By: Tom Witt – Twitter: @sactowncrown
The Sacramento Kings are in what some would call a ‘re-build.’ Kings fans have heard that phrase a FEW times before. The last time the franchise made the playoffs was in 2006. That was a team comprised of a ballin’ Bonzi Wells, a young Kevin Martin, and the veteran point guard Mike Bibby.
Kings NEW general manager Monte McNair has a vision, an ivy league degree, and multiple years of experience working his way up in the Houston Rockets front office ranks.
In This Article
- Sacramento Kings 2020-21 COMPLETE Roster and Player Breakdown
- Roster Additions and Departures
- Sactown Crown Report Projected 2020-21 Starting Lineup
- 2020-21 Regular Season Schedule
- Speculation, Opinions, Stats, History and More!
Sacramento Kings 2020-21 Roster
Sacramento Kings Offseason Maneuvers
De’Aaron Fox got paid this offseason – he signed a 5-year MAX deal, worth up to $195.6 MILLION.
The speedy Fox had this to say about Sacramento, the city he CHOSE to call home for the next few years of his career,
Forget About the Numbers
A lot of Kings ‘chatter’ has been centered around the improvement of De’Aaron Fox and the ‘steps he needs to take’ this season. After years of Jason Williams, Mike Bibby, Bobby Jackson – Kings fans are hungry for another star point guard.
Though I think some Kings fans may be DISAPPOINTED with their well-meaning, but too-high-of hopes for Fox’s statistical improvement this next season.
Looking ahead, I don’t think Fox necessarily needs to make statistical improvements for this upcoming season to be a success. Fox can actually ‘go down’ in terms of numbers, but up in terms of progress.
Let me explain ….
Part of Fox improving his three-point shot relies on him taking them in games. That means missing some shots in key situations so that he has experience and confidence taking them later in his career, when it may matter more.
That might also mean his percentages and numbers on paper GO DOWN in the short term, but his skill and confidence GO UP in the long term.
I think Kings fans can get onboard with that!
As the supporting cast around Fox improves and the offensive scheme continues to take shape – Fox will only continue to improve as time goes on. Fox can already drive, finish, and run the break with the best in the league. He has a HIGH ceiling – in terms of defense, shooting, passing.
Sacramento Kings Roster Additions
Sacramento was able to add some pieces through the draft and in free agency. I think these moves are steps in the right direction to reach their long-term goals.
That goal in my mind is – perennially contending for the playoffs.
2020 Draft Selections:
Check out Sactown Crown Report’s complete Kings draft breakdown, sprinkled with some G-League updates and Stockton Kings history – Sactown Crown Report – Kings COMPLETE Draft Breakdown and G-League Update
Guard/Wing – Tyrese Haliburton – 12th Overall (1st round) – Iowa State
Forward/Wing – Robert Woodard – 40th overall selection (2nd rd.) – Mississippi State
Robert Woodard is a hustle and defensive machine. What Woodard currently lacks in offensive refinement – he makes up for with effort, intensity, and high IQ play.
Woodard has the ability to guard multiple positions. Measuring in at 6’7″, 235lbs, 7’1″ wingspan – Woodard has good defensive footwork, IQ, and a drive to be successful on the defensive end.
Woodard needs to work on his offensive skills and confidence. He doesn’t ‘need’ to be a volume shooter, or create his own shot, to be successful in the NBA. He will be successful working on his catch and shoot threes, and mid-range game – while being a defensive-minded, high IQ, hustle player!
Guard – Jahmi’us Ramsey – 43rd overall selection (2nd rd.) – Texas Tech
Ramsey is LOOKING to score.
He can score from all three levels – at the rim, in the mid-range, and from deep. He is confident, has a strong body, to go along with impressive offensive footwork, and moves.
Ramsey needs to continue to work on his defensive technique, footwork and effort. The tape I’ve seen shows him often biting on shot fakes, being a bit over-aggressive and playing ‘out of the system’ on defense at times. As Ramsey gains more experience, and NBA level coaching, that level of tenacity and aggression on defense will serve him well!
On the offensive end, Ramsey needs to improve his shot selection and discipline. Gaining experience, high-quality coaching and an opportunity to play will help Ramsey on the offensive end.
Free Agent Acquisitions:
Center – Frank Kaminsky
PF/C – Chimezie Metu
Center – Hassan Whiteside
Wing – Glenn Robinson III
Kings New GM McNair Wants ‘Roster Control and Flexibility’
Sacramento Kings general manager Monte McNair has stated he wants more ‘control’ over his roster as the future goes on.
To me, that could mean many things.
This well-done article by The Kings Herald goes deeper into McNair’s long term strategy for the Sacramento Kings.
McNair wants to create contracts which the front office has more ‘control’ over, in terms of planning ahead for future moves in the trade and free-agent market.
That means not being in situations like the DeMarcus Cousins or Bogdan Bogdanovic situation, where the franchise is forced into bad moves to ‘save face’. Where they either have to overpay, take a trade they don’t want, or lose the player for ‘nothing’. (I will speak more about ‘losing a player for nothing’ later in the article …. )
Flexibility, in my opinion, also means that the Kings can play multiple lineups. That could mean needing to counter a lineup the opponent puts on the floor or by ‘setting the tone’ and crafting a lineup that the opponent has to matchup with.
The Bogi Decision
In a recent article by The Kings Herald – McNair stated this about the Bogdanovic decision and flexibility going forward,
In regards to the Bogdanovic situation, I think that the Kings made the best decision for the franchise short term and long term. And Bogi made the best decision for himself and his career.
Mainly, it just ends the constant turmoil around starting Buddy or Bogi. The uncertainty about who will start, who is unhappy, yadda yadda yadda.
I loved what Bogi brought to the Kings – an international champion, who showed love to the city and the fans, and who fit in well with that portion of the Kings ‘Post-Maloof Re-build’.
Addition By Subtraction
IF the Kings would have accepted a trade for Bogi previous to this offseason – they might have only been able to get players they KINDAAAA wanted – which some might think is ‘better’ than letting them go for nothing, but I do not.
I think it is quite the contrary. The phrase ‘addition by subtraction’ comes to mind.
With the loss of Bogi, Giles, Bazemore, etc. we lose solid NBA players who could help us out. Though, by not ‘hanging on’ to the past, McNair and the Kings front office gain the flexibility and freedom to shape the franchise the way THEY want to.
That is instead of being hamstrung by making trades to appease the media and fanbase. Sometimes making decisions that make you worse NOW and better in the FUTURE, are what the Kings need to do.
Sactown Crown Report 2020-21 Sacramento Kings Projected Starting Lineup
I think that 3/5’s of the Kings starting lineup will be pretty well set for most games. The other 2/5th’s will be changing as the season progresses, on a game-to-game basis.
(1) Point Guard – De’Aaron Fox
(2) Shooting Guard – Buddy Hield
(3) Small Forward – Harrison Barnes
(4) Power Forward – Marvin Bagley III
(5) Center – Richaun Holmes
See how my projected starting lineup compares to the Bleacher Report Projected Starting Lineups.
Point guard De’Aaron Fox, shooting guard Buddy Hield and small forward Harrison Barnes are most likely, starting most games for the Kings, barring injury or trade.
The starting ‘power forward’ and ‘center’, or what some would call the ‘4’ and ‘5’ positions, are more ‘open’ on a game to game basis.
I think the starters at those positions will be based on who is healthy, and best matchup’s depending on the Kings opponent, and any ‘hot’ player at the moment.
In my opinion, the players who are fighting for the starting gig at the 4 and 5 spots are – Richaun Holmes, Marvin Bagley III, Hassan Whiteside, with a hint of Nemanja Bjelica.
Marvin Bagley III, was drafted 2nd overall in 2018 by the previous Kings front office headed by Vlade Divac. Once Bagley is healthy, I think the Kings will do all they can to put him on the floor, and get him experience. The new front office wants to see how Bagley can play when given the opportunity, and honestly if he can stay healthy!
The Keys to the Ignition
De’Aaron Fox can put up numbers! The speedy Fox averaged 21.6 PPG and 6.8 assists per game last season. He improved his confidence shooting the mid-range pull up, and three-point shot.
I do not think De’Aaron Fox will be an All-Star this year, and I honestly don’t think he needs to drastically improve his numbers to ‘be better’. Fox will improve with time, experience, and as the supporting cast around him improves.
Fox really increased his confidence in his ‘elbow extended’ three-point shot. It seems as though Fox and coaching staff have tried to develop a few ‘sweet spots’ on the three-point line. This will help Fox gain confidence and consistency in his outside shot.
Harrison Barnes has done a great job in his role since arriving in Sacramento. He has been a ‘top player’ of the team, who doesn’t bring a negative attitude or negative media attention to the franchise. He is a great guy in the community. He also seems to have a great attitude and work ethic, to set an example for younger players.
With that being said, I think that the importance of the role Barnes has been playing is just about running out of time. The Kings need to move on from Barnes for many reasons.
One reason to move Barnes would be to open up a spot for younger players who the Kings want to develop. Another reason is to get his contract off the books and open up more salary cap flexibility.
The same can be said with Nemanja Bjelica, who has done a great job in his intended role with the Kings. He has probably exceeded most expectations since arriving in Sacramento.
Bjelica is a great outside shooter, can pass well for a big man, stretch the floor and make smart plays. Though he doesn’t quite fit in with the immediate future of the style of play the Kings are going for – run, fast, push the pace. Nemanja potentially has a high value in the trade market to a contending team looking for big man shooting depth.
The Saga of Buddy Buckets
Buddy Hield is a polarizing figure amongst Sacramento Kings fans … to say the least.
Last season Buddy averaged just over 19 PPG while shooting just over 39% from 3pt range.
Buddy is one of the best outside shooters in the NBA, even winning the 2020 NBA All-Star Weekend 3-Point Shooting Contest!
The Kings held their media day on 12/1 – and head coach Luke Walton … stirred the pot. Intentionally or unintentionally … that’s to be determined.
Walton didn’t exactly COMMIT to starting Hield going into the season –
I do think that Buddy is set up to have a big season! He’s looking big, strong, and ready to continue as one of the best shooters in the NBA. He just needs to continue to limit mistakes.
Holmes Sweet Holmes
The addition and play of Richaun Holmes were two of the most positive aspects of the Kings 2019-20 season. Holmes averaged 12 PPG, 8 RPG and consistently had one of the highest shooting percentages in the NBA. Holmes did suffer a shoulder injury which kept him out during the end of last season. Thankfully, Richaun seems to be healed up and ready to go for another productive season as a Kings fan favorite!
Sacramento Kings Bench Mob
Point Guard – Cory Joseph, (Tyrese Haliburton may also see time handling the ball)
Wing/Guard – Tyrese Haliburton, Glenn Robinson III, Daquan Jeffries, Justin James, Kyle Guy, Jahm’ius Ramsey
Post – Hassan Whiteside, Frank Kaminsky, Chimezie Metu
‘Floaters’- Nemanja Bjelica, Jabari Parker, Robert Woodard II
Sacramento Kings Bench:
Whether Hassan Whiteside starts or comes off the bench – I think he CAN have a positive impact on the Kings.
Last season, Whiteside started 61 of 67 games, averaging 15.5 PPG, 13.5 RPG, and lead the league with 2.9 BPG.
The addition of Whiteside will provide a ‘rim protector’ aspect to the team, which they can use to cover another team’s big man. Also, to take advantage of smaller lineups other teams use and create scoring opportunities around the bucket for the 7′ tall Whiteside.
Cory Joseph has been the Kings go-to defender, when needed.
This role will only continue to increase as the King develop offensively. One downside in the past to having Joseph on the floor is he is essentially a non-scoring threat. That generally stymies the Kings offense and the rest of the Kings scorers.
As the Kings develop offensively, they can use Joseph as a defensive stopper, and give Fox a breather – while not losing too much offensive ability by putting Joseph on the floor. As the team develops – role players like Joseph will only continue to shine more and more.
Glenn Robinson III adds some outside scoring and wing depth. He averaged just under 12 PPG while shooting 40% from 3pt range. He also gives the Kings a needed ‘place holder’ if they do decide to trade Harrison Barnes or Buddy Hield.
Frank Kaminsky could also play a role for the Kings. Last season Kaminsky averaged just under 20 minutes per game while scoring just under 10 points per game. He may be able to play the role of ‘stretch 5’, having shown the improved capability of hitting the three-point shot.
Jabari Parker is a ‘flyer’ to me. During his six-year career, Parker has averaged 14.9 PPG and 5.7 RPG. He has the ability to make an impact on the Kings, but will the 2nd overall selection in the 2014 NBA draft ever actually do that?
Daquan Jeffries – who earned himself an NBA contract after proving himself as an NBA capable wing during the ‘bubble’. Last season, Jeffries was on a two-way contract, spending most of his time playing for the Stockton Kings. In his G-League play with the Kings, Jeffries averaged 16.6 PPG and 6.9 RPG.
It will be interesting to see how Jeffries is utilized. During his bubble call-up, Jeffries made the most of his time. Jeffries averaged 6.1 PPG, 2.4 RPG in just 17.6 minutes per game.
Justin James played in 36 games last season for the Kings, where he averaged just over 6 minutes and 2.5 points per game. James is athletic but has not really shown me what his role is or strengths are as a player, yet.
I really have no idea what the Kings new front office and revamped coaching staff has in plan for James and the role he will play in the future.
Kyle Guy was one of the best players during the 2019-20 season for the Stockton Kings, and in the G-League overall! For the Stockton Kings, Guy averaged 21.5 PPG, while shooting 40% from 3pt range, and 4.8 assists per game in 37 games played.
A lot of the potential of the Bench Mob relies on how they are UTILIZED by the coaching staff.
I am excited to see the different lineups and how these bench players are used!
Health Will Determine A LOT
The health of the Kings will determine A LOT during this season and in the future.
The Kings were plagued by the injury bug during the 2019-20 season. They really never had their ‘full’ lineup healthy and available at the same time all season.
Marvin Bagley III was sidelined with multiple injuries during his first two seasons in the NBA. And even De’Aaron Fox has been a bit injury prone – which is often due to him having to ‘take over’ for the Kings offensively.
When Fox takes over, it means he usually will be driving into the lane, running the fast break and putting his still developing NBA body into harms way.
As the Kings develop more scoring threats around Fox, his injury risk should lessen.
Richaun Holmes was a huge bright spot for the Kings last season, but missed much of the end of the season with a shoulder injury.
IF the Kings can stay relatively healthy, they will not only benefit from added playing time together but will also give their ‘higher level’ opponents fits.
COVID Protocol Could HELP Sacramento?
The COVID situation in the NBA will be interesting.
Hear me out here …
WHAT IF the Kings stay healthy, and just happen to play teams in the league when they are ‘short handed’.
Whether that means the Lakers rest LeBron James versus the Kings OR a team that has a few KEY players out from COVID protocol.
Obviously, the Kings can just as easily be struck by COVID protocols but we shall see how that unfolds.