As Wizards still benefit from his leadership, Temple hopes to mold Kings

As Wizards still benefit from his leadership, Temple hopes to mold Kings

SACRAMENTO -- The NBA world is much smaller than one would think. Teams roll into a new city prepping for a game, but also looking forward to seeing old faces. For many of the Washington Wizards, a trip to Sacramento isn’t just another road game, it’s a chance to catch up with veteran wing Garrett Temple. 

Temple left the Wizards over the summer, signing a three-year, $24 million deal in Sacramento. The journeyman out of LSU more than doubled his career earnings in his first season with Sacramento, and for the first time in his seven seasons in the league, he has long-term stability. But that doesn’t mean that leaving was easy.  

“This organization gave me a chance to get back in the league,” Temple said of the Wizards. “Because of that, I’ve been able to prolong my career. I have nothing but respect for them, nothing but positive things to say about them.”

Known for his locker room presence and tireless work ethic, Temple left Washington after four seasons. For many of the Wizards players, he was a mentor and a big brother. 

“I was mad that we didn’t get to sign him back,” Wizards guard Bradley Beal told CSN California. “I’m still a little salty about it sometimes. That’s a great friend, that’s somebody you always want in your locker room. You always want a guy like that who bonds well with everybody, who’s a leader, who is vocal, leads by example, works hard and is a true professional both on and off the floor.” 

Beal came to Washington as the third overall selection in the 2012 NBA Draft. He’s never known the hardship of working his way into the league like Temple, but the two bonded over plenty of things, including their faith. 

“He made my life easy,” Beal said. “He helped me out a lot. That’s my brother to this day.”

Beal wasn’t the only young player to come through DC while Temple was on the roster. Another top three selection, small forward Otto Porter joined the Wizards via the 2013 NBA Draft. Like Beal, Temple instantly filled the role of mentor. 

“Great guy overall, not just a great locker room guy,” Otto Porter said. “He was with me for three years and I learned from him how to be a professional, how to show up for work. Just his dedication to the game. His story is unbelievable - a guy getting cut and sticking with it. Just an unbelievable guy.”

Temple found himself bouncing in and out of the league as a young player, signing five different 10-day contracts and even playing in Italy before sticking in Washington. It was a journey and he kept an open mind to the experience every step of the way.

“I was blessed to be able to be on a lot of different teams, a lot of different organizations - some good, some not and I was able to pull from the ones that were good and I try to bring that knowledge to every team I go to,” Temple said. 

His perseverance is something that stands out when addressing young players. Temple fought for his place in the NBA world and you can’t do that without having a passion for the sport. 

“He loves the game,” Porter added. “He’s the type of guy that takes care of you and shows you the ropes. They’re lucky to have him in the locker room and in the organization. He’s a great person overall.”

Sacramento brought Temple in for his versatility on the floor, but also for his leadership behind the scenes. Voted the Teammate of the Year last season with the Wizards, the 30-year-old Temple is part of a veteran core taxed with bringing along the Kings' young players, which includes four first-round selections from the 2016 NBA Draft. 

Temple has seen young players come into the league as high picks and he’s been there as they take time develop. He couldn’t be more proud of the men and players that both Beal and Porter have become and he hopes to bring that same mentorship to Sacramento. 

“I really want to leave my mark on this organization as being a guy that can help mold people into being the right type of pro,” Temple said. “Hopefully I’ve started doing that.”

Temple credits his parents for giving him the work ethic and guidance along the way. He also will tell you that his faith has helped steer his path, but there was one stop in his NBA journey that set the standard for how to he approaches the game.

Following a very brief stop with the Kings during the 2009-10 season, Temple signed a 10-day contract with the Spurs and then inked a deal to play out the final month of the season in San Antonio. He was with the team coming into the 2010-11 season, but played just three games before being waived. 

In total, Temple played just 16 games for the Spurs over two seasons, but his experience made a tremendous impression.

“You see Tim Duncan getting in his routine everyday before shootaround, before practice, no matter what,” Temple said of his time in San Antonio. “You see Tony (Parker) and Manu (Ginobili) getting their work in. You see the way Pop (Gregg Popovich) coaches and keeps people accountable. From the top down - from the owner to the towel person, everybody is held accountable, everybody is doing their job.”

Sacramento will rely heavily on Temple and other veterans on the team to help usher in a new crop of young players. Between Willie Cauley-Stein and the four 2016 first round selections on the roster, the Kings have plenty of youth. It will get even crazier this summer when the team will potentially add two more first-round selections, an early second-round selection and possibly add Serbian wing Bogdan Bogdanovic to the roster. 

The Kings have made plenty of mistakes in free agency over the years, but Temple isn’t one of them. His versatility on the court is welcomed, but his leadership off the floor is a necessity as the franchise begins to rebuild from the ground up.


Kings notes: De'Aaron Fox's turnovers sting in road loss to Grizzlies

Kings notes: De'Aaron Fox's turnovers sting in road loss to Grizzlies

Welcome to the Western Conference. Almost every night you step on the court, there is a seasoned team waiting to give you a fight and, on plenty of nights, hand you a loss.

The Sacramento Kings gave the Memphis Grizzlies a run for their money Friday night at FedEx Forum, but in the end, the veteran team forced the style of play to come away with the 112-104 win.

Here are six notes as the Kings slipped to 4-4 on the road and 8-7 overall on the season.

Fox fumbles

De’Aaron Fox was the Kings’ star of the night, but he struggled with turnovers. The 20-year-old point guard gave the ball away six times overall, but three of those mistakes came in the fourth quarter while Sacramento was trying to rally.

These nights happen. Fox still managed to score 23 points and shoot 8 of 17 from the field while handing out 10 assists and grabbing four rebounds. This was Fox’s fourth double-double on the season and the eighth time he has scored 20 points or more in a game.

The Minus Touch

Some nights the stats aren’t kind. On paper, Buddy Hield didn’t have a bad night, unless you glance at the plus/minus category.

Hield scored 16 points, shot 6 of 12 from the field, and had three assists, four rebounds and two steals in 28 minutes of play. But he also posted a team-worse -23 in plus/minus.

Finding his game

Bogdan Bogdanovic continues to fight his way through the medical staff's minutes restriction. He played 24 minutes in Memphis, finishing with 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting, 2 of 4 from long range.

As of Monday, the second-year wing planned on playing both games of the back-to-back, which would be a huge step in his return from knee issues.

Breaking the Shump slump

Known more for his defensive prowess, veteran Iman Shumpert has scored in double figures only once over his last previous eight games. Against the Grizz, he let it fly, hitting 3 of 6 from deep on his way to 12 points before fouling out.

The Kings have plenty of other scorers to rely on, but it’s nice to get some production from the small forward position on occasion.

Out-muscled on the blocks

Marc Gasol and Jaren Jackson did major damage against Willie Cauley-Stein, Nemanja Bjelica, Marvin Bagley and Harry Giles. The Memphis duo torched Sacramento’s front line for a combined 46 points and 21 rebounds in the Grizzlies' win.

As a group, the Kings' bigs need to figure out how to slow teams that play with their back to the basket.

No-action Jackson

After averaging 22.2 minutes over the Kings’ first 14 games, Justin Jackson drew the dreaded “Did Not Play -- Coach’s Decision” against the Grizzlies.

Jackson has struggled with his consistency all season, and with Bogdanovic back in the rotation, minutes are getting tighter at the two and the three. Troy Williams ate any extra time that might have gone Jackson’s way, finishing with eight points and eight rebounds in 19 minutes of action.


Kings' turnovers, late-game execution costly in loss to Grizzlies

Kings' turnovers, late-game execution costly in loss to Grizzlies

The NBA is about making adjustments. Early in the season, teams have struggled to figure out the Kings and their frenetic pace, but the Memphis Grizzlies had a game plan and forced Sacramento into plenty of mistakes in their 112-104 win Friday night.

It was a game of contrasting styles. Memphis came into the night last in pace in the NBA, while the Kings ranked first, leading the league at 105.3 possessions per 48 minutes. 

“You know how they’re going to play, you try to speed them up,” Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox told reporters in Memphis following the game. “You might be able to speed them up for a three- or four-minute stretch, but they’re going to do what they’re going to do. They’re going to slow the ball down, they’re going to get into their sets and they’re going to execute.”

After losing in Sacramento three weeks ago, the Grizzlies forced the Kings into a methodical game, and the Kings struggled. They forced the action on too many occasions and were careless with the ball.

“They were locked in, they were physical, they got into us,” Kings coach Dave Joerger said of the Grizzlies. “They forced 21 turnovers. That’s just way, way too many for us.”

Turnovers were the stat of the night, especially late in the game. Fox led the team with six mistakes, but he wasn’t the only one to give it up. The Kings finished the night with 21 turnovers, including five in the fourth quarter when the game was on the line.

“It’s hard playing against a team like that,” Fox said. “They play so slow. They get what they want, they get where they want. I just think turnovers hurt us.”

The Kings had plenty of chances. After trailing 87-78 going to the fourth, Sacramento pulled within three points with just under two minutes remaining. But the Grizzlies' experience showed, and they found a way to stem the tide.

“That’s a veteran team, they’ve been through it all,” Fox said. “We’d make a run, and they answered the run pretty well. We gave ourselves a chance to win, and then shot ourselves in the foot with turnovers.”

While Fox struggled to hold onto the ball, he still led the Kings with 23 points, 10 assists and four rebounds. 

[RELATED: De'Aaron Fox shares reason behind improved 3-point shooting]

Buddy Hield added 16 points, but he played fewer than two minutes in the fourth quarter. Following the game, Hield told reporters he didn’t know why.

It’s a long season, but Sacramento is in most contests. While no one likes losing, this appeared to have gotten under the skin of the young Kings.

“We had the game right in our hands, that’s what the game presents to you sometimes,” Hield said. “But it is what it is. You've got to suck it up and move on. This is the NBA.”

The Kings need to have a short memory. They will return to the court on the second night of a back-to-back Saturday in Houston against the Rockets. It’s another opportunity for a win, and another chance for the Kings to show they can compete with the league’s best.