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Season Review: Kessler Edwards

Sacramento's flier on the young wing from Pepperdine didn't seem to pan out.
By | 29 Comments | May 7, 2024

Dec 6, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Sacramento Kings forward Kessler Edwards (17) dunks the ball against the LA Clippers in the second half at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In today’s NBA, one of the most valuable assets for any NBA team is length, particularly on the wing.  Just take a look at what the Minnesota Timberwolves have done this season and are currently doing in the playoffs, or how much the Kings struggled against tall athletic teams like the New Orleans Pelicans and Houston Rockets.

The Kings don’t have much length of their own, but they were able to add Kessler Edwards, a 6’8 wing with a 6’11 wingspan, a season ago in a trade with the Nets. The Nets were simply looking to dump salary, but for the Kings it was an opportunity to take a look at a young player who could give them that added dimension they were lacking.  Edwards showed flashes early on with the Kings, particularly in a game against the Phoenix Suns where he scored 12 points, grabbed 7 rebounds and played excellent defense against Devin Booker.  He became a regular part of the rotation after that but ended up not seeing much time in the playoffs.

Coming into this season, the hope was that Edwards could build up from last year’s experience and become a more regular rotation player, but the opportunities came infrequently as the team seemed to prioritize newcomer Sasha Vezenkov instead.  His first real opportunities of the season came during injuries for other players or during garbage time of blowouts.  From Thanksgiving to February, Edwards didn’t have a single game played with double digit minutes, either coming in only at the end of already decided games or spot minutes when the Kings needed an extra possession of defense.  That didn’t change much throughout the rest of the season either, with no opportunity or increased role like the end of the prior season.

By the end of the season, Edwards finished with averages of just 1.7 points, 0.8 rebounds, 0.3 assists, 0.2 steals in just 5.1 minutes a game.  He did shoot a career-high 38.5% from three, making 20 of his 52 attempts as his offense largely came down to spot up shooting (he only shot 30 two-pointers in comparison, most of which came at the rim).

Should the Kings have played Edwards more? There’s definitely an argument for it, especially given how ineffective Chris Duarte was despite a much larger opportunity.  Edwards’ on-off numbers are hard to judge considering most of his minutes came in garbage time, playing with other players who struggled to create for themselves or others, and as such the Kings offense was 11.8 points per 100 possessions worse when Edwards was on the floor.  It’s definitely fair to say that Edwards is a limited player offensively, mainly focused on catch and shoot jumpers with little ballhandling or playmaking ability.

But the defensive potential is real, and the Kings were better on that end of the floor with him by 5.7 points per 100 possessions. Again, these numbers were mostly garbage minutes, but Edwards was subbed in several times for defensive matchups.

Edwards enters the offseason as an unrestricted free agent and will be just 24 years old this offseason.  It seems unlikely that the Kings retain his services given how little they played him, but it also probably wouldn’t cost much to do so.  If the Kings can’t find better options at the wing in free agency or by trade, another flier year at the minimum for Edwards could be in the cards, but I doubt we’ll see the Kings or any team pick him up for a multi-year deal. Edwards still needs to prove himself, and it doesn’t really seem like that opportunity is going to come here.

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Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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Nostradumbass 14
May 7, 2024 2:24 pm

A whole lot of meh when it comes to Edwards. The idea of Edwards, a long 6’8″ wing with defensive potential, is fine, but the player in Edwards was not.

With 11 Kings currently on guaranteed salaries for next season, I give it a 0% chance he’ll be back on the roster, especially with other holes to fill. I’ll honestly be surprised if he is in the league next season.

Interesting tidbit. Edwards, along with Cash Considerations was traded to the Kings in 2023 in exchange for some Euro stash rights. It saved Brooklyn a ton of tax money. This year a very similar trade was made by the Kings eating Robin Lopez’s deal and getting Cash Considerations in exchange for another Euro stash rights. It too saved the Bucks a ton in tax.

The Kings front office sure like saving other teams a bunch of tax dollars in exchange for Cash Considerations. I’m not sure how I feel about that trend, but I know it isn’t positive.

murraytant
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May 7, 2024 4:47 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Question: can cash considerations play SF?

Edwards had 2 years to establish himself as a player. Mostly, he did not.
There is room for 4 players. Need MM back, need room for Len to sign last day.
can anyone be traded? Duarte?
There are URFA’s at the “Edwards slot”- N. Marshall, R. O’Neil, D. Jones. I like all of them better.
Kings need length (Look at Minnesota)
Guards- Fox, KH, Mitchell, Ellis, C. Jones, Duarte and MM. Not a lot of size and a bit of redundancy. Need size. Edwards has size but an ok defender and less than ok on offense.
I think gone.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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Nostradumbass 14
May 7, 2024 5:30 pm
Reply to  murraytant

Here is an issue: There is room for 4 players.

If Monte brings back Monk and gets a backup center, either Len or someone else that’s 13 players. If the Kings keep the #13 and the second round pick (which has been typically sold off the past few years) then the Kings are at 15.

Excluding any trades that just 1-2 new rotational players (backup C and #13). That’s not going to move the needle on this team, IMO.

Trades are going to have to happen if this team is to be altered from the last 2 seasons.

eddie41
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May 8, 2024 9:26 am
Reply to  Adamsite

if the 2nd rounder signs a 2-way contract, there would still be a roster spot to sign a FA. If that FA can replace HB in the starting lineup and fits well with Sabonis (many here are saying Jalen Smith), would that move the needle?

I’m assuming the #13 pick might need a year to crack the regular rotation.

murraytant
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May 8, 2024 3:50 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

the second round pick can replace Mason Jones on G League. Keep the 13. Add Free agent like N. Marshall etc. Drop Duarte- eat his salary or trade a 2 for 1.
Kings need length. In draft- Filipowki or Ke-el Ware. There is your back up center + Len on last day.

eddie41
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May 8, 2024 4:47 pm
Reply to  murraytant

no objection to Naji. Filipowski is a name to discuss. there is a lot to like. but not sure about his hips. Kel’el seems kind of meh.

eddie41
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May 8, 2024 5:27 pm
Reply to  murraytant

how about Tyler Smith as a possible pick at 13? 6’10” shooter.

TheGrantNapear
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May 8, 2024 6:29 am
Reply to  Adamsite

Adam,
Is there a reason why you don’t write articles for this site? You seem to have all this convoluted contract stuff down to a T. I think you would be a great addition to the writing team.

scottymusprime
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May 7, 2024 4:17 pm

*reads intently*

Yep. That about sums it up.

AnybodyButBagley
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May 7, 2024 5:55 pm

Set the man free and allow some roster room for a G leaguer to wastefully plug for the next five years.

UpgradedToQuestionable
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May 7, 2024 6:59 pm

Count me as a Kessler Edwards hopeful. I was smitten by his performance vs. Devin Booker last season and was expecting more and better from the former Pepperdine Wave – a new bigger, stronger 3 and D version of Doug Christie.

I saw the more accurate 3 point shot but little else. The rebounding, the defending was not apparent. His decision making left me wanting, and that was apparently the same feeling by the coaching staff as he never looked like he was going to get more than filler level playing time.

Seems like a nice, hard working guy. I wish him well but I am disappointed to admit, I don’t see a better future in Sacramento.

Hobby916
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May 7, 2024 7:22 pm

I don’t think he will be more than a garbage time type of player in the NBA. Hopefully he finds a way to play overseas, as he seems like a good guy and a hard worker.

jwalker1395
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May 7, 2024 8:41 pm

Id bring back Edwards if he wants to be a 3rd stringer on a minimum salary. Otherwise, best of luck to him.

HongKongKingsFan
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May 7, 2024 9:26 pm

Sad to see Edwards go.

But we need better players.

TheGrantNapear
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May 8, 2024 6:30 am

This pretty much sums it up.

kings4ever
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May 8, 2024 1:54 pm

Can you imagine the scathing criticism that would have been levied from Kings fans had Fearless Fox scored 6 points in 36 minutes on 6 shots in Game 1 of playoff series while his counterpart (Brunson) dominated like a TOTAL BOSS?

Brunson is everything Haliburton wishes he was and never will be because he lacks the toughness and talent. This pretender is the player many fans around here bemoan the loss of, retaining instead the League Leader in Steal and Deflections.

Tyrese spent a total of zero minutes and zero seconds guarding Brunson, which is about the same amount of time he spent penetrating and getting into the lane for sprays or finishes.

PG in name only. Who is Halburton, really? He’s a self actualized version of Colby Jones.

Let the record show Tyrese Hali-bum does NOT get into the lane. This is Mr. Elite. This is Mr. Olympic Team. This is Mr Phony who dragged his sorry ass onto the court for 25 MPG to qualify for All-NBA, trying to meet the minimum game requirement, chasing the almighty dollar.

Do NOT be surprised if the national pundits, double down on their idiocy, they are known for this, and vote Hali-bum onto the 3rd team All NBA.TJ McConnell often is MUCH better at making that team run. He defends and penetrates.

All Tyrese does is whip the ball about the perimeter hope not to get isolated on defense and he lofts his moon ball to success on ocassion and puts mustard on the hotdog with his passes too, which amounts to nothing.

Imagine the fan outrage and disappointment if our franchise player (Fox) was outplayed by his backup (Davion).

But, but, Tyrese has a bad hammy. Fox battles injuries all season long every season and keeps grinding. The Mavs fans are FULL of excuses after last night RE: Luka. If you are healthy enough to play, you are healthy enough to perform.

I don’t want to hear about Tyrese being less than 100 percent. He is moving fine, just like Luka.

Every doubt and apprehension I have had regarding Haliburton before the trade has come to fruition. It is glorious vindication. At the time of the trade I said Haliburton can lead the league in assists. I think he did. I also said he has a sweet and unorthodox shot offset by his inability to keep his man in front of him and get consistently into the lane.

All this has been laid out in patent display.

Tonight should be no different as the Knicks take a stranglehold on the series.

Rooting for the Pacers tonight? Maybe they will win if TJ brings it!

Against the Bucks Halibum could hardly exploit his matchup vs Beverly, a SCRUB, and someone Fox would light up for 40, or Dame Lillard, another useless player on defense.

This is the player that Kings fans, some of them, regret trading away??!

The reason tonights game, one of the biggest of Halib-bums career, likely to fail, is relevant to our off season, in an indirect way, is that it validates what our GM did in transforming our team. He did not ship off this legendary first ballot HOFer. He shipped off this flawed player who can’t hold a candle to the Knicks PG.

I guaratnee every Kings fan who opposed the trade, and maybe still do so to this day, would tell you unequivocally Halburton is the equal or better player to Brunson. Then these fans should simultaneously expect he will exemplify as much tonight.

Watch and be disappointed. Better yet, admit our GM is a (Mc)Genius.

murraytant
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May 8, 2024 3:46 pm
Reply to  kings4ever

Brutal and enough “truth” to be interesting.
I love Hali and I think that some of his stats are empty calories. I like Fox quite a bit better- can be a 2 way guy, can penetrate lane and can take over game offensively. Hali can set up guys. I am glad we have who we have.

kings4ever
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May 8, 2024 3:54 pm
Reply to  murraytant

I appreciate your common sense. Thank you.

AnybodyButBagley
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May 8, 2024 7:54 pm
Reply to  kings4ever

Ummmm…..ok?

Tankathon
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May 10, 2024 12:19 pm
Reply to  kings4ever

Whatever makes you feel better about the trade? The fact of the matter is you could get more in a hali trade vs a Sabonis trade. What we got for Hali was not enough, which is my only gripe. There was even some reporting at the time that MM didn’t even widely shopped Hali – just went to the 76ers (dodged a kangz sized blunder) and pacers. That’s a huge mismanagement of assets when (at that time), the Kings didn’t have many. Sure getting off of Buddy’s contract is great and it paved way for some signings…that got us exactly 1 playoff appearance and a first round exit. Trading a blue chip to dump salary + get Sabonis is not enough.

Before I get the “pascal is the reason why pacers is in the playoffs”, sure but there is a reason why he is in Indiana – he wanted to play with Hali.

kings4ever
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May 8, 2024 2:20 pm

Regarding the OP by AKIS, Kessler did not have the confidence of the coach.

If you lack the confidence of the coach, maybe you can play, maybe you cannot.

Our coach did not start Keon until he had NO choice, until Red Diva’s arm was detached from its socket by Desmond Bane, facilitated by Huerter lack of commitment to going beast mode in the gym.

Then we became our Top 5 defense team and our offense hardly suffered.

This is an example of our coach discernment, stumbling onto excellence.

No credit to him.

He stumbled onto profound improvement.

This is fact.

And it is fact this is the same coach who allowed Curry, the greatest shooter of all time, 38 FGs in a Game 7 home game en route to 50 points, with Davion riding the pine, then defended this decision afterwards.

Our coach game plan to win the most important game in two decades was to give the greatest shooter ever ALL the shots he could handle.

LOL. This is why I said we should find a reason to fire him and hire Jodie H. Too late!

Then when he was left with NO choice but ride with Keon, Curry was afford 16 FGAs and we kicked their ass. Vindication achieved. with Keon and Davion . This is the coach who “knows best”.

Make of this what you will RE: Kessler.

AnybodyButBagley
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May 8, 2024 7:54 pm
Reply to  kings4ever

Angry?

HongKongKingsFan
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May 8, 2024 9:30 pm
Reply to  kings4ever

I wonder who suggested to bench Davion at game 7 ?

it’s Mike Brown or Jordi ?

if it’s Jordi, than our defense might be even be better next season, as Doug Christie should be taking Jordi’s place,

And Dough probably would suggest play more defensive player.

AnybodyButBagley
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May 9, 2024 8:07 am

Does Davion score?

How does a team win?

SmoothSactown
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May 8, 2024 2:41 pm

Not the right blend of role, opportunity and skillset for him here. I’m certain there will be a place from him in the league, it’s just probably not the 2024-25 Sacramento Kings.

kgdobter
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May 8, 2024 7:29 pm

Watching this Knicks and Pacers game and realize Monte’s biggest mistake was letting DiVincenzo go for nothing.

AnybodyButBagley
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May 8, 2024 7:55 pm
Reply to  kgdobter

That Haliburton guys is ok…isn’t doing much for himself.

HongKongKingsFan
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May 8, 2024 9:27 pm
Reply to  kgdobter

Yes. Still puzzled about only bring him in for half season, but don’t bring him back. (While he was playing great for us at that time)

and Sabonis seems like him.

Last edited 2 months ago by HongKongKingsFan
SuperShaka
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May 9, 2024 3:05 am
Reply to  kgdobter

Is crazy to think back that starting him for seven more games would have kept him happy enough to probably re-sign that offseason. I don’t know whether it was Gentry or McNair that made that decision but it was a mistake.

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