Analyzing the invites on the Sacramento Kings’ summer league roster

Josh Owens and Sim Bhullar during a break in action at Las Vegas Summer League. (Photo: Jason Wise)

Sixteen players make up the Sacramento Kingssummer league team. Five of them were part of the Kings’ active roster last season while one is their top pick from this year’s draft. Who are the rest of the players that the Kings have invited to be part of their Las Vegas squad? Let’s take a look.

Sim Bhullar

What’s there to like?  Start with his size first of all. Bhullar is a 7-foot-5, 360 lbs. mountain of a man. If he makes it onto an NBA roster this year, he would be the tallest active player in the league. Bhullar has a pretty good idea of how to use his size to his advantage in a couple different areas, including as a rebounder. In his last season at New Mexico State, he averaged 11.8 boards per 40 minutes. His size also makes him a pretty good rim protector.

What’s not to love?  His conditioning remains a question-mark. He probably needs to improve his fitness level in order to play successfully at an NBA pace. Bhullar doesn’t have a very refined post game and has relied mostly on his size to shoot over the top of smaller defenders. In today’s NBA, opposing teams can nullify his impact on the court by spacing the floor with a smaller lineup.

MarShon Brooks

What’s there to like?  Brooks is a fluid, 6-foot-5, 200 lbs. shooting guard, who can score in a variety of ways. The 25-year-old guard scores inside and out, possesses a nice jumper and doesn’t need the help of a teammate to create an open shot. For his career, Brooks has averaged 15.8 points per 36 minutes.

What’s not to love?  Brooks might be allergic to defense. For his career, he’s posted a defensive rating of 110 points per 100 possessions. Though he can create for himself, Brooks is not very effective when he doesn’t have the ball in his hands. He’s a good scorer, but could stand to improve his shot selection

Ra’shad James

What’s there to like?  James played this year for the Reno Bighorns, the Kings D-League affiliate, and proved that he was quite an athlete. The 6-foot-1, 195 lbs. guard became a bit of an internet sensation for having one of the top dunks of the year in the D-League. Considering his athleticism, James has upside to become a very good defender. He’s also capable of creating his own jump shot and built a reputation this past season in Reno as a hard worker. He averaged 16.4 points per 36 minutes in 47 games with the Bighorns.

What’s not to love?  At this point in his career, he’s a bit of a tweener. Before coming to Reno, he played off-the-ball in college. At 6-foot-1, that won’t cut it as a shooting guard at the NBA level. He’ll have to develop into a point guard if he hopes to have a shot at the NBA some day. James did spend time running point in Reno and made strides in that regard during his stay in the D-League.

Dwayne Jones

What’s there to like?  At 6-foot-11 and 250 lbs., Jones is a big man that’s capable of playing both power forward and center. He’s a good defender and possesses a combination of strength and hustle that make him a consummate role player. Rebounding is probably his greatest asset as a player. In 82-career NBA games, Jones has averaged 10.8 rebounds per 36 minutes.

What’s not to love?  Jones has been hanging on the fringe of the NBA for quite some time. He’s 31 years old and hasn’t played in the league since the 2009-10 season. Against lower competition at the D-League level, his strengths shine. But he just doesn’t have enough NBA-caliber skills that would inspire a coach to make him a rotational player in the league.

Brendan Lane

What’s there to like?  Lane fits the mold for a prototypical stretch four. The 6-foot-9, 235 lbs. native of Rocklin didn’t shoot the ball much in college, but used the pre-draft process to showcase his range. That caught the attention of Kings brass during his workout in Sacramento last month. He’s also a pretty good shot-blocker. Lane averaged 3.1 blocks per 40 minutes during his one season at Pepperdine.

What’s not to love?  Lane went to UCLA straight out of high school, but spent most of his time toiling on the Bruins bench. How much has he developed as a player considering he’s only enjoyed one full season of major playing time? Playing at Pepperdine was also a downgrade in competition level compared to what UCLA faced on a nightly basis in the Pac-12.

Eric Moreland

What’s there to like?  Moreland has rim protector potential. He allegedly has a 7-foot-4 wingspan and is built in a similar mold to long, rangy big men like John Henson and Brandan Wright. In his final season at Oregon State, the 6-foot-10 big man averaged roughly 2.5 blocks per 40 minutes. He moves fluidly around the court and is capable of playing above the rim.

What’s not to love?  There are questions about his focus and intensity level. He didn’t demonstrate a high level of basketball IQ during his time at Oregon State, which may put a cap on his potential. Considering he weighs only 224 lbs., Moreland needs to get bigger and stronger for the NBA.

Jake Odum

What’s there to like?  Odum is capable of playing unselfishly. During his time at Indiana State, he made plays for teammates and is certainly trying to show that he’s a true point guard at the next level. At 6-foot-4, the 23-year-old summer league invite has good height for the point guard position. There’s a little bit of Greivis Vasquez in Odum’s game.

What’s not to love?  The ISU product doesn’t have the greatest physical tools. Though he stands at 6-foot-4, his wingspan measured at just 6-foot-4.5 inches at the Portsmouth Invitational. He’ll also need to put on more weight to make it to the pro level. Odum currently weighs just 169 lbs. For a player who is trying to make it as an NBA point guard, Odum never averaged more than 6.1 assists per 40 minutes in a single season during his time at Indiana State.

Josh Owens

What’s there to like?  Owens is athletic. When he declared for the draft two summers ago, his max vert measured in at 40.8 inches at the Brooklyn Nets pre-draft combine. The 6-foot-9 forward plays the game with a high intensity level and motor. Owens is also a bright young man, having majored in economics and earned his master’s in Civil Engineering at Stanford.

What’s not to love?  He certainly has the size to play on the wing, but didn’t have the perimeter game coming out of college to do so. He attempted zero three-point attempts during his four seasons at Stanford and didn’t shoot from beyond the arc during a 2012-13 stint in the D-League. At 230 lbs., he’s more of an undersized power forward.

Alex Stepheson

What’s there to like?  Stepheson has an NBA body. The former USC big man stands at 6-foot-9 and weighs 246 lbs.  For a player his size, he moves well around the floor and doesn’t lumber down the court in transition. He’s a pretty good shot blocker, too. Playing for Olimpija Ljubljana in the Adriatic League, Stepheson averaged 2.4 blocks per 40 minutes this past season.

What’s not to love?  He doesn’t really have much of an offensive game. Stepheson seems to rely mostly on putbacks and offensive rebounds for his scoring. He’s not a great passer as well. Last season for Olimpija Ljubljana, Stepheson averaged just 0.5 assists per 40 minutes. Stepheson is also 27 years old and in the prime of his career, so it’s not likely that his game changes from here on out.

Nick Wiggins

Whats there to like?  Wiggins comes from an athletic family. His father, Mitchell, played in the NBA and was the 23rd overall pick in the 1983 draft. His mother, Marita, competed in the 1984 Summer Olympics and won two silver medals as a sprinter. His brother Andrew was just drafted first overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers. He’s 6-foot-6, but has a 7-foot wingspan, which he uses to his advantage on the defensive side of the court.

What’s not to love?  He could stand to improve his overall quickness. His jump shot doesn’t have the fastest release either. Wiggins also weighs just 187 lbs. so he’ll definitely need to bulk up to make it in the next level.

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About: Jonathan Santiago

Jonathan Santiago serves Cowbell Kingdom as senior editor specializing in writing, podcasting and video production. He also handles the majority of CK’s day-to-day beat coverage of the Kings.