The Sacramento Kings have two starting caliber shooting guards at their disposal and when the season resumes, Luke Walton needs to make a decision.
Buddy Hield held the starting role for much of the early months of the season. During this time, Hield's dynamic backcourt partner De'Aaron Fox dealt with an ankle sprain that kept him out. Hield's game took a sharp left turn as he was no longer asked to be the Road Runner of the offense. Instead, Walton gave Buddy the freedom to hunt wabbits, leading to a large debate between Walton's ineffective utilization of Buddy's abilities versus Walton's irrational vision for the elite shooter. Our own Tim Maxwell went into great detail on this topic as well.
With Fox out, Buddy became more than just a shooter on offense. He began to create more as isolations, pick-and-rolls and dribble hand-offs went through Buddy more often than it did with Cory Joseph. Nonetheless, Buddy still put up averages of 19.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists while shooting 39.5% from deep in what many considered to be a down year for the guard. Now 39% is a fantastic rate, but it's nowhere near where Buddy could've been.
Enter Bogdan Bogdanovic, whose season took some setbacks due to hampering injuries and inconsistency largely occurred because of it. Bogdanovic is well equipped to be a better playmaker on offense than Hield and that has been evident for quite some time. Both bring unique skill sets to the table. However, it was clear that when Bogdanovic was on the floor, the ball movement improved and went through more hands. And more importantly, Bogi's defense was far better than that of his counterpart.
The locks for starters should be Fox, Harrison Barnes and Richaun Holmes. Marvin Bagley's situation is still speculative to this point and the way the season went, I'd like to say Nemanja Bjelica will be starting at the four. So with this starting lineup in mind, putting in Buddy brings back the possibility of the lightning fast duo of Fox and Buddy to return.
Teams haven't played in months, so the Kings' chances to win games when the season resumes could rely on them simply outrunning the competition. We saw it last season with Dave Joerger's squad. It gave the Kings an explicit identity and one they stuck to for a while. Though it disappeared this season, running Fox and Buddy as starters could mean a rise in catch-and-shoot opportunities for Buddy when others draw attention. Buddy still created when Fox returned from injury, so we'd just have to wait and see how Walton's playbook has altered, if there were alterations, when play resumes.
If Bagley is back and part of the bench core, a reserve lineup would include Joseph, Bogdanovic, Kent Bazemore, Bagley and either Alex Len or Harry Giles. An imperative reason to have Bogi on the bench is having a creator alongside Bagley at times when Fox is off the court. Not to forget among the reserve group, Bogi would be one of the main offensive initiators and that could be something to consider when reintegrating Bagley into the mix.
Inserting Bogi as the starting two while keeping the starters from the previous scenario the same could maximize the playmaking off the bat. A starting lineup consisting of Fox, Bogi, Barnes and Bjelica was used frequently before the season took an unprecedented turn. The only difference was Giles started due to Holmes being injured, but Holmes' defensive presence would bring a much needed identity on that end.
The Kings were 9-4 in 13 games with those four starters and though starting lineups aren't as essential to closing lineups, it's a decent indicator to how the team fared for recent games leading to the season's suspension. You lose speed and elite shooting with Bogi starting, but gain better defense and ball movement among other pros and cons.
Plus, Bogi must've definitely benefited off the hiatus as he usually plays international ball during regular offseasons. With the extra rest, we could see FIBA Bogi whether he starts or not and that itself is a frightening thought.
Having Buddy off the bench did wonders for the Bahamian. Walton flipped Buddy for Bogi in the starting lineup on January 24 and Buddy's shooting remarkably improved. In 20 games coming off the bench, Buddy shot 88-185 from deep, a 47.5% clip. And playing more minutes alongside Joseph and Bazemore could see improvements in defense as communication would be stronger and sharper with those two defensive-minded veterans.
The Kings could also do something completely different and start both of the guards simultaneously. A lineup of Fox, Buddy, Bogi, Barnes and Holmes has appeared in seven games (though it doesn't show the amount of minutes, thus making it difficult to compare to others) and can be something we see more of going forward.
It emphasizes small ball situations, allowing Holmes to be the focal point in the paint on both ends, posting up Barnes, shooting and running from Buddy and the playmaking of Fox and Bogi. Though this lineup arguably puts out the Kings' five best players at the same time, it might be better suited to roll it out as the game goes on and as coaches make adjustments rather than bringing it out right away for an opposing coach to plan against.
Regardless of Walton's decision, the Kings having good problems to solve is a much better topic of discussion than topics of previous seasons. Based on how the season ended, I'd start Bogdanovic due to how the team played as a result of Buddy going to the bench. But because the team's form and chemistry will need time to rediscover itself, I wonder what Walton must be thinking.
I think the easy answer is Bogi because of the team’s recent success after his insertion into the starting lineup. However, I think his playmaking ability is much needed with the bench unit.
Then again, Buddy being a super-sub and instant offense off the bench is such a luxury to have, especially if the Kings decide to go with Giles over Len considering Harry’s court vision and passing abilities from the high post for a streaking / cutting Buddy.
I’ve argued both sides and gotten nowhere.
Bogi and Nemanja should be starting, and Buddy and Bagley should be the nucleus of a murderous bench mob.
But for that to work long-term, it would require some serious personality management (including the acknowledgement of how badly the 2018 draft went) that I think is currently beyond the skillset of this organization.
I don’t really care who starts, but their most common lineup should include both.
Also, the only reason Fox and Buddy would be a lightening fast duo is because Fox is a blur. Buddy isn’t especially fast. That idea was based on a mid-reading of NBA.com stats and mistaking average speed for top speed. For example, the same stat used to claim Hield is one of that fastest players in the league last year says that Fox is 12th fastest on the Kings this year. Slower than noted speed merchants like Swanigan and Bogdan. Buddy’s motor is elite. He’s constantly running. And I’d argue that’s more useful and important than top speed. But He isn’t especially fast.
I bet buddy could beat you in the 100 yard dash
I should hope so.
I’ll take BHE by five strides:
I won a decent number of (low level) athletic competitions in my youth. Running races were not among them.
Any of my guesses correct?
Oh, man. Dodgeball and tetherball were life in elementary school.
At Charles Mack Elementary, we also played something called “Prison Ball” (or “Prisoner Ball”?), which was my favorite. It was like dodgeball, but without the violence. (I know, i know–“then what’s the point?”)
What about the summer of George?!
I think it’s fair to call that combo fast. Buddy might not be an elite foot race guy, but his motor, range, and accuracy with a quick trigger allow you to *play* fast, which is what matters.
Though it that’s the argument, his general decision making if he isn’t catching-and-shooting is pretty slow. If it’s about enabling the team to play fast, then I’d say Bodgan is the better option.
That’s definitely the key to unlocking Buddy. Take the shot if you have it, otherwise move the ball.
These 8 games are our play-offs or play-ins, whatever.
That means shortened rotations; so Bogi and Fox should play so many minutes that either one should be on the court most of the time, if not all the time.
The better question is whether Bagley should see the floor much, if at all.
With that in mind, go back to what seemed to work; start Bogi, bring Buddy of the bench.
It will be interesting to see what their gameplan is. One of their strengths is that they have a deep bench. It seemed like the bench guys were able to more than hold their own in that last stretch of games. A lot of that had to do with how well Buddy played on the second unit, but I could see an argument for going into these first 8 games with the “if it ain’t broke” mindset and play 9 or 10 guys. There’s going to be issues with conditioning and the fear of injuries caused by bringing these guys back too fast, so that could play a role in the thought process as well.
I’m curious to see if Len’s inevitable drastic regression will hit in the next 8 games, or if it will wait until after we give him way too much money in the offseason.
I virtually guarantee you that the rotations will shorten.
Almost all coaches will want to keep their best players on the court as long as possible when every game, every possession counts.
It only takes a very good and visionary coach, like Pop, to consciously keep his stars fresh for the end of the games.
Luke isn’t Pop.
Maybe. I mean, the teams that are locked into the playoffs will likely approach these games very differently than the Kings. I would actually expect their deeper rotation guys to see more minutes. They’ll probably play it like pre-season games. Get their stars enough minutes to get their rhythm and conditioning back, but that’s about it.
Oh, agreed. I am talking about the Kings. This is OUR Play-offs.
Under normal circumstances I’d agree. I just don’t know if normal rules apply here. Or to put it another way, I can see a scenario in which shortening the rotations backfires due to the hiatus and compacted schedule
I’ve been looking more ahead to the next season. I’ve said before .. Get Draymond Green in free agency. Then we’ve got a team .. lets see what we can do. He might be the Doug Christy piece we are missing. In regards to this year. I still have hopes for Harry being a Chris Webber type. But Draymond Green, I think is the answer at Power Forward.
In regards to shooting guards .. Stand pat with what we’ve been doing till the season stopped.
If Draymond is the answer at Power Forward I think you’re asking the wrong questions
He would be a kick in the nu- backside for this team’s intensity.
Put me in the camp of starting Bogi and making Buddy the super 6th man. It’s what was working so don’t fix it.
That being said, I would like to see that anytime Buddy is on the court, he has one of Fox and Bogi with him. Please don’t make Buddy the primary ball handler and facilitator. He is best used off of screens and cuts with the minimal amount of dribbles. Use him like the Warriors use Klay and I feel the Kings will greatly benefit.
When there are occasions where Buddy is our there with Joesph in the backcourt, try and have Giles in there as another willing passer.
But isn’t this organization good at “fixing” things that aren’t broken? 😉
Seems like the minutes will be even with a lot of overlap when the opposition goes 4 or 5 out. I think Bogdan is a better 2 guard and should get the nod against more traditional lineups.
I always get a little worried when I see this “the Kings have a good problem between Bogdan Bogdanovic and Buddy Hield”. The Kings had a good problem at the beginning of the season because of how deep they were with big men, and that kinda blew up in their face spectacularly. Buddy is already pissed that he doesn’t get to start, and now Bogi might be playing his last 8ish games in a Kings uniform.
Obviously, the coaching staff can’t make decisions based on the offseason impact, but there could be some hurt feelings as a result of those decisions.
He’s Justin ToYou
Based on how well the Kings played when BB8 started, BB8 should start unless Buddy significantly outplays BB8 during training camp (which I wouldn’t expect to happen).
I would like to start Buddy.
I hope the coaches used this time to review their work and are ready to implement changes. My two favorite starting lineups would look somewhat like this:
Fox, Buddy, Barnes, Bjelica, Holmes
Fox, Buddy, Bazemore, Barnes, Holmes
I like the idea of having Bogi as back up point guard and playing with and subbing in for Fox/Buddy. These two lineups should make Fox/Bazemore and Bogi/Joseph (2nd unit) the main ball handlers. On paper, it should create dribble penetration and spacing on the floor opportunities.
Depending on the lineup chosen, bench:
Bogi, Joseph, Bazemore, Bagley/Len/Giles (no order but likely 1 big)
Bogi, Joseph, Bjelica, Bagley/Len/Giles (same, 1 big)
I enjoy Bogi and Bjelica’s chemistry which is why I favor the smaller lineup with Bjelica off the bench.
Lastly, SPEED UP the tempo, Luke!
It’s an interesting situation.
The Kings should run, run, run right? Yet an individual’s conditioning is going to factor here. BUT, at the end of a normal year, the league is full of beat-up, tired players who need rest, not this year?
Captain obvious stuff, but I think depth is going to be pretty important, which is nothing new. The Kings could run, run, run themselves right into an early bench. Their opponents might be rationing minutes for starters to set themselves up for the playoffs. In both cases, the bench will be a big factor.
I’m pretty excited. My wife went KAREN MODE RED on AT&T last week, and it looks like we’re getting Comcast, although with as random as 2020 is, who the hell knows where these things will be broadcast?
I like to have hope and I can’t wait.
Conditioning may not be at its best for everyone, but the Kings should absolutely run if they can afford to so. It’s their best bet if they want a shot
Buddy is streaky, but to have any chance of making the playoffs we’ll need him on a hot streak. Give him your full confidence by starting him, since he’s on the expensive long-term contract and already worked his way out of his slump prior to the break. Clean slate.
More importantly, give both guys 30mpg+ and close games with both. This offseason Bogi is going to do what’s best for himself financially and career-wise, regardless of what that means for the Kings. 8 starts and the off chance of getting spanked by Lebron isn’t going to change anything.
What is, “The foundation on which this organization is built”?
I liked that you answered in the form of a question.
I think it’s about what allows a guy to be at his best. Buddy needs shots to be at his best, he’s going to get less of those in the starting lineup. Bogi is more of a pick his spots than a volume guy.
The reality is, both are going to be top 5 in minutes anyway. It makes more sense to start Bogi than it does Buddy given how each seem to fit with Fox moving forward.
Is this a redux of Team Omri vs Team Donte?
I love both Buddy and Bogi, so I suggest we smush them both into one jersey with the name BUGGI on the back. Only one of them needs to run at a time–the other lifts their feet up like the Flinstones after their car is rolling. All 4 hands should be out though, except for dribbling of course.
Also, speaking of fast teams, racing, and going back to play-by-play broadcaster searches, did anyone catch the Marbula-E race in Jakarta this last weekend? It was awesome, even violent for a moment. The broadcast team is BBC Formula 1 commentator Jack Nicholls for play-by-play, and the voice of Marble Racing Greg Woods, as the color commentator. I know it’s a different sport, but I’d love to get guys like this for our broadcast team. Nicholls has electricity in his voice and Woods is a nice balance of insight and humor.
If you want to skip qualifiers, the race begins at the 6:26 mark:
I’d go with Phil Liggett. But Paul & Phil would have been perfect. Now we get Phil and Jens Voight .. Great team and they often worked in a trailer. Not at actual events with just a monitor. Perfect for the Pandemic Basketball of 2020. I think if I keep this up, some people might see through the cat avatar ..
OMG .. What if these two cat’s are actually one person with two Avitars .. nah ..
Both should roughly play the same amount of minutes, and both are solid options.
We cannot deny the Kings won at a high rate to “finish” the season and that was with Bogi starting.
However; with a heathy Fox, it might be better to start Buddy. Use Bogi’s ball handling/playmaking off the bench to help Cojo. Also, takes some things off of Buddy’s plate. Just space the floor for Fox and hit open jumpers.
I think a lot of it could depend who is the hot hand going into the final 8 games. I do like the idea of the small-ball lineup to finish games.
I think the bigger question is how do the minutes look for the front court players? Does Bjelica start? Does Bagley start? How many minutes do Len and Giles get?
This would be my minutes breakdown 2K style haha…only my opinion and open for suggestions. I would also ride the hot hands to win games. Maybe even put a little Yogi in over Cojo some games.
PG: Fox (32), Cojo (12), Bogi (4)
SG: Buddy (30) OR Bogi (18)
SF: Barnes (26), Bazemore (14), Bogi (8)
PF: Bjelica (20), Bagley (20), Barnes (4), Giles (4)???
C: Holmes (28), Len(12), Giles(8)???
Total Minutes Per Game:
Fox – 32
The team seemed to be playing much better once Buddy was benched from his starting role. I’d keep what was working. As far as Bagley they should try and work him in, with limited minutes, in the 10-15 minute range. If he’s balling out you can maybe extend to 20 minutes, but if he looks lost and doesn’t meld with the team take that to sub 10 minutes with possible DNP designation depending on the matchups.