Who will start at shooting guard for the 2017-18 Sacramento Kings?
Here we are in mid-August, a time where fans and experts alike twiddle our thumbs only to look forward to the latest Sunday episode of Game of Thrones, while we wait patiently for the next season of NBA basketball to begin.
The older the offseason gets, the closer we get to actual basketball once again, which means competition amongst players vying for a starting position on an NBA roster.
This competition is especially evident at the shooting guard position with the Sacramento Kings as they brought over 24-year-old Serbian guard, Bogdan Bogdanovic through a draft day trade with the Phoenix Suns in 2016. That also allowed Sacramento to draft Georgios Papagiannis and Skal Labissiere in that draft.
Ironically enough, Buddy Hield, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2016 draft by the New Orleans Pelicans was traded to the Sacramento Kings as a featured piece in the DeMarcus Cousins trade, which shocked the NBA world.
With these two young talented guards acquired via trade, the question to ask is who gets the starting nod?
Hield joined the Kings after the All-Star break and made his debut as a starter against the Wizards at the two-guard position. Hield was named rookie of the month twice and showed flashes of stardom throughout his first year in the league. But he also showed his lack of experience and protection of the ball in key situations.
Bogdanovic comes over to the NBA from Serbia after winning the 2016 Euroleague Championship for his Turkish club team Fenerbahce. Known for his 3-point shot, fiery tenacity, smart basketball IQ, and winning ways, he brings with him the experience and skill to thrive for his new Sacramento Kings.
The breakdowns are very similar in nature and at first look, Bogdanovic would get the starting shooting guard job merely based on last year’s statistics without taking anything else into consideration.
But as we dive deeper we realize that Hield played an entire 82 game season where in-game statistics can begin to even out over time compared to Bogdanovic that only played a 22-game season on a championship team in Fenerbahce filled with talent.
Both players bring something to the table that makes them special, but in the end it falls on Dave Joerger to make that tough decision on who should be starting. Coach Joerger is notorious for playing experience over youth but in this particular situation, they are both relatively young and can both score at an efficient rate.
Hield is a scorer that can make a play when he needs against the most elite players in the world, but needs to improve on not turning the ball over and playing with some fire on the defensive side of the ball.
Whereas Bogdanovic who can get the open shot and drill it from deep at any given moment against Euroleague competition, hasn’t played enough games against NBA defenders.
It may be tough to gage where Bogdanovic stands against NBA talent because he hasn’t played in a regular season game yet, but we got a demo in 2016 when Team USA took on the Serbians for Olympic Gold.
Bogdanovic impressed many people in the basketball world observing this game, and even though his seven points, three assists, and three rebounds stat line wasn’t that impressive, watching him take on the challenge left a lasting impression on everyone for what’s to come with consistent minutes at the NBA level.
While both players are still developing, but deserving of a starting role, it comes down to scheme, fit, and who wants to play a little defense.
Coach Joerger is a defensive-minded coach that loves to mix and match his lineups throwing the opposing team off their game plan.
Therefore, it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibilities to see both players see some exposure in the starting lineup during the year. Who will play the better defense and mesh the best with the other players on the court? Only time will tell.
-Both players are sharp shooters that can get into the paint when they need.
-Hield is careless with the ball at times and needs improvement on the defensive side of the ball.
-Bogdanovic doesn’t always make the right pass and will force shots that shouldn’t have been taken.
-Both players are young, have great attitudes and are itching to get better each and every day.
In the end, I see Hield getting the nod to begin the season as the starter for the 2017 Sacramento Kings, but don’t be shocked to see Bogdanovic making appearances in the starting lineup at the small forward position alongside Hield and company, while also getting significant amounts of time at the shooting guard position behind Hield.
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