With two-way player JaKarr Sampson playing big minutes for the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday evening in Cleveland, Skal Labissiere was busy destroying the Lakeland Magic’s front line in his G-League debut this season.
In a surprise move, Sacramento sent the second-year big to Reno on Tuesday to give him some extended minutes and a chance to build some confidence.
Playing against two-way player Adreian Payne, Labissiere went off for 29 points, 18 rebounds and seven blocks in 37 minutes of action. He won’t be in the G-League long if he continues this type of play.
More of a conventional power forward, Labissiere has worked tirelessly to develop his game since being taken with the 28th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. With so much information being thrown at him, the 21-year-old Haitian-born big has looked robotic at times with the Kings. There are moments where he is overthinking the game instead of reading and reacting.
Against G-League players, Labissiere looked fluid on both ends of the floor. Maybe a game or two with the Bighorns is just what the doctor ordered.
The Kings front office is making good use of their G-League affiliate in Reno. Sacramento has pulled both Sampson and Jack Cooley, the team’s two two-way players, up to the parent club on more than one occasion this season.
They have also sent Georgios Papagiannis, Malachi Richardson and Justin Jackson up to Reno for seasoning.
Papagiannis is with the Kings on the current road trip, but in six games with the Bighorns this season, he’s posted 14.2 points, 10.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 29 minutes per game.
Jackson and Richardson were sent to Reno late last week. Richardson got off to a slow start, but he’s averaging 12 points and six rebounds over three games.
Jackson dropped 26 points and six rebounds in his first game with the Bighorns and backed that up with a 24-point, seven-rebound performance in game two. But he shot 0-for-12 from the field Wednesday evening and finished with just four points.
With so many young faces on the Kings squad, don’t be shocked if they use Reno all season long as a development tool.