Garrett Temple -- the Kings' forgotten man


Garrett Temple -- the Kings' forgotten man

Some NBA players get no respect. When you read about the Sacramento Kings’ summer of change, the focus is on the incoming rookie class and the three veteran additions. When you talk about the shooting guard position, the conversation instantly shifts to Buddy Hield vs. Bogdan Bogdanovic. But when the season starts, Garrett Temple will be a veteran leader and likely the starter at the two.

Temple is used to living his NBA life in relative anonymity. He bounced in and out of the league throughout the early stages of his career and has finally found stability at the ripe age of 31. When he signed a three-year, $24 million deal with Sacramento last summer, he more than doubled his career earnings in his first season on the job.

His numbers don’t jump off the page, but his impact on the game goes far beyond points, rebounds and assists. Temple is the Kings’ best perimeter defender and it’s not even a close contest. Temple has an ability to disrupt the opposing team’s offensive flow with deflections. He can guard the point and both wing positions, which will take pressure off the younger players.   

On the offensive end, Temple rarely makes a mistake, averaging just 0.9 turnovers per game for his career. He can act as a second ball handler and he shot a reliable 37.3 percent from behind the arc last season.

With plenty of scoring options around him, Temple doesn’t demand shots. He is a glue guy who finds a role and fits in with any lineup.

Behind the scenes, Temple established himself as an authentic voice of experience. Vince Carter will carry a lot of weight in the locker room as a former superstar turned aging mentor. Zach Randolph commands respect with his 16 years of grinding through the NBA, and George Hill will take on tutoring the rookie point guards. But at the end of last season, Sacramento’s locker room was all Temple’s.

He was voted the Kings’ teammate of the year and he has built strong bonds with the young core. He’s already spent time this summer with the incoming rookie crop, which only solidifies his spot as a team leader.

Dave Joerger will ask Temple to play both wing positions, but his natural spot on the floor is at the two. Buddy Hield finished the season manning the position, with Temple sliding to the three, but the Kings have more options coming into the 2017-18 campaign.

Bogdanovic adds an interesting wrinkle to the competition. The Serbian sharpshooter is very popular with the Kings front office. At 25, he comes into the league with an advanced offensive game and ready to play.

The Kings are trying to build a winning culture and the competition for playing time will be fierce at almost every spot on the floor. At some point during the season, either Hield or Bogdanovic might force Joerger’s hand. It’s also possible that Joerger will need Temple to shift over and steal minutes at the three.

Regardless of position, expect Temple to play substantial minutes this season. You can also guarantee that he will be one of the strongest voices in a locker room filled with inexperienced players.

Carter passes Ewing on all-time scoring list


Carter passes Ewing on all-time scoring list

SACRAMENTO -- Moving on up. Vince Carter came into Monday evening’s matchup against the Detroit Pistons needing just five points to surpass Patrick Ewing for 22nd place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. He got that and a little more.

Carter, 41, picked off a Pistons pass in the second quarter and hammered down a breakaway dunk to score his first two points of the evening. He knocked down a jumper in the lane before halftime to get within one point of Ewing and then moved ahead of the 7-footer with a 3-pointer in the third quarter.

The 20-year NBA veteran now sits at 24,817 points. He is 375 points behind the great Jerry West’s 25,192, who currently sits in 21st place on the all-time list.

Joerger faces tough decision with Bogdanovic out vs Pistons


Joerger faces tough decision with Bogdanovic out vs Pistons

SACRAMENTO -- It’s time for some home cooking. The Sacramento Kings open a six-game homestand Monday night at Golden 1 Center. They’ll host a struggling Detroit Pistons team that has lost three straight and seven of their last eight.

The Kings battled the Utah Jazz all the way down the wire Saturday evening at Vivint Smart Home Arena, before falling in the final minute. Buddy Hield put up 20-plus points for his third straight game to lead Sacramento.

Detroit looked like a playoff team for much of the season and then the wheels fell off their bus. They have plenty of talent, but so far, they are struggling to find chemistry since acquiring All-Star Blake Griffin at the deadline.

Pistons by 3.5

Skal Labissiere vs. Blake Griffin -- The Kings have struggled to contain Griffin throughout his career. Whether he starts or not, second-year big Skal Labissiere is likely to see plenty of time against the high-scoring power forward. Labissiere is averaging 11.6 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 27 minutes a game in March. He needs to move his feet and avoid foul trouble against Griffin.

Kings: 23-48, fourth place in Pacific

Pistons: 30-39, fourth place in Central

Kings: SG Bogdan Bogdanovic (left hamstring soreness) out, SG/SF Iman Shumpert (knee rehab/plantar fasciitis) out, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out for the season.

Pistons: PG Reggie Jackson (ankle) out, PF Jon Leuer (ankle) out.

Decisions, Decisions -- With Bogdanovic out for the evening, Dave Joerger has a tough choice to make. Does he elevate Hield into the starting lineup and disrupt his bench unit? Or does he start veteran Garrett Temple alongside De’Aaron Fox. Hield has earned a look with the starters, but he’s on fire with the second team.

Keep Fighting -- Plenty of fans want the Kings to lay down and preserve their spot in the NBA’s Draft Lottery. The Kings are trying to build a winning culture around a group of young players. They are developing an identity as the season heads towards its conclusion and there is no reason to let up.

Shoot the 3-ball -- The Kings trail only the Golden State Warriors in 3-point percentage. They hit 14-of-21 from behind the arc against the Jazz, but that’s not enough. The goal should be 30 threes per game from here on out. The team has the shooters, they just need to hoist it up more often.

The Pistons lead the season series 1-0 and are looking for the sweep. Detroit holds a 134-119 advantage over the Kings all-time and a 37-26 edge during the Sacramento-era.