Kings

Temple clarifies fiery comments and sends another message, too

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USATSI

Temple clarifies fiery comments and sends another message, too

SACRAMENTO -- The Kings knew what they were getting when they signed Garrett Temple in the summer of 2016. They needed versatility and they needed a leader. Temple hasn’t disappointed. 

In his second season in Sacramento, the 31-year-old wing continues to bring his lunch pail to work every day. He starts most nights for Dave Joerger and he is unquestionably the team’s best defensive player. 

Following the Kings’ loss Tuesday evening to the Charlotte Hornets, Temple sounded off to reporters from his locker room stall. 

“We don’t guard a soul, haven’t defended a soul,” a clearly frustrated Garrett Temple said. “If you don’t guard in the NBA, you’re going to lose every game, I don’t care who you play. We haven’t defended whatsoever, at all, point blank.”

It’s a powerful sound bite. If it didn’t come from Temple, it might even be looked at as divisive. But this is why the Kings brought in the journeyman out of LSU.

Following practice on Wednesday, Temple took time to further explain his stance regarding the Kings defensive issues. It’s a complex issue and the fix will take time.

“We should be upset because of the performances defensively we’ve put out the last three or four games,” Temple said. “Especially after we had made some strides to be a better defensive team over the last month and a half. We’ve taken steps back and we have to correct that.”

Temple takes great pride in his defense. He’s often taxed with guarding the toughest cover. Against the Cavs, he went toe-to-toe with LeBron James. Two nights later, he lined up against sharpshooter Devin Booker. When the Kings give up 111, 114 and 133 points over a three-game stretch, there is a problem.

“If you’re not upset about it right now, that means you don’t really care,” Temple added. “We don’t want that.”

According to Temple, the Kings had a long film session on Wednesday, followed by an open conversation between players and coaches. The team has a three-day break in the schedule to try and work out some of these issues, but it’s a tall task.

Defensive breakdowns can be a symptom of many things. Effort and intensity often draw the blame, but when you look at Sacramento’s roster, a lot of the issues stem from a lack of NBA experience and maybe something more. 

Temple points to the team’s communication issues on the floor and to one group in particular.

“The biggest thing is the communication issue and I think a lot of the time, it’s the young guys that aren’t communicating, because they’re young,” Temple said. “Situations that happen over the course of a game and you watch film and guys say, ‘I didn’t know.’ You’re not supposed to know, you just got to the NBA or you’ve just been here for a year and a half.”

“Those are the growing pains you have to go through, but you can’t make the same mistake 2-3-4-5 times,” Temple said. “That’s when it becomes being a professional - understanding what you’re supposed to do now after you made a mistake a couple of times and then fixing it.”

It isn’t just the Kings roster that Temple is pointing to. It’s more of a societal issue. In the current digital age, verbal communication has been replaced in many instances with text, video and pictures. People as a whole aren’t talking to each other like they used to, at least not in the conventional way. 

And when you stack 10 players on a roster under the age of 25, the issues with a lack of communication are exacerbated. 

“I’m a millennial, but it seems like we don’t talk at all anymore,” Temple said. “That translates to the court. We don’t talk at all. Coaches are losing their voices trying to yell out coverages and yell out things that guys on the court are supposed to be saying. That takes a toll. Guys have to learn how to communicate and use their voices more on the court, which in essence will help guys trust each other more on the defensive end.”

It’s an interesting take and it makes sense. Sacramento is trying something extreme with their roster makeover. They went in a new direction with their franchise and growing pains are expected. 

The team may have isolated one of their biggest problems. Now they need to find an answer. Veterans like Garrett Temple might hold the key to fixing the issue. It might be time to put the devices down and start having some real one on one conversations. 

Hill to the Cavs? The best and biggest deal for the Kings is...

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USATSI

Hill to the Cavs? The best and biggest deal for the Kings is...

Is the George Hill era in Sacramento coming to and end? According to Shams Charania, the Kings might have an interested party in the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Hill signed a massive three-year, $57 million deal with Sacramento over the summer, but has yet to live up to the contract. Through 37 games, Hill is posting 10.5 points and 2.7 assists per game for Sacramento. Those numbers are down from 16.9 points and 4.2 assists he averaged last season as a member of the Utah Jazz.

If a deal between the two teams is going to happen, it might be more complex than just shipping the 31-year-old to Cleveland on the next flight. Here is a look at a couple of possibilities without going into potential 3-way deals.

BEST DEAL FOR KINGS

Kings receive: Jae Crowder (3-years, $22 million), Iman Shumpert (2-year, $21.4 million - year-two a player option at $11 million)

Cavs receive: George Hill (3-year, $57 million), Malachi Richardson (2-year, $3 million with team option for third year)

Why Kings make deal: They land a very serviceable forward that instantly fills the team’s biggest need. At 27-years-old, Crowder is affordable and under contract for another two seasons, although he’s really struggled in his first season in Cleveland. Shumpert is coming off an injury and would likely opt out of his final year.

Why Cavs make deal: Hill instantly improves their backcourt. He can play the one of the two either as a starter or off the bench. Giving up tow wings might not be the best option, but Sacramento is going to want something of value back. Richardson is thrown into the deal to make salaries match.

BEST DEAL FOR CAVS

Kings receive: Channing Frye (1-year, $7.4 million) Iman Shumpert (2-year, $21.4 million - 2018-19 contract a player option at $11 million)

Cavs Receive: George Hill (3-year, $57 million), Malachi Richardson (2-year, $3 million with team option for third year)

Why Kings make deal: Kings give up an asset in Richardson, but they shed Hill’s $19 million owed for 2018-19 season. If Shumpert opts in, the Kings still save $8 million off the books for next season.

Why Cavs make deal: Basically, they land Hill for a couple of spare parts. Richardson is

BIG DEAL

Kings receive: Jae Crowder (3-years, $22 million), Channing Frye (1-year, $7.4 million) Iman Shumpert (2-year, $21.4 million - 2018-19 contract a player option at $11 million)

Cavs receive: George Hill (3-year, $57 million), Kosta Koufos (2-year, $17 million with player option for second year), Malachi Richardson (2-year, $3 million with team option for third year)

Why Kings make deal: They land Crowder and a get out of jail free card on Hill’s contract. Koufos can opt out of his deal at the end of the season and the Kings get nothing. Throwing in Richardson isn’t ideal, but the Kings are deep at the two and they have to match roster spots.

Why Cavs make deal: They get an upgrade in the backcourt in Hill. They are also rumored to be in the market for a big and Koufos is a much more affordable option than DeAndre Jordan.

Bogdan Bogdanovic breaks his shell early in 2018, 'he’s able to do everything'

Bogdan Bogdanovic breaks his shell early in 2018, 'he’s able to do everything'

He’s not really a rookie. After playing for years overseas, Bogdan Bogdanovic has proven very quickly that he is an NBA player. Midway through his first season in the league, the 25-year-old Serb is finding his stride. 

From the moment he stepped on the floor in Sacramento, Bogdanovic showed flashes of something special. You could see early on that he was trying to fit in and make nice with his teammates, but the honeymoon phase is over. Bogdanovic is no longer holding back.

For the third time in the new calendar year, Bogdanovic set a career-high in scoring on Wednesday evening. He dropped in 25 points on 9-of-11 shooting, including a perfect 6-of-6 from long range. 

“I’ve said it all year, he’s not really a rookie, he’s been playing pro ball for so many years,” De’Aaron Fox said of his backcourt mate. “He definitely doesn’t play like a rookie. He brings the intelligence, the savvy, the shooting - defensively, he gets after it. He’s able to do everything for us.” 

He’s pushed his season numbers up to 11.5 points, 2.8 assists and 2.7 rebounds in 26.6 minutes per game. Bogdanovic has also raised his shooting percentages drastically as the season has progressed, knocking down 48.8 percent from the field and 41.3 percent from behind the 3-point line. 

In eight games in January, Bogdanovic has taken his game to another level. He’s hit the opposition for 16.3 points, 3.8 assists and 3.5 rebounds in 30.6 minutes a game. Dave Joerger has come to rely on the former Fenerbahce star, even giving him starts in the last two games since the youth movement was officially put into motion.

“I’m working every single day as hard as I can, I’m trying to be the best version of (myself).” Bogdanovic said following the team’s loss to Utah on Wednesday.

It’s a small sample size, but Bogdanovic’s shooting numbers in 2018 are off the charts. He’s hitting 54.8 percent from the floor, a stunning 58.3 percent on the 3-ball and 92.3 percent from the line.

With All-Star weekend on the horizon, Bogdanovic has likely earned his way into an invitation for the Rising Stars Challenge. Amongst rookies, he’s currently seventh in scoring, fourth in 3-point percentage, eighth in field goal percentage and sixth in steals. 

Sacramento’s 2017-18 season is about sifting through the young players and figuring out what they have. It appears the Kings have found a keeper in Bogdanovic.