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Season Review: Chimezie Metu

What a wonderful surprise Metu was this season.

Welcome to our Season Review series. Instead of season grades, we're going to review the season as a whole for each player individually. We continue with Chimezie Metu.

When the Sacramento Kings signed Chimezie Metu last offseason, I had low expectations. Metu was coming from the Spurs, a team not known for letting hidden gems get away from them, and hadn't produced much in the limited minutes he played in San Antonio. The Per-36 numbers were compelling, but the sample size was too small to get excited about. But for a guy on a two-way contract, Metu provided big man depth and seemed like a fine use of the roster spot.

What a wonderful surprise Metu turned out to be.

It started small, with Metu playing short but solid bursts whenever he'd get an opportunity. He played with urgency that the Kings often lacked, and showed some nice touch shooting the ball. Over the course of the season Luke Walton recognized Metu's effort and production and allowed him an expanded role. Metu was really starting to look solid when he suffered a broken wrist on a dirty play by Jonas Valanciunas. But when Chimezie came back, it was like he never missed a beat.

For the season, Metu only appeared in 36 games, mostly in the second half of the season. 25 of his 36 games came post injury. He finished with season averages of 6.3 points, 3.1 rebounds, 0.8 assists, and 0.5 blocks per game.

The numbers don't leap off the page, but watching the games the season it was clear that Metu is a solid backup big man. For a guy the Kings landed on a two-way contract (and later promoted to a full a contract), he was a fantastic value for the Kings and Monte McNair.

The biggest question for Metu going forward is what position he's best suited for. His skill set naturally lends itself to center, but he doesn't have the size to hold up in the post defensively against bigger centers. Walton did try to use Metu as a power forward on a couple occasions, but Metu's shooting isn't quite consistent enough for him to be a reliable stretch 4 (although 35.1% from 3 isn't terrible).

Metu is on a non-guaranteed contract for the next two seasons, meaning the Kings have the ability to keep Chimezie for a reasonable cost unless they find a better option and need the roster spot. The deal gave Metu a well-deserved raise at the end of the year, and gave the Kings flexibility to keep Metu around.

If the Kings find a better player for the roster spot, that would be fine. But if Metu sticks around next season he'll continue to be a good value for his contract, and a solid backup big man for the Kings.

 

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andy_sims
May 24, 2021 8:59 am

Spending his first couple of years playing for an organization that knows how to find and train up talent, and for coaches that, you know, understand things, has made all of the difference. He’s got great athleticism, good court awareness, and a pretty nice-looking touch on his shots. His floor is looking like a solid rotational player.

BestHyperboleEver
May 24, 2021 10:41 am
Reply to  andy_sims

He’s a decent-to-good 5th big on a good contract with the potential to develop into a key back-up. Not a real needle mover, but a nice pick-up for cheap depth. And a guy that’s easy to cut loose if the opportunity for a meaningful upgrade comes along.

kings4ever
May 24, 2021 10:58 am

Wut?

Otis
May 24, 2021 11:00 am
Reply to  kings4ever

Much better, thanks.

kings4ever
May 24, 2021 11:02 am
Reply to  Otis

No prob Otis

kings4ever
May 24, 2021 11:01 am
Reply to  kings4ever

You contradict yourself when you say he has the potential to be a key back-up but NOT a needle mover. Get off the fence, so weak.

You cannot be wrong when you effectively assert he is not a difference maker but he could be a difference maker. It just a bizarre assertion.

You are someone who does not want to be wrong so covers all his bases just in case, I see right through this line of commentary.

WizsSox
May 24, 2021 11:27 am
Reply to  kings4ever

For someone who typically writes 15 paragraph posts, it is an interesting take to complain about someone else “covering all their bases”comment image

Last edited 22 days ago by WizsSox
BestHyperboleEver
May 24, 2021 11:27 am
Reply to  kings4ever

It’s really not that complicated. He isn’t a needle mover right now. In time, with development and the right role, he may develop enough to become a more impactful player than he is at this moment.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
May 24, 2021 12:43 pm

I’m with you BHE. I’m not going to get too excited about 24 year project player that hasn’t really shown too much beyond garbage minutes. In what very little minutes he had of meaningful basketball he showed some promise but no more than the likes of Harry Giles, or is it Alex Len? No, I’m thinking Skal or perhaps PapaG. No, It’s definitely Quincy Acy.

The point is, the Kings cycle through players like Metu and/or Damian Jones every year and every year we see them get minutes in the end of the season due to injuries or meaningless games against teams who are also playing meaningless games. Like I’ve been saying for a while now, it’s the Ike Diogu effect.

I’m happy to have Metu on a non-guaranteed deal next year on the cheap so maybe he can become a rotational player, but beyond that, I’d don’t feel he’s gonna help the Kings make the playoffs.

BeTheBall
May 24, 2021 2:02 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

I’d say he’s already shown more promise than Harry, Skal, & Papagiannis.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
May 24, 2021 2:33 pm
Reply to  BeTheBall

Do you recall the end of Skal’s rookie year when he dropped 25 on Houston and 32 on the Suns and many of us thought he was part of the future? He went from hardly playing in the early part of the season and ended up averaging nearly 30 MPG the last month of the season. It’s a wonder of garbage games can give promise to.

Carl
May 24, 2021 2:37 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Yeah, I was dead wrong on Skal. Not that I thought he would be a star, but his rookie numbers were really impressive, and I thought he could maintain and grow on those. There really wasn’t anything there at all.

Last edited 21 days ago by Carl
Kingsguru21
May 24, 2021 3:03 pm
Reply to  Carl

Skal’s body never improved. I will anyways believe that’s what held him back.

BeTheBall
May 24, 2021 5:37 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

To be fair, everything after Christmas, each season, is essentially one big collection of garbage games.

In all seriousness though, wrt Metu vs Skal, I’ve felt Metu, even in the pre-injury games showed good awareness, hussle, and decent defensive chops (relatively speaking to the rest of this god-awful defensive team). Whereas, Skal definitely looked good in those last 6 weeks of his rookie year, then became more hit and miss his second season. That resulted in him eventually being glued to the bench in his 3rd year (and subsequently shipped) because the growth essentially hit a wall for one reason or another. That wild inconsistency continued in Portland too, and now he’s out of the league. He strikes me as a guy who hung his had heavily on natural ability, rather than a guy who would put in work to build and himself out.

I don’t see that in Metu. Though, I was also excited about Tyreke after his rookie year. So lord knows I’m no savant.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
May 24, 2021 6:23 pm
Reply to  BeTheBall

I guess I’ve just been burned too many times by inflated expectations of guys who impress in the spring because they finally got minutes, only to be let down when the games really count.

BeTheBall
May 25, 2021 11:28 am
Reply to  Adamsite

Such is our doomed destiny as Kings/Kangz fans

BestHyperboleEver
May 24, 2021 10:41 am
Reply to  andy_sims

Oops, sorry. That wasn’t meant to be a reply to you, Andy.

andy_sims
May 24, 2021 10:46 am

I appreciate that, but I’ve decided to hold a grudge, anyway.

Otis
May 24, 2021 10:49 am
Reply to  andy_sims

comment image

andy_sims
May 24, 2021 11:12 am
Reply to  Otis

It’s very much a back-burner grudge, and will be entirely reactive, not proactive. I will not initiate further yapping in this thread.

Otis
May 24, 2021 11:19 am
Reply to  andy_sims

Damn. I’m fairly bored today. Guess I’ll do some work.

BestHyperboleEver
May 24, 2021 11:28 am
Reply to  Otis

I could try on a more belligerent persona for the day if it would help. But I don’t really come by it naturally.

WizsSox
May 24, 2021 11:31 am

For my entertainment : )comment image

Last edited 22 days ago by WizsSox
Otis
May 24, 2021 11:32 am

I was gonna say, it’s too damn much work trying to get you riled up.

BestHyperboleEver
May 24, 2021 11:38 am
Reply to  Otis

Depends on the subject. But yeah, opinions on a basketball message board aren’t going to do it.

Kingsguru21
May 24, 2021 12:29 pm

That seems nuanced. Nuance is boring. Churlish drama is where it’s at.

Otis
May 24, 2021 12:38 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

comment image

AmateurNerd
May 24, 2021 2:48 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Why hello, Key.

Insubordinate and Churlish.png
Bluejohn
May 24, 2021 11:26 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

But for the king of churlish drama to say that Nuance is boring just makes me take a step back. I can’t remember the the movie Nate but never in a million years did I suspect that you had a nuanced bone in your body. I never would have suspected that you had a whole gol dang season of nuanced comments. But hey, that’s just me.

andy_sims
May 24, 2021 2:31 pm

Relax, I’ve got this.

kings4ever
May 24, 2021 10:56 am

Greg – Why do you limit him to being a backup? If he was a “surprise” why could he not surprise you further and be capable of becoming a full-time starter at PF? I think he can.

There is a logical inconsistency if you claim him to be a “surprise” then set a ceiling on his potential. Why can he not surprise you further?

Labels are too rigid and constricting, both ways. A lottery pick is suppose to be a future star, and undrafted player is suppose to be a career journeyman / role player.

But when you step between lines the opponent nor teammate nor scoreboard keeper nor ref nor nose bleed fan is qualifying your resume and credentials before you can score a hoop.

This enables a player like Davis license to surpass Buddy, and a player like Metu to surpass Marvin in the eyes of the decision makers and gatekeepers to playing time and future role.

Here’s a stat for you to ponder: Metu has played 700 minutes in the NBA. Marvin, with all his injuries, has played 3000 minutes. Marvin has played more than 4X more in the NBA than Metu!

And yet Metu seems to have more veteran poise and know-how. Isn’t that interesting? So why is he being categorized as a “quality backup”? Perhaps it is by the same fans who never gave him much of a chance in the first place.

Metu is a stud, he knows he belongs, he backs down from no one, not Anthony Davis, whom he was shutting down easily towards the end of the season. Metu has serious game and only needs to add to his strength and gain more experience to fluorish as a player. I set NO ceiling on him, unlike you.

We have big moves to make this off-season, but whomever we acquire to replace Bagley is still going to have to beat out Metu for starting job at PF, and that will not be an easy task.

bgord
May 24, 2021 11:12 am
Reply to  kings4ever

Absolutely, people need to stop labelling players just based on where they came from

andy_sims
May 24, 2021 11:14 am
Reply to  bgord

Aside from mentioning that Metu came up in the Spurs’ system, where did Greg label him, negatively or positively, in regard to Metu’s origins?

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
May 24, 2021 2:35 pm
Reply to  Greg

Yup, like I said above, what makes Metu’s performance any different from late season heroics by the likes of Giles and Skal?

Klam
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
May 24, 2021 3:17 pm
Reply to  Greg

At 24 years old I was breaking out in zits (and still do even now on occassion). 🙁

Carl
May 24, 2021 11:15 am

Walton did try to use Metu as a power forward on a couple occasions, but Metu’s shooting isn’t quite consistent enough for him to be a reliable stretch 4 (although 35.1% from 3 isn’t terrible).

Marvin Bagley’s three point percentage this year was .343, which was a career high. Not comparing the two necessarily, but I would think the percentages have to apply to both.

Bagley shot about 30% more threes per 100 possessions than Metu, for what that’s worth.

Last edited 22 days ago by Carl
BestHyperboleEver
May 24, 2021 11:32 am
Reply to  Carl

We’ll see what happens this offseason, but with Bagley, Metu, and Holmes, the Kings are kinda chock full of high-energy athletic PF/small ball C types with some stretch potential.

andy_sims
May 24, 2021 12:03 pm

And that’s part of the reason why Holmes is likely gone. If something large happens and the money gets freed up to keep him, I’d still prefer that McNair do some shopping around first to see who else might be had for something like what Holmes is likely to get on the open market.

“Just browsing, thanks.”

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
May 24, 2021 3:28 pm
Reply to  Greg

Yeah, those are Antoine Walker stretch 4 type numbers.

Carl
May 24, 2021 4:09 pm
Reply to  Greg

Yeah, I would agree. Bagley still has a lot to prove. Not that I think he should automatically start and play 30 minutes in the 50 games he’ll be healthy next season.

Bluejohn
May 24, 2021 11:37 pm
Reply to  Greg

You may not consider it now but just wander back a few years when out of the blue Cuz became a more then decent 3 pt shooter. I’m not a Bags fan at all, but Marv is not that far off from being a league average 3 pt shooter. And while it may be unlikely, he could grow from there. He is still so young and due to injuries he suffered he doesn’t have a lot of wear on the rubber but his potential to improve from this season is a real possibility.

SmallBallReject
May 24, 2021 1:46 pm

Broken WRIST not leg

Carl
May 24, 2021 2:40 pm
Reply to  Greg

Avatar checks out.

BeTheBall
May 24, 2021 1:47 pm

His progression and Haliburton were the two things I actually enjoyed about this season.

May 24, 2021 1:53 pm

Ladies and gentlemen, the Value Boys!

Carl
May 24, 2021 2:41 pm

We’re the 99 cent store of NBA franchises!

RobHessing
May 24, 2021 3:55 pm
Reply to  Carl

Dullard Tree.

Bluejohn
May 24, 2021 11:39 pm
Reply to  Carl

Can’t really argue with that

TheBaker
May 24, 2021 3:25 pm

I love watching the guys that hustle, play hard and play smart. Métu fits into that category for me.
It’s sad that much of the team brings such little effort for stretches; that even the base-level energy that Metu brings vaults his status or perceived outlook.
That being said, I’d like to continue seeing more Metu off the bench and/or for longer stretches next year.

TheGrantNapear
May 24, 2021 3:36 pm
Reply to  TheBaker

Yeah the little I saw Metu play, he ways brought it. Unfortuanetly, can’t say the same about the squad as a whole, which made the season unwatchable for me and which is why I think this team needs another high end vet to get the youngins going. I think Barnes comments at the end of the season reflected this as he complained of guys not always bringing it. Retaining a player’s coach like Luke doesn’t help, but adding another good vet would. Odd man out, Buddy.

BabalooMagoo
May 24, 2021 4:17 pm
Reply to  TheBaker

Amazing how the guys on minimum or near minimum contracts are the ones that hustle the most. I see Metu as the 4th or 5th big. I give him a C+.

Mike120
May 24, 2021 5:37 pm

I like Metu on the Kings. A second unit with him, Wright, Davis, Haliburton, and Jones would pretty solid. The Kings problem isn’t lack of talent. It’s lack of intensity and coaching.

Ellis5
May 24, 2021 10:13 pm

Please no CJ McCollum…. Just no.

andy_sims
May 25, 2021 10:30 am
Reply to  Ellis5

Context, shmontext.

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