What are the Sacramento Kings’ biggest needs?
As we draw closer to the February 19 NBA trade deadline, the Sacramento Kings are bound to be active. While the cupboard isn’t stocked with assets, the Kings have a few pieces that may appeal to the right buyer. But what exactly are the Kings looking for?
For the last few years, the thought was that Sacramento’s biggest need was at the power forward position. But the play of Jason Thompson as a rebounding defender, as well as the bench production of Carl Landry and the versatility Rudy Gay, Derrick Williams and Omri Casspi have made the four manageable, at least for now.
The Kings’ starting unit has played well when healthy, but the bench unit has been atrocious all season. Pete D’Alessandro would love nothing more than to swing another Rudy Gay-type deal, but at this point, adding the right pieces to go with the starters should be a bigger priority.
After seven productive seasons in the NBA, Ramon Sessions has fallen apart in his first year with the Kings. The 28-year-old veteran is a poor fit on a team that lacks perimeter shooting. Cousins and Gay clog the lane, where Sessions has done the majority of his damage as a pro. The results for the reserve point guard have been a career low in points (5.7), assists (2.6) and shooting percentage (34.2). Sessions is accustomed to playing more than 17.1 minutes a night, but with his lackluster play and the breakout season of Darren Collison, he is lucky he’s played that much.
Second-year guard Ray McCallum had every opportunity to steal away the reserve position from Sessions, but he’s failed to do so. The 23-year-old has struggled from the perimeter, hitting just .265 of his 3-point attempts. McCallum is a quality defender, but his approach on the offensive end is not conducive to the Kings’ new uptempo style.
With the Charlotte Hornets losing starter Kemba Walker for six weeks or more, Sessions has been mentioned as a possible target. A straight swap of Sessions for Brian Roberts might make sense for both teams. If that doesn’t work, a deal that included Sessions for veteran Jannero Pargo and a second-round pick or two might do the trick.
After a very rough rookie campaign, Ben McLemore has matured greatly in year number two and earned major minutes at the two. That has left few opportunities for this year’s first round pick Nik Stauskas, who is struggling horribly off the Kings bench. The former Michigan star sharp shooter is knocking down just 28 percent from long range this season and averaging 3.7 points in 14.2 minutes a night.
Before the season began, the Kings traded away Jason Terry and used the stretch provision on Wayne Ellington. Both of those players would have provided more than what Stauskas has shown. At 21-years-old, the rookie has time to turn things around, but if the Kings want an immediate boost, they need to find a veteran shooter to come off the bench at the two and open the floor up.
The Kings like what Omri Casspi has brought to the table, but he is working on a one-year, league minimum deal. Derrick Williams also fits their “positionless basketball” thought process, but his contract status makes him unlikely to return after this season.
Between injuries and inconsistent play, the Kings could easily improve at this position, but Gay is going to steal the majority of the minutes at the three. What the Kings could really use is a 3-and-D wing that can consistently knock down the corner long ball and provide depth at both the shooting guard and small forward position.
There is a reason that Ryan Hollins has played for seven teams in nine NBA seasons. He is a role player that provides veteran leadership, but his skill set is limited. Hollins works as a spot minute guy, but when Cousins went down for 10 straight games, the Kings’ lack of depth at the center position was exposed.
The Kings would have loved to have gotten their hands on Timofey Mozgov and they will likely target big man like Kosta Koufos in the offseason. There is a belief within the organization that Cousins can play some minutes at the power forward position. Whether that is true of not has yet to be seen. Either way, Sacramento needs an upgrade at the position.
Sacramento lacks the assets to be a major player at the deadline, but they might have enough to tweak their roster depth. Outside of Cousins, Gay, Collison and McLemore, the Kings are open for business.
Expect movement in the coming weeks. Maybe not major movement, but something to mix things up a bit. More than any one position, the Kings need to add shooting if they hope to run an uptempo style.
How would you prioritize the Kings needs coming to the trade deadline?Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.