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Kings Pulse: Potential Internal Improvements, with Greg Wissinger

What players can we expect improvements from headed into next year?

Most teams competing for the play-in/playoffs with the Sacramento Kings this season have reason to believe they will benefit from notable internal improvements.

Part of this is because most of the rosters in that range are decently younger than the Kings. Memphis is expecting growth from Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr, Dillon Brooks, Desmond Bane, Brandon Clarke, and others. New Orleans has Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, Kira Lewis Jr, Jaxson Hayes, and Nickeil Alexander-Walker. Minnesota has a young group of Karl Anthony-Towns, D'Angelo Russell, Anthony Edwards, Jaden McDaniels, and Naz Reid.

Even the Spurs have Devin Vassell, Dejounte Murray, Lonnie Walker, Keldon Johnson, and Tre Jones. The Golden State Warriors can also expect some improvements from Jordan Poole and James Wiseman.

Ideally and typically, younger players get better with more age/experience in the NBA. The question is which (and how many) players on Sacramento's rosters could provide that type of internal growth and in what aspects of their games?

Greg joined me to talk about De'Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, Marvin Bagley, Buddy Hield, Damian Jones, Chimezie Metu, Jahmi'us Ramsey, and Robert Woodard from this angle.

Some of the answers were obvious - literally everyone needs to improve on defense - like Fox's free throw shooting and Haliburton gaining functional strength. But, when it comes to someone like Buddy Hield, is it reasonable to expect him to notably improve any aspects of his game or does the front office and coaching staff need to accept who he is and optimize that player?

We talk through Damian Jones' situation and what our ideal improvements for him would be if he makes it to opening night in royal purple.

Jahmi'us Ramsey had an eye-opening Las Vegas Summer League - what comes next?

Robert Woodard was on the other side of that coin and desperately needs to save face by finding his confidence and some offensive competence.

Marvin Bagley was tricky to pick a specific skill for as he primarily just needs to remain healthy and consistent.

We close with me asking Greg his quick thoughts on a Ben Simmons to Sacramento trade.

Let us know in the comments what specific aspects of these player's games you would like to see improved going into the 2021-22 season and who you see having the biggest jump.

The Kings Pulse podcast is available on all major listening platforms.

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Kosta
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August 31, 2021 9:21 am

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Klam
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August 31, 2021 10:02 am
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Carl
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August 31, 2021 10:23 am
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Klam
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August 31, 2021 10:28 am
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Kosta
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August 31, 2021 10:53 am
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RobHessing
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August 31, 2021 11:05 am
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Klam
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August 31, 2021 11:10 am
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Kosta
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August 31, 2021 11:40 am
Reply to  Klam

“You got burp..le?”

jwalker1395
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August 31, 2021 9:35 am

I’m kind of excited to see Bagley play this season. Obviously if he can’t stay healthy there’s nothing you can do about that. But if he CAN stay on the court, I think he actually makes sense with this roster if he’s put into a different role. One of our big complaints with him is that his scoring seemingly comes at the detriment of the offense as a whole. I believe if we reduce expectations for Bagley from “needs to be a 20-10 borderline all-star forward” to “needs to be an opportunistic play finisher next to three terrific facilitators” that he could really thrive. If his offense came primarily off of

  1. Offensive Glass/Putbacks
  2. PnR/PnP from 20 ft or less
  3. Backdoor cuts
  4. Transition
  5. Spot-Up 3s

then his offense could theoretically be really efficient. We already know he’s good at everything I’ve just listed there, so just optimize his skills and minimize his deficiencies. If he does those 5 things, his scoring becomes more as a clean-up man to missed shots or as a third option when Fox-Mitchell-Hali can’t get the ball to Buddy or Barnes. In which case, he’d be helping to score points that the team otherwise wouldn’t get had he not filled that void. Take away the moments where he has the ball in his hands and feels the need to create for himself only to turn it over or put up a bad shot (while others stand around wide open). Give him only can’t miss opportunities at the basket or wide open from deep. Plus the 8-12 rebounds per night, all he’d need is just some solid defense and all of a sudden he could actually make a lot of sense being played next to Barnes/Buddy and Holmes. No reason he can’t give you a rock solid 16-8-2 every single night as a 4th or 5th option in an 8 man rotation.

Sacto_J
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August 31, 2021 10:33 am
Reply to  jwalker1395

All those things you mention don’t really have much to do with Bagley’s real issues, IMO. The guy is half-way decent on the offensive side of the floor, when his head’s in the game. I think Bagley (and the Bagley Camp’s) issues stem from the fact that they themselves hold the high expectations and when he doesn’t live up to them its always someone else’s fault rather than part of the process for improvement. I make plenty of digs at Walton but the Bagley Camp would have you convinced that he’s the only reason Bagley isn’t succeeding when in fact Bagley is his own worst enemy on the court more often than not.
In one example, we play “Good Idea / Bad Idea”:
Marvin’s actually not a terrible man defender. I know, it’s not the narrative you’ve heard and likely not what you expected me to start with, but I digress. Point is, the guy can cover his man. Good Idea! Covering his man to the exclusivity of all other defensive principals: Bad Idea. In sticking his man so tightly he leaves a laundry list of things to be desired, defensively. Things like turning his head to see where the ball is, rotating to help properly, or pushing his man off his route, covering the roll man, (or stopping the ball in general,) proper positioning for double moves, etc. are all things Marvin fails to do that contribute to the Kings having some of the worst defensive stats in history last year when he was on the floor.

Look, I’m excited to see him play this year too but for entirely different reasons. If you’re a Bagley fan, be prepared to root for him on another team before the year is up. Hopefully he will have done enough to warrant some kind of return in trade…

KingOfTheMonsters
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August 31, 2021 11:54 am
Reply to  Sacto_J

He could improve his use to the team if he could just set a decent screen.

Sacto_J
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September 1, 2021 8:55 am

Indeed. One very simple basketball skill that doesn’t involve having the ball in your hands. Which means it’s not even on his radar, most likely.

Rosevillain
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August 31, 2021 10:59 am
Reply to  jwalker1395

You forgot the completely delusional part. His latest rap lyrics…

“Gone from the game for a year, I came back like ‘Pac, when he got shot they wouldn’t believe it but they had to watch,”

“I do not listen to the negative energy, they gon’ envy me. I do not care if they not feelin’ me.”

“I just beat ’em with the left like Roy, I was built for this game, I just kill and destroy.”

RikSmits
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August 31, 2021 11:02 am
Reply to  Rosevillain

I think he can differentiate between his lyrics and real life.

The Beatles didn’t really think that they all lived in a yellow submarine.
It was slate grey, the only proper color for a submarine.

Rosevillain
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August 31, 2021 11:24 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Yeah, maybe a Nickelback comparison would’ve been better here?

Sorry, but I don’t see any room for artistic interpretation or metaphor in this. It’s pretty much the exact same out of touch crap Team Bagley likes to tweet – Marv is MVP level awesome and everyone else is blind.

Adamsite
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August 31, 2021 12:54 pm

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itsjabby
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August 31, 2021 1:59 pm

im always frinking dureing kingd pluse

Hozr
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September 1, 2021 12:13 pm

No discussion of TD. A young player with growth potential? Lame.

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