glaring weakness for this team much of the year. Making that better could provide meaningful change.
So is your position, the bench is not really improved? Or it is improved, but changing the bench does not equal meaningful change. Curious.
I think the starter data is misleading, and they’re not nearly as good as the certain narrowly focused data would indicate. I also don’t think the bench is dramatically better. I think we’ve moved one set of veteran retreads for another. Maybe it’s not the worst bench in the league, but it’s still bottom half, and probably bottom third, depending on whether or not Tyrese is a starter and how effective Mitchell is.
The team won the equivalent of 35 games in an 82 game season last season and the league didn’t stand still. I see a similar number with this roster, if it doesn’t change.
I agree with your last sentence, something big will need to happen before I can feel like the team can be competitive on a nightly basis.
Where we differ is that, under the circumstances, I don’t think that there was much leeway to make something like that happen this summer.
There certainly wasn’t an opportunity to make a huge free agency offer to anyone. In regard to trades, we’ve definitely had our share of discussions about players, Ben Simmons in particular. I imagine that he could have been had for Fox, Hield, and three first-rounders, and that would have been a meaningful change.
I simply don’t think that it would have been a positive change. Players have flaws in their games, but I don’t know that I trade a career 40% shooter from three on huge volume, the fastest player in the league who took a huge leap last season, and half of your draft assets over the next six years to acquire a guy who, not only can’t shoot, but who appears to not want to shoot.
I can absolutely be talked into a big move, but none of the actually possible scenarios this summer cut it, as far as I’m concerned. Even the proposed deal with the Lakers for Harrell & Kuzma (and very much not the 22nd pick) wouldn’t likely have resulted in the kind of necessary shift the team needs. I’d have still done the trade, as I suspect McNair would have, but when Russ got tossed into the mix, it was just too massive a shiny object for the Kings to match.
(With the roster in LA, I honestly think they’d have been better off with Hield as a compliment to LBJ & AD, rather than Westbrook, who will eat a lot of possessions, and doesn’t do much in regard to spreading the floor. But he remains as an absolutely electric player, who is worth the price of admission, and the Lakers can’t get enough of that type of player.)
Sacramento certainly still needs to add that guy, whoever he is. I do think that the roster is currently better than it was at the start of last season, but not a top six or eight team, barring several things unexpectedly breaking the Kings’ way.
Still a couple of months to go, let’s hope the right opportunity can be created to do something that we can agree is meaningful.
I’ve never understood the excuse making for this front office’s utter lack of meaningful improvement. Changes in rotation players since McNair joined the team a year ago:
Hassan Whiteside Glen Robinson III Corey Joseph Delon Wright
I’ll also add that the team re-signed Richaun Holmes, since folks gave McNair a lot of credit for that.
Keeping the coach and trimming around the edges of the bench a year in with no improvement, is not going to get the job done.
Pretty much my conclusion as well. When roughly 90% of the teams rotational minutes will be played by the exact same players as last year, why should we expect much of a change.
And for folks who say McNair’s only been on the job for a year, Brad Stevens over in Boston has already done more and made improvements in two months to make a good team even better.
Because the number is more like 75% of the minutes played and the 25% you are losing were all net negative players (Wright neutral)…the ones you are replacing them with are net better players even if still slightly negative overall. Plus they didn’t lose anything that made them “good” in terms of starting and closing lineups.
If you are looking for a jump to 45-50 wins, yeah probably not happening. But if you are looking to progress 5-6 games and be around .500, I don’t think that’s out of reach.
I agree, but I also believe it’s equally likely the team wins 32 games, with a likely target of somewhere in the middle of the two – with 36-37 games being most likely with this roster.
That’s not good enough, in my opinion.
Fair. They had pretty good injury luck last year. I think if they get it again they can push .500..without it, probably about your ballpark.
So…same as it ever was?
So do you think the minor moves they made will equate to 5-6 more wins. Then if so, what is the point, because .500 basketball is not getting the Kings to the playoffs, and possibly not getting the team to the play-in tournament.
Unless McNair is Moneyballing the hell out of TT, Len, and Mitchell, I guess I’m just not seeing it.
3 of the last 6 years .500 did get a team into the playoffs. Including just 2 years ago.
And the point is improvement and try to get the ball rolling up this hill they have been fighting for 15 years towards .500.
10-14 game improvements can happen, but are not overly common, especially for a non destination franchise. The only ones last year were Atlanta, Knicks and Phoenix (not counting Warriors). Even removing the top 6 or so teams from each conference (Almost impossible to improve 10-14 games for them), that leaves 18 teams and only 15-20% were able to make that type of jump
So yes that much jump would be nice, if there was an obvious move that might do it. Maybe there is, but it’s not obvious to me of guys that are available (maybe not available) and at what price. Short of that deal, if I saw 5-6 game improvement, I would be pleased at the progress and hope they can build another 5-6 the year after.
Memphis won just 4 more games this year, play in’d their way into the playoffs and they are seen as a team on the rise. I don’t see why that couldn’t really be the case here.
If making a big jump is not overly common, then how come you listed 3 teams that did it just last year? Two of those teams made their conference finals and one made the finals. It seems to me that teams making drastic improvements through massive changes are more common than .500 teams making the playoffs, especially in the West.
It would be an interesting exercise to see which is the case over the past 10 years.
For discussion sake, just when it comes to Kings history, the golden era Kings went from 27-55 cellar dweller to Ademan and Webber coming in and becoming a 27-23 playoff team (shorten season), which equates to a 44 win season. That is a 17 win improvement.
IMO, great teams aren’t built through 5-6 win improvements each year. It takes a major shift in talent and coaching to take things to the next level.
Sure 3 did…out of 18 or so…15-20% like I stated. Guess depends on your definition of what “common” is and the circumstances. 15-20% chance of dying from illness…situation probably feels like it’s pretty common. Greatly improving basketball team 15-20% of the time, feels “uncommon” to me. Mileage may vary.
I think both things can be true to some degree. more than one way to skin a cat. Trying to think of similar market and situations to Kings…
2016-2019 (Start Giannis 3rd year, Middleton there whole time)
2019 – jump to 60 (Biggest change was coach and flipping Henson mins for Lopez. Not some great roster overhaul or obvious star pick up)
Denver (Malone coach the entire time)
2016 – 33 wins
2017 – 40
2018 – 46
2019 – 54
Seems to me like good teams can get better by making incremental improvements. Now as Milwaukee did, I do think a new coach would do wonders for this team. Maybe they improve 5-6 game this year and make a coaching change next year. I dunno, but drastic roster changes are not always necessary to see improvement if you have the right core and draft smartly. Whether the Kings have the right core is a different question.
I’m fine trying to get this team to the 40-44 win range and then probably having a more sure idea as to exactly what it is you need to make the next jump to consistent 50 win team. Maybe it’s coach, maybe talent infusion.
But the two teams you just list in the Bucks and Nuggets have the last 3 MVPs on their roster. IMO, that is a pretty big astrix to 5-6 win improvements. The Kings don’t even have an all-star.
I guess I’m just tired Wiz. It’s been a long ass time. My daughter is now in high school and has never lived to see a Kings playoff team. If I’m impatient at this point, so be it. I just want to see something that moves the needle more than a glitch. Len, TT, and Mitchell don’t even register for me.
I get it…me too. Both paths are realistic I think. For me I just think currently, this is the most realistic path to actual relevance that lasts more than a couple years.
True they have MVP’s…hadn’t considered it that way. But they weren’t when they started that trajectory. Kings don’t have that and probably never will. Definitely gonna need Hali and Mitchell to pop to A.S. level caliber players I think for that kind of progression. Which is possible, if not likely.
Good chat ; )
Agreed, amigo. Good chat. I really enjoy your perspective and positive point of view. I need that. Thank you.
I see your point here, but I think there’s the issue of how you’ve improved and where you go from there. A team full of young players who haven’t hit their ceiling (Memphis) improves year over year and that means something because there’s additional ceiling to be had among multiple players. Or a team (Phoenix) makes a major player acquisition, you can see where their additional improvement comes from.
If the Kings improve to .500 on a mild upgrade to their veteran bench players, where does any further improvement come from?
I guess I just don’t see that much of a difference. Top 7 players in terms of average mpg (Nobody over age 28, so no big outlier for either team)
Average age for Grizz is 24.5 on those 7 players. Kings is 25.
Grizz two best core pieces moving forward both 21 last year (Morant and Jackson)
Kings 2 best core pieces were 23 and 20. (Fox and Hali).
I think obviously the big improvement comes from those two, as I am sure Memphis hopes for same. That said these guys aren’t so old that I’m comfortable in saying, they are what they are, no chance to improve.
Example, Barnes took a surprising leap in changing his style and approach last year. Could Buddy come back and be more effective? Maybe Holmes diversifies and shoots 3’s. Maybe Davis pops some more, I think he has talent. Does Bagley play a whole season and play medicore defense? Does Mitchell offer some of the same qualities in actual NBA games we see in summer league?
I don’t think any of these questions are “no way in hell” that could happen type wonderings…
Admittedly that’s a lot of MAYBES and IFS, but if the bench does get them a few mores games (3-4) and just couple of those things listed above happen I think you are on your way to meaningful improvement.
That sounds nice, but you also have to account for improvement of other teams, don’t you? I’m not sure we have done enough (yet) to improve our standing relative to other Western Conference teams.
I just want to know when are we trading for Ben Simmons.
Jesus, Tim, you went with one hundred million? Appalling.
But good answers from all three of you, gives me things to consider, thank you!
Training camp is five weeks away and Buddy is still here. At the last trade deadline he was already being benched for Haliburton. They made the $11 million qualifying offer to Marvin Baggage, which made sense if they wanted to trade him, and he’s still here. They drafted a point guard with Moody still on the board and Fox signed for $30 a year and Haliburton the latest thing. They brought in Thompson and Alex Len for some reason. I was half expecting a Dewayne Dedmon sighting! And they re-signed Holmes. That’s 1-for-5, or the Mendoza Line if you’re a baseball fan. That’s my grade.
Who would really want Moody ?
Just a average role player………(Based on SL performance)
I would say if the FO traded up for Kuminga (who really got STAR potential), then that’s a A+ for FO….
Kuminga doesn’t look that good either. He is the biggest boom or bust prospect. His FG% is concerning.
Monte gets a D. He thought he was losing Richaun when he traded for super stiff Tristan, then got lucky when no big offers came in.
He drafted an undersized bulldog point guard who has zero fit with the current roster.
And his free agent signings amounted to signing the same guys who have been here.
He has proven nothing. Not one clever trade (but one big dumb in Tristan deal)
I’m wondering how he got any type of reputation as a great exec.
Not every move has McGenius written all over it, but if someone can’t give Monte credit for playing the Holmes market decently, I am not that person will ever give him credit for anything. Even most non McNair fans on here will give him that.
I have not been big fan of McNair so far but I’ll give him credit for not overpaying to bring Holmes back…but it can’t be overlooked that he got awfully lucky that Charlotte took themselves out of the Holmes sweepstakes when they traded for Plumlee. So while I give him credit for being patient and bringing back my 2nd favorite player on a very team-friendly deal, he was still being passive and IMO, this team needs an active and aggressive hand at the wheel.
Also, as McNair is an experienced front office type, I have much higher standards and expectations for competence in regards to the moves taken than I did for Vlade.
I don’t understand how this sentence can be a criticism of him. They literally signed him on opening night of free agency for the most they could offer him.
How in the world could he have been more aggressive than that, unless he unnecessarily created cap space for the specific move to get Holmes back for more money than he ended up having to pay him. I’m lost on this viewpoint for this particular transaction.
Anyone legitimately trying to play defense fits this roster.
“Maybe the coach is our Mark Jackson”
I totally agree with Will here. I see Monte claiming responsibility for the team and their decisions, but I see him leaving excuses for himself if things don’t work out. He seems shrewd, and I can’t help wonder if he doesn’t have an exit strategy he’s already working. Luke deserves to be the fall guy already. Everyone can see that.
As far as his resume post-Kings, Monte doesn’t need to impress another owner with his team building skills in Sac. He just has to prove that he can draft well, and avoid any major SNAFUs, and everyone will automatically blame the Kings franchise, and Vivek for the lack of success. He’ll show other owners he can tolerate an even worse meddling megalomaniacal owner than themselves without throwing him under the bus publicly, and blame the lack of true control. It’s obvious they don’t have much of a budget in Sac and Monte couldn’t even hire his own coach until his third season.
This is why best player available regardless of fit. No worry what Fox thinks about the fact you drafted his replacement two years in a row now. No worry about how this team is constructed at all. Monte can easily deflect blame for those things which could have been caused by too many cooks in the kitchen. He’ll point back to his draft record as the only thing he had complete independent control over and remind prospective employers that he provided cover for his boss’s ineptitude, and took responsibility publicly for the coach Vivek couldn’t afford to replace. No worry if Luke can’t win a big game. It just more reason why Monte isn’t responsible for the results, and it just makes it easier for Monte to separate his performance from that of the franchise at large. Maybe he really is McGenius.