Kings

Kings player profile: Can Dewayne Dedmon stay healthy enough to contribute?

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Kings player profile: Can Dewayne Dedmon stay healthy enough to contribute?

Continuity is big in the NBA, but Dedmon brings a very specific skill set that should help the Kings, and more specifically, Bagley, take another step forward. He can do a lot of what Cauley-Stein brought to the table, but his ability to shoot from the perimeter and defend the rim are major upgrades at the position.

He’s also a veteran player that’s been around the block and can provide another mature voice behind the scenes.

Strengths

A late bloomer, Dedmon has progressively gotten better in each of his six seasons in the NBA. He’s bounced around the league, but he’s hopefully found a home on the Kings’ frontline, at least for the next two or three years. 

Dedmon shot just one 3-point attempt through his first four seasons in the league and then Atlanta happened. It started under coach Mike Budenholzer and then continued when Lloyd Pierce took over the Hawks.

During the 2017-18 season, Dedmon shot 35.5 percent on 2.3 3-point attempts per game. Those numbers jumped to 38.2 percent on 3.4 attempts per game last season, which is a big reason why the Kings chased him in free agency.

When Dedmon isn’t shooting from the perimeter, he is typically used as the lob man in the pick-n-roll. He shot 70.1 percent at the rim on 129 makes. 104 of those conversions were assisted. 

As a rebounder, Dedmon has posted seasons where he is an elite defensive rebounder, finishing with 30.6 percent, 28.1 percent and 25 percent over the last three seasons. The development of Jon Collins last season likely caused a dip in his numbers, but there is potential for him to be one of the Kings’ best rebounders per minute once the season starts, specifically on the defensive end.

His offensive rebounding numbers have fallen off a cliff over the past two seasons, but that is directly correlated with his increase in 3-point attempts. On the offensive end, he will be asked to camp in the corner on plenty of sets, which will help space the floor for both De’Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley.

On the defensive side of the ball, Dedmon is active. His 1.1 blocks per game would have led the Kings last season and his 1.1 steals per game is .1 less than what Cauley-Stein averaged. He held his opponents to a -1 percent field goal percent overall, including -1.5 percent from 3-point range and -5 percent inside of six feet.

Weaknesses

Dedmon has struggled to stay healthy over the last two seasons, missing 20 games in 2017-18 and 18 during last season. He’s a young 30 as far as games played, posting just 350 regular-season games, including 176 starts, but he needs to stay on the court.

He’s limited in what he does, but that might not be a bad thing. The Kings don’t plan to run the offense through him and there is a possibility that he will see an increase in 3-point attempts while starting on the frontline with Bagley. 

The Kings need Dedmon to get back to the player that posted +30 percent defensive rebounding percentages. With Bagley hitting the break as a rim runner, there will be opportunities for him that he may not have had in Atlanta. He needs to be a force on the defensive glass. 

Dedmon shot a sparkling 81.4 percent from the free-throw line, but he made it to the stripe just 113 times. He’s not a focal point of the offense, but drawing and playing through contact is important, especially when he has the ability to knock down freebies at such a high clip.

Sacramento needs its new center to be a rim protector. His 1.1 blocks per game were a career-best and the Kings need that number and maybe a little more this season.

Path to Improvement

Shoot the 3-ball. Stay healthy. Block shots. Crush the glass. 

The Kings aren’t trying to invent the wheel when it comes to Dedmon. They chased him in free agency because he is a perfect fit next to Bagley. 

His path to improvement is to do more of what he already does. He doesn’t need to learn any new tricks. If he can average one more 3-point and free throw attempts per game, hit the defensive glass hard and play goalkeeper, the Kings spent their money on the right guy. 

Playing closer to 75 games would be an added bonus.

Projection

Dedmon is going to start the season as the starter, but there are plenty of young bodies ready to steal his minutes. He’ll likely split time with Harry Giles early in the season, but Richaun Holmes is part of the equation as well.

[RELATED: Is Bagley ready to take leap in sophomore season?]

An early prediction has Dedmon averaging 10 points, eight rebounds, a block and a steal in 24 minutes per game. He’ll shoot plenty of triples and be asked to do the dirty work. 

If he stumbles, the Kings have replacements in the pipeline. If those young options don’t show the type of improvement the team needs to see, Dedmon could be asked to play closer to 30 minutes per game. 

How Tracy McGrady credits Kings' Doug Christie for success as rookie

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How Tracy McGrady credits Kings' Doug Christie for success as rookie

Tracy McGrady leaves behind an illustrious 14-season career with accolades including seven NBA All-Star and seven All-NBA selections, a two-time scoring champion as well as a Hall of Fame induction.

McGrady turned 41 on Sunday which was the perfect time to take a trip down memory lane to when he was just a rookie. He talked about how Kings legend Doug Christie played an instrumental role during the infancy of his run.

During a recent interview on “All the Smoke,” McGrady said a big part of his hot start as a rookie with the Toronto Raptors was all thanks in part of the matchups he had with former teammate Christie.

“I love Doug,” McGrady said. “I played Doug on one-on-one every day -- we were just going at each other -- and that’s how I was working on my one-on-one game and building my confidence up because I know he was a great defender, he was a hell of a defender.”

He was.

Christie earned three All-Defensive Second Team honors and was part of the First Team in 2003. McGrady was also one of the most difficult guys to cover -- he owes part of that to Christie. 

He's part of many who recently shouted him out.

[RELATED: Mike Bibby describes tenure with Kings as best time of his life]

For McGrady, he knew going up against one of the best in the game, he would be able to handle anything.

Appears that worked out beautifully. 

[PURPLE TALK PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Why Mike Bibby describes playing with Kings as best time of his life

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Why Mike Bibby describes playing with Kings as best time of his life

The Kings’ Mike Bibby era was iconic. 

His seven-season run with players like Chris Webber never will be forgotten for all the success Sacramento saw on the court.

Bibby sat down with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith and talked about his run with Sacramento -- a fit that was comfortable for Bibby right away. Even though trading for him meant bidding farewell to Jason Williams, a guy Kings fans were in love with. 

“The guys treated me like I was there for five, six, seven years," Bibby said. "I got there and Jason Williams was a prized possession in Sacramento and when I got traded for him, I just wanted to fit in, I didn’t know if the fans would like me or if the team would like me.

"In my first year we had the best record in the West. I had the best time of my life and my career playing in Sacramento with those guys. I think Sacramento is the best team I played on.”

Bibby detailed the trade, along with the special relationship he and Webber had throughout that stretch and how selfless the Kings were. It didn’t matter who scored, they were a strong team and wanted to win.

“That’s the way basketball is supposed to be played,” Bibby said. “That was the best time of my life -- being in Sacramento.”

[RELATED: Karl Malone admits Webber had more talent than him]

That was a time where the Kings gave the two-time defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers a run for their money. The Kings skated through the first two rounds of the playoffs, defeating the Utah Jazz and the Dallas Mavericks. That was all in Bibby’s first season. 

Across those seven seasons with the Kings, Bibby averaged 17.6 points and  3.2 rebounds per game. 

[PURPLE TALK PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]