Sacramento Kings at All-Star Break Q&A: trade deadline, call-ups and Jimmer Fredette

Jimmer Fredette, Ben McLemore and Carl Landry help up Quincy Acy against the Indiana Pacers. (Photo: Jonathan Santiago)

It’s officially the All-Star Break for the Sacramento Kings and they’ve arrived at the ceremonial halfway point of the season with an 18-35 record.  We decided to take to Twitter to field a few questions and stir some debate regarding the first half of the Kings’ season.  We also looked forward to what might come for the Kings the rest of this 2013-14 campaign.

Jonathan Santiago: The trade deadline is a week away.  Gotta think that based on the way the Kings have played lately, they’re at least exploring ideas. But I don’t know if there will be anything new brewing that we haven’t heard before.  Rumors continue circulate around the idea of them acquiring a point guard.

James Ham: Well, I would say that DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay are locks.  After that, I’m not sure that there are any other guarantees.  Marcus Thornton, Jason Thompson and Carl Landry trades will be explored. But Ben McLemore, Derrick Williams, Jimmer Fredette, and even Isaiah Thomas could all be had in the right deal.

JS:  What are the odds, you think, that the Kings make a deal at the deadline?

JH: I think they will be part of at least one deal. Pete D’Alessandro is likely not satisfied with the team’s play. He knows he needs to get Michael Malone some help. The Kings have no interest in being a tax paying team, so there won’t be another Rudy Gay type trade in the works, but I expect something.

JS: Personally, if I had to make a guess, I think the Kings are trying to make something happen.  But it’s completely possible that they end up not doing anything at the deadline.  And if they don’t do anything, I don’t think it will be for lack of trying. I think it might just end up being a case where nobody buys what their selling.

JH: From what I know, Pierre Jackson’s rights are still owned by the New Orleans Pelicans.  Outside of that, I’m not sure that there is someone whose play is demanding a call up.  The Kings like Trent Lockett, but he’s probably not ready to contribute right now.

JS:  This is an idea we’ve kind of bounced around before.  Because shooting guard has been such a position of weakness for the Kings this year, we’ve wondered about the idea of Trent Lockett.  But like you said, I’m not sure he’s ready to help yet at this point in his career.  Adding another young, inexperienced player to this team won’t do anything to change the course of this season.

JH: He does a little of everything, but nothing really well. Clearly his strongest attribute is his defensive ability. But is it NBA level?  And you’re right Jon, I’m not sure the Kings are ready to add another young player. They still have no idea what they have with Ray McCallum.

JS: Regarding Lockett’s defense, I’m not sure it is NBA caliber at this point.  We’ve talked to people who follow the D-League closely and they think he may be worthy of a call up at some point this season.  But with the amount of guaranteed contracts the Kings have in the backcourt, it’d be tough to see him get a spot in Sacramento.

JH: I could see a veteran point guard and a true shot-blocker helping this team. I’m just not sure that we are talking about a Hamady NDiaye-type or Brandon Heath-type.

JS: In regards to his minutes, I can’t see him playing a ton at point guard.  But you and I both agree that he could be a guy that splits minutes at both guard positions.

JH: Honestly, I like what he has been able to do as a backup point. He isn’t a natural point guard and he really needs help from his big men to make it all work, but he is a combo guard with nice passing skills.

JS: The key for him in that role is continuing to be who he is as a player.  That means being aggressive and finding his shot, which he’s done.  For a team that lacks as much scoring outside of their big three, Jimmer is a guy who is certainly capable of filling the void, but it’s been inconsistent.  And sometimes, I do think it’s because of the minutes.  I could see him get 10 minutes at point and 10 minutes at the two, but that’s snot something the Kings have done.

JH: As we saw yesterday evening, he’s been lights out from downtown, something that Thornton and McLemore have not been able to do.  He really could fill a role, but Malone has been reluctant to play him and Isaiah together.

JS: The reason I think Jimmer doesn’t get that opportunity to play with Isaiah is because Malone may not trust him enough defensively against opposing twos.  It’s a small backcourt when they’re together.  But I don’t know if I buy that argument a whole lot because it’s not like Jimmer is that much smaller than Marcus Thornton, who starts.  And as we’ve touched on in the past, I’m not sure that Thornton is that much better of a defender than Jimmer.  They’re both not great, but I just think Jimmer brings more things to the table that Thornton does at this point.

JH: I think the Kings will miss his shooting when he is gone.  It’s crazy that he is fifth on the team in 3-point attempts. Travis Outlaw is right behind him as well. The Kings haven’t done a good job getting him open looks. As far as a defensive issue, the Kings can’t guard anyone. Jimmer couldn’t be any worse than what we are seeing. And Jimmer plays the passing lanes very well.

JS: I agree.  This team as a whole has been atrocious defensively and you can’t put the blame on any one player in particular.

JH: It seems like a trust issue. And I’m not sure where Jimmer would play into that.

JS: No player is ever going to be perfect and Jimmer is no an exception to that rule.  He has his weaknesses, but what he brings to the Kings offensively, I think, outweighs the negative aspects of his defense.


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