SACRAMENTO -- De’Aaron Fox, and?
What is the Kings' plan for the reserve point guard position this season? Last year, it was a point of contention between head coach Dave Joerger and the front office.
Joerger wanted a true veteran point guard that could handle the offense when Fox went to the bench. The team acquired Alec Burks at the deadline, but he didn’t really work out for the team in his brief opportunity.
After averaging 31.4 minutes per game last season, Fox is expected to play even more next season. What does that leave for a backup point guard?
Not much. Whoever takes the job is going to have to make an impact with very little opportunity.
The Kings have three options in house and added another two during the draft, but there still isn’t a true floor general on the roster outside of Fox.
According to a league source, the team is willing to walk into the season with the group they had last year, but they’ll look at other options during the first few days of free agency before making a final decision.
Bogdan Bogdanovic is a playmaker, but he’s more of a shooting guard or small forward than a natural point guard. He’ll eat minutes at the position, but the team would be better with him playing on the wing.
Yogi Ferrell is an option as well and he’s affordable. The team has a $3.2 million option on the 26-year-old, which they have until July 4 to exercise. The fourth-year guard is more of an undersized two than a point, which was one of Joerger’s concerns last season. He can be a defensive liability and the team needs an offensive hub to run the ball through when he’s on the floor.
Frank Mason is in a similar boat. While more of a point, he is undersized and struggled to make an impact when given a shot last year. After lighting it up from long range in college and putting up solid numbers during his rookie campaign, Mason struggled mightily from deep last season. Sacramento has until Oct. 15 to guarantee Mason’s contract for the upcoming season. He’s only due $1.6 million, so he’s an affordable option. He’ll likely get a shot to run the team in summer league and prove that he’s ready to contribute.
Vlade Divac and his team added a pair of guards in the second round, but they are inexperienced and neither is a perfect fit.
Justin James is a 6-foot-7 combo guard who ran the show at Wyoming. Kyle Guy is a big-time shooter, but not much of a distributor. They both were second-round selections, which means that they are on budget deals that likely are non-guaranteed this season. The team could use one or both of their two-way contracts on the pair and bounce them back and forth between their G-League affiliate in Stockton. They also could lock them down with three-year contracts with team options and see how they develop.
None of these options is a perfect solution. Then again, the combination of three or four of these players might work.
If Divac doesn’t fall in love with someone new in the opening days of free agency, he might have to rely on a back-up point guard by committee approach and reassess his options next summer if it doesn’t work out.
There is talent at the position, but new head coach Luke Walton is going to need someone to step up and earn the minutes quickly or Fox will have to play even more than expected.