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Three Kings appear in the Athletic’s Top 125 players

De'Aaron Fox lands highest on The Athletic's list among current Sacramento Kings

The Athletic's Seth Parnow is undertaking a rankings project, of sorts. He is breaking the league's top 125 players into tiers (as opposed to ranking one player above the other), based on statistical output and expected value strictly for the upcoming season.

Yesterday they released part one, Tier 5A. That tier included Bogdan Bogdanovic and Buddy Hield. Today they've released part two, which covers Tier 4B and 4A. Obviously The Athletic is a paywall site, but you can sign up for a free trial if you're so inclined.

To clarify the tiers a little, Tiers 4 and 5 include players 38-125, so the higher tiers will have far fewer players. Other players in Fox's tier include the likes of Shai Gilgeous -Alexander, Brandon Ingram, and CJ McCollum.

It's a solid showing for Fox in particular, and we can safely assume he'll be the highest rated Sacramento King.

It is not, however, a great showing for the Kings organization. If 125 players were distributed evenly across 30 NBA teams, it works out to about 4 players per team should be in the top 125. Despite years of lottery picks, the Kings have a below-average number of top players on the roster. This isn't surprising, of course, but it highlights the challenges ahead for Monte McNair.

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RikSmits
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October 20, 2020 12:05 pm

Thanks, Vlade!

TheGrantNapear
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October 20, 2020 1:09 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

Thanks, Vivek.
Blaming Vlade is like blaming a dog for barking or a cat for meowing. The state of the franchise is the fruit of Vivek’s stupidity and ego.

RikSmits
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October 20, 2020 1:25 pm
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

He wore the GM hat, pocketed the GM salary (still is!). No way he should be absolved from this mess.

ManilaBayCleanerCrew
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October 20, 2020 6:18 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

He signed Luke Walton, that’s a good enough reason to blame Vlade for all that’s been happening.

LandParkJimmer
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October 21, 2020 8:54 am

Amen

Sacto_J
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October 21, 2020 9:17 am
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

Actually, blaming Vlade is more like blaming a car for breaking down on your way to Tahoe when you knew it was low on oil and spews smoke, you hadn’t paid attention to the check engine light for 2+ years, after steering it into every pothole in your path because you’re blind…

Last edited 2 years ago by Sacto_J
Wonderchild
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October 21, 2020 10:09 am
Reply to  Sacto_J

and knowing all that you still renewed the lease!

Kingsguru21
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October 20, 2020 12:21 pm

Eh, it is what it is. Harrison Barnes just missed the cut for the 5th tier. I think the bigger issue is the Kings don’t have a 2nd player in Fox’s tier or better.

This is also another example of how The Athletic continues to make its content more useful than not.

The best part is these aren’t rankings of players but groupings of players in a tier. 1-10 rankings are just too arbitrary.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Seth Partnow is doing this.

Last edited 2 years ago by Kingsguru21
SPTSJUNKIE
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October 20, 2020 12:37 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Barnes is who he is. A great citizen and solid player who belongs outside of the top 125. A better SF / PF than we had with JJ, but one who are are vastly overpaying compared to other non-star wings of his skill level.

The disappointing one is Bagley. All Doncic discussion aside, he is the player we need to be in the top 125 either to help us win and / or to have more trade value. Can’t blame the Athletic for leaving him out based on his injuries so far and how he’s played. But he certainly has the upside to play himself onto this list quickly.

RikSmits
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October 20, 2020 1:26 pm
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

Yeah, he definitely has the goods to be a tier 5 guy. Perhaps a 4b!

Kfan
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October 20, 2020 4:38 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

Made me laugh

Sacto_J
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October 21, 2020 8:52 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Yeah, but next offseason his second jump will have him all the way up to tier 4…

RORDOG
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October 20, 2020 1:34 pm
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

It’s not a perfect comparison, but it’s notable that Barnes was the 47th highest paid player last season ($24 million). Partnow goes into detail about how they 3-year production value. Basically a player in tier 5 would have a production value of at least $16.7 million per year. Barnes’ AAV for the remaining 3 years of his contract is ~$20.3 million.

SPTSJUNKIE
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October 20, 2020 2:00 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

Good insight. While salary may not have been part of his consideration, it is telling that we are paying him ~$4M more than players a tier above him.

Really, if you look at the list of players in his salary range, there’s 3 types of players:

1 – Semi-stars: Clearly worth the money when they signed the contract and they provide good value for their teams aside from fluke injuries (e.g., Oladipo, Gobert, Draymond)

2 – 2nd contract gambles: Young guys who hadn’t quite earned a contract that high, but it was their 2nd contract, so their team’s gambled on them achieving their upside (e.g., Zach LaVine, Aaron Gordon, Jaylen Brown)

3 – Overpaid role players: Not all bad or useless players, but players who were clearly not semi-stars when they signed and typically have contracts teams regret and have to pay to get rid of (e.g., Evan Turner, Batum, Barnes)

The third group is smaller than it used to be as I think teams are getting a bit smarter about handing out those types of deals to role players. But Vlade wasn’t one of those GMs – I’ll leave it at that.

RikSmits
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October 20, 2020 12:37 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Yup. Are you perennial play-off team with Ingram or SGA as your best player? Not likely.

Want2win
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October 20, 2020 12:40 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

I can’t believe our number 2 pick Luka is not listed as one of the Kings in the top 125.. wait nvm I forgot we have Marvin €œgreat potential€ Bagley..

Kingsguru21
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October 20, 2020 2:33 pm
Reply to  Greg

I can’t even begin to express how much I love the idea of tier rankings instead of wasting brain power on number rankings.

Kingsguru21
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October 21, 2020 9:29 am
Reply to  Greg

I haven’t read all of it in depth, yet. I need to.

That and the agent piece, for that matter.

But I agree ranking individuals seems outdated.

Wonderchild
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October 20, 2020 12:47 pm

I’d be interested in the final numbers of players per team, and who has the most/least.

TheGrantNapear
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October 20, 2020 1:11 pm

Ranking 125 players seems like a useless, pointless exercise.
In other news, I started a podcast called If you don’t like that, feel free to check it out.

Marty
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October 20, 2020 9:46 pm

BREAKING! Bad team has bad players!

rockbottom
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October 21, 2020 8:37 am

It seems that non playoff teams have fewer talented players ! Going forward into 2021 that may still apply !

Sacto_J
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October 21, 2020 9:09 am

The actual manifestations of a mismanaged team, go figure.
Vivek, man…
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