Perspectives: Greivis Vasquez

Greivis Vasquez surveys the floor against the Washington Wizards. (Photo: Keith Allison)

As the Sacramento Kings prepare to open training camp tomorrow, Greivis Vasquez appears to be the favorite to win the team’s starting point guard position.  Vasquez possesses much to like from the one-spot, including above-average height, solid passing skills and a gritty spirit that the Kings locker room could surely use.

He had a breakout season with the New Orleans Hornets (now Pelicans) last year, averaging a career-best 9.0 assists per game, and has a lot to play for this season.  He’s heading into the final year of his rookie deal and at 26 years old, he’s also entering the prime of his career.

We’ve heard plenty from former teammates and coaches about the kind of person Vasquez.  But what can the Kings expect to get from Vasquez based on his accomplishments and achievements at his previous stop?  Michael McNamara of Bourbon Street Shots, which covers the Pelicans in New Orleans, knows Vasquez’s game well, so we touched based with him to get his perspective on what the fourth-year guard could bring to Sacramento this season.

1. The biggest question Vasquez needs to address as a new member of the Sacramento Kings is…

Whether he can be at least competent on defense. New coach Mike Malone is a defense first guy, and the Pelicans were so frustrated with Vasquez’s defense last year that they gave up two first round picks to acquire a point guard who could defend the point of attack. Vasquez brings fire and intelligence on the offensive end, but he was terrible defensively last year. If that doesn’t change, he might not end up on Malone’s good side.

2. An underrated aspect of Vasquez’s game is…

His ability to score and create in the post. The Hornets didn’t utilize Vasquez down low until the second half of the year, but when he was given opportunities to post up much shorter guards, he often scored or got a teammate an open look.

3. An overrated aspect of Vasquez’s game is…

His ability to register assists. Honestly, any point guard in Monty Williams‘ offense is going to put up monster assist numbers, especially if they get 35 minutes per game. The truth is, however, that Vasquez is not a terrific passer or playmaker by any measure. He is just a guy who dominated the ball in an offense that guarantees inflated numbers for a point guard.

4. One word that characterizes his final season in a Hornets uniform was…

Lead-footed. Is that one word or two? I used a hyphen! Either way, this is how most New Orleans fans will remember Vasquez – as a great guy who just happens to be too slow to really make a significant impact on either end.

5. Is Vasquez a short-term or long-term fix for the Kings’ needs at point guard?

If we are talking about Vasquez as a starter, Kings fans better hope he is only there for the short term. But if they want a 7th or 8th man, Vasquez would be fantastic in that role, and could thrive in it for the next 6-8 years.

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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.