Kings

Patience needed for young and inexperienced Kings

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AP

Patience needed for young and inexperienced Kings

The Sacramento Kings are attempting to do something rarely seen in the NBA. They’ve paired four first round selections from the 2016 NBA Draft with another five rookies for the 2017-18 season. They’ll open the season with nine players with one year of NBA experience or less and three others with two years in the league or fewer if you include two-way contracts.

Veterans Vince Carter (40), Zach Randolph (36), George Hill (31), Garrett Temple (31) and Kosta Koufos (28) push the average age of the Kings to 26.1. According to RealGM, they’ll enter the 2017-18 season tied for the 15th youngest roster in the league.

If you remove the veterans, the Kings youthful core averages less than 22 years of age. But age doesn’t tell the entire story.

Entering his third NBA season, Willie Cauley-Stein has seen action in 141 of a possible 164 games. On the current roster, he might as well get lumped in with the veterans.

Buddy Hield donned a Kings uniform for 25 games last season after coming over in a midseason trade from the New Orleans Pelicans. He played 82 games in total between the two clubs, which is five more combined contests than his fellow 2016 draft mates Skal Labissiere (33 games), Georgios Papagiannis (22 games) and Malachi Richardson (22 games) played in.

Sacramento selected three first rounders in the 2017 NBA Draft, including De’Aaron Fox, Justin Jackson and Harry Giles. They also landed point guard Frank Mason III with an early second round pick and convinced 25-year-old former first rounder Bogdan Bogdanovic to leave the European game behind and join the club.

Without bringing two-way players Jack Cooley (16 games) and JaKarr Sampson (147 games) into the discussion, the Kings have a major experience issue. They’ll walk into the season with 10 players having a combined 300 games of NBA experience and 223 of those games were played by Cauley-Stein and Hield.  

Sacramento’s veteran group has appeared in 3718 regular season contests. Dave Joerger will have no choice but to turn to the group for plenty of minutes as the Kings’ young players learn on the fly.

Patience is necessary. Vlade Divac and his team have assembled a lot of talent, but they will need time to develop. Joerger has a strong staff in place, including Elston Turner, Bryan Gates, Duane Ticknor, Bob Thornton, Jason March and Larry Lewis. Phil Ricci was also added to the staff as a player development coach this season with the influx of young players.

Even with an expanded staff, there is no way Joerger can fit all 10 of his youngsters into the rotation. They’ll need playing time to develop and there is a good chance that some of these freshman and sophomore players will spend time with Darrick Martin and the Reno Bighorns.  

NBA Draft Prospect Profile: Michael Porter Jr.

NBA Draft Prospect Profile: Michael Porter Jr.

Michael Porter Jr. - Small Forward - Missouri - Freshman

Age: 19 Height: 6-foot-10.75 Weight: 211

Stats: 10.0 points, 6.7 rebounds, .3 assists, 1.0 steals, .3 blocks, 30.0% 3-point

Player Comparison: Danilo Gallinari, Tracy McGrady

Strengths

Porter is an incredibly gifted scorer that projects as a legitimate number one option at the NBA level. His handles need some work, but he can take opponents off the dribble, rise above defenders in the mid-range and shoot from deep. He’s also a solid rebounder for his position and has the size and athleticism to be an adequate defender.

Weaknesses

Porter underwent back surgery after just two minutes of play during his freshman year at Missouri. He returned late in the season, but was limited to just 53 minutes of play for the Tigers. His shot selection will need work and he weighed in at just 211 pounds at the combine. He’ll need to get stronger and work the kinks out with his back issues if he hopes to fulfill his enormous potential.

Fit

If it wasn’t for the back issues, Porter would be the perfect addition for the Kings. He could start at the small forward position and slide over and player stretch four for stints. Sacramento could use a pure scorer like Porter, but health is a big concern.

Chance of going No. 2

Sacramento would love to take the gamble on Porter, but they’re going to need a clean bill of health. They attended his evaluation day last Friday, which reportedly went well. But with other options on the table, they are going to need assurances that the herniated discs issue was a one time thing.

19-year-old Luka Doncic wants a date with a Friend and...a tiger?

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AP

19-year-old Luka Doncic wants a date with a Friend and...a tiger?

In Europe, Luka Doncic is a star. It appears he would like to be one in the United States as well.

Fresh off a EuroLeague championship, as well as league and Finals MVP honors, the 19-year-old Slovenian-born wing showed a different side of himself in a video made by the folks over at Bleacher Report.

In an interview with Howard Beck, Doncic made a few of his wishes known, including his want for a signature shoe, a date with Jennifer Aniston and the future purchase of...a tiger?

"I just like tigers. I said if I go to U.S., I will buy a tiger—like Mike Tyson," Doncic told Beck.

Sacramento has Doncic on a short list of prospects they are considering with the second overall selection. He has high aspirations, both on and off the court.

It’s hard not to like the confidence and moxie of this prospect. Will he be a King come Thursday evening?