SACRAMENTO -- The season is a little over 24 hours away. NBA basketball is almost back. As of Oct. 16, the Sacramento Kings, like every other team in the league, sit at 0-0 with a clean slate and a hopeful view of the upcoming season.
Every year there are player predictions from a myriad of places around the internet. One of the most reliable sources for numerical information on the NBA comes from the site, basketball-reference.com.
This season, we took a look into their “Simple Projection System” for per 36 minute production and matched it up against the latest information collected in Sacramento. It’s an imperfect method, especially for players who are expected to play sparingly, but it’s an interesting exercise as we prepare for opening night.
2018-19 Proj: 15.5 points, 5.7 assists, 3.9 rebounds, 1.3 steals, 42.9% FG, 32.5% 3-pts
The per 36 minutes numbers are safe and closely resemble Fox’s per 36 production from his rookie season. He’s put in the work to improve and the spacing on the floor should be better with the team’s perimeter shooting improvements. Sacramento intends to push the tempo, which could bump Fox’s points and assists numbers higher than his preseason projections.
2018-19 Proj: 18.4 points, 2.7 assists, 5.5 rebounds, 1.3 steals, 44.7% FG, 42.2% 3-pts
Hield will benefit from the absence of Bogdan Bogdanovic early in the season, but he’ll likely continue to play the role of six-man throughout the year. Like Fox, Hield did his summer work and has breakout potential. His numbers are lower than expected for a scorer with his potential. If Hield can find a way to get to the free throw line for a few extra points per game, he can take a major jump in production.
2018-19 Proj: 15.4 points, 4.2 assists, 3.9 rebounds, 1.2 steals, 45.1% FG, 39.4% 3-pts
Balanced and multifaceted, Bogdanovic was the Kings MVP last season. He has the potential to take a leap forward statistically, but two knee procedures during the summer has him out for a minimum of 10 games. There is a good chance Dave Joerger runs the half court offense through Bogdanovic on plenty of possessions, giving him an opportunity for a spike in assist totals.
2018-19 Proj: 13.7 points, 4.0 assists, 3.6 rebounds, 1.1 steals, 43.0% FG, 38.1% 3-pts
Ferrell was a late addition to the squad, but he might have a big role. The Kings are going to count on Ferrell as a spark off the bench. He likely won’t see the 27.8 minutes per game he played with the Mavs last season, but in an uptempo, let it fly offense, the point projection per 36 could be a few ticks low, especially if he attempts and hits 3-pointers at the same rate he did last season.
Frank Mason III
2018-19 Proj: 15.5 points, 5.2 assists, 5.1 rebounds, 1.2 steals, 39.8% FG, 36.9% 3-pts
Mason is in a dogfight for minutes once Bogdanovic returns to action. Until then, he’ll play backup point guard minutes behind Fox. It’s possible his per 36 minute numbers match the stats above, but the sample size will be tough to analyze once the Kings are at full strength.
2018-19 Proj: 11.6 points, 2.0 assists, 4.8 rebounds, .7 steals, 45.4% FG, 32.2% 3-pts
Jackson will continue to find himself on the court, despite a lack of overall production. The predicted stats are fair, although the rebounding numbers look high. If the Kings can find another wing to compete for minutes, Jackson could struggle to meet the expectations above.
2018-19 Proj: 12.1 points, 2.4 assists, 7.1 rebounds, 1.2 steals, 44.9% FG, 38.0% 3-pts
Like Ferrell, Bjelica was a late addition in Sacramento. He’ll play a few minutes a night at the small forward position and the rest will be spent at the stretch four. He’s an interesting player. He has a high basketball IQ and he can really shoot, but he hasn’t really shown what he can do during his three years with the Timberwolves. Bjelica is consistently around the 12-point, 7-rebound mark per 36 minutes. He has potential to shoot well above 38 percent from long range and the rest of these numbers are very obtainable.
Marvin Bagley III
2018-19 Projections unavailable
The Kings are going to turn to both Bagley and Harry Giles III for major minutes this season. Through the exhibition season, Bagley performed well, posting 13 points, 6.8 rebounds and .8 assists in 24.1 minutes per game. The games get decidedly more difficult once the regular season begins, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility for Bagley to post 15.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists per 36 minutes in his rookie campaign.
Harry Giles III
2018-19 Projections unavailable
Like Bagley, we don’t have projected numbers for Giles. The redshirt rookie out of Duke showed up big in the preseason, averaging 13.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 22.1 minutes per game. He struggled early on with foul issues, which will probably pop up now and then throughout the season. Giles is active on plays with a tenacity that will likely earn him more minutes as the season progresses. He should top his raw preseason numbers on a per 36 minute basis and he has an opportunity to become an elite passing big man.
2018-19 Proj: 16.0 points, 2.7 assists, 8.9 rebounds, 1.2 blocks, 51.5% FG, 31.1% 3-pts
Cauley-Stein has a lot riding on this season. He enters the season without a contract extension and he’s playing for a huge payday. The 7-footer out of Kentucky has potential on both ends of the floor, but he’s never found consistency. With Bagley and Giles pushing for minutes and a future with the Kings, Cauley-Stein has the potential to top the predictions. He could also lose time if things go south early in the season.
2018-19 Proj: 15.9 points, 2.2 assists, 8.6 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, 47.6% FG, 36.7% 3-pts
Before the drafting of Bagley, Labissiere looked like a lock for the rotation. He worked very hard in the summer and looks great coming into the season. Unfortunately, he’s behind Bjelica, Bagley, Giles and Cauley-Stein in the big rotation. He might get an opportunity here and there, but it could be a long season for the Haitian-born big. When opportunity knocks, he has to be ready to perform.
2018-19 Proj: 14.5 points, 1.8 assists, 4.5 rebounds, 1.2 steals, 43.3% FG, 36.4% 3-pts
McLemore was on the outside looking in coming into camp and was in an uphill battle to make the roster. And then the Bogdanovic injury happened. He’s had a nice camp in his second tour of duty in Sacramento, but once the Kings are at full strength, McLemore will struggle to step on the floor. He can reach the per 36 projections, but he’ll have to do it in short bursts.
2018-19 Proj: 10.4 points, 2.3 assists, 4.7 rebounds, 1.2 steals, 40.9% FG, 34% 3-pts
Shumpert is still returning from injuries that cost him all but 14 games last season with the Cavs. He made an appearance against the Jazz and looked rusty. Joerger would love to have a defensie option at the wing. Shumpert fits the mold, but he’ll have to prove that he can string a group of practice and games together before we make any predictions on his performance this season.
2018-19 Proj: 19.7 points, 2.8 assists, 9.9 rebounds, .9 steals, 45.6% FG, 31.2% 3-pts
Z-Bo was extremely productive last season for the Kings, but it might be a one-and-down situation. The Kings are going young and they want to push the tempo. Randolph is neither young nor a speedster. He failed to make an appearance during the preseason despite being healthy. He can still score in a pinch, but it’s unlikely he’ll play much at all this season for Sacramento.
2018-19 Proj: 12.5 points, 1.9 assists, 11.1 rebounds, 1.0 blocks, 55.1% FG, 34.2% 3-pts
Koufos did the prudent thing when he opted in for $8.7 million this season and he did so understanding that his role would be diminished. In a perfect world, Joerger would pair Koufos with Bagley and allow the veteran to teach the rookie the finer nuances of playing defense at the NBA level. It’s not a perfect world and 2K is unlikely to see the court early in the season. The per 36 predictions make sense, but the sample size might be too small to make a true prediction.