What a difference a year makes. Yogi Ferrell was a late addition to the 2018-19 roster and looked like a perfect fit in the Kings’ new uptempo style. He struggled to beat out Frank Mason for the backup job behind De’Aaron Fox, but eventually found a spot in former coach Dave Joerger’s rotation. That isn’t likely to be the case this year.
The Kings made a move to improve the reserve point guard position in free agency when they added Cory Joseph on a big 3-year deal. Ferrell is now in limbo.
General manager Vlade Divac decided to pick up Ferrell’s second-year option at $3.2 million, but there are no promises he’ll see a lot of court time this season with both Fox and Joseph ready to play major minutes.
Whether he plays or is nothing more than an insurance policy is up to new head coach Luke Walton.
Ferrell has dynamic scoring potential off the bench. He’s quick and likes to push the tempo. He’s also a player that brings energy and gets the crowd involved in the game.
He shot a career-best 43.5 percent from the field, although his 36.2 percent from long distance was the worst mark through his first three NBA seasons.
Inside the 3-point line, Ferrell flourished. He shot 58 percent at the rim, 42.1 percent from 3-10 feet, 42.3 percent from 10-16 feet and 47.7 percent from 16 to the 3-point line. Those are all very passable numbers.
In addition to quality marks from inside the arc, Ferrell shot a team-best 89.6 percent from the free-throw line, although he shot just 67 freebies on the season.
While he didn’t rack up the assists, Ferrell still managed a 1.9-to-.6 assist-to-turnover ratio and his assist percentage of 17 percent was fourth-best on the team.
Ferrell could improve on his 3-point shooting, but he has a proven track record of being a solid perimeter marksman. He had a slight dip in numbers, but he also struggled to get consistent playing time.
For a reserve point guard, the 1.9 assists in 15 minutes per game is low. He didn’t have the ball in his hands on every possession -- especially when he played alongside Bogdan Bogdanovic -- but the ball got sticky at times.
Ferrell can be a pesky defender, but he lacks elite size. He posted .6 steals per game, which equates to 1.2 per 36 minutes. That number works, but he’s susceptible to post-ups and bigger guards shooting over the top of him.
Path to Improvement
Despite his limited role last season, Ferrell put up efficient scoring numbers from almost every spot on the floor. The one area he could improve at was from long range, but even his dip in production there was likely due to inconsistent playing time.
When he gets a chance, the Kings need him to attack on offense and get the crowd involved. He’ll also need to quickly adjust to the team’s new switching defense, which could further complicate his ability to stay on the court.
He’s lost in a numbers game. Fox is going to play major minutes as the starter and Joseph is one of the best perimeter defenders in the league. That means that Ferrell needs to stay ready and take advantage of every opportunity.
This is a tough one. Ferrell became a fan favorite in his first season in Sacramento. He has a penchant for scoring in bunches and there were multiple occasions when he helped make games interesting.
While he carved out a niche as an energizer off the bench, Ferrell is likely on the outside looking in when the season begins. Fox is going to play major minutes and the team spent $37 million on Cory Joseph to back him up.
Ferrell is more of a combo guard than a true point, but the Kings are deep at the two as well. Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic are already in a fight for minutes that will spill into the small forward position.
The Kings are deep and at this point, Ferrell is a fifth guard with major minute eaters in front of him. Barring a major injury or a midseason trade, there is a good chance he is going to struggle to get on the court.