Breaking down Kings' current depth chart with offseason cooling off
Where the Kings stand seven weeks before training camp
Have the Kings done enough? That isn’t usually a question for August, but with the NBA all but drying up, here we are.
General manager Monte McNair has spent the last two-plus years completely revamping the Kings’ rotation. Only De’Aaron Fox, Harrison Barnes and Richaun Holmes are still remaining from the team he took over in September of 2020 and two of those players have been mentioned in plenty of trade rumors.
McNair added Mike Brown as a head coach, which could greatly impact the bottom line and there is a positivity around Sacramento that hasn’t been seen in a while, even if Las Vegas has the over/under at just 32.5.
With the addition of Matthew Dellavedova over the weekend, the Kings’ roster, including two two-way players, now stands at 17. The team can carry up to 20 heading into camp, so there is room for a few more adjustments, but any addition, outside of a major trade, would likely be minor.
We won’t know if this group is good enough to compete for a playoff spot until we see them on the floor, but there is plenty to like about the additions.
There are still seven weeks before training camp starts, but here is a look at the current depth chart and how all of this could fit together.
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De’Aaron Fox, Davion Mitchell, Matthew Dellavedova
Fox is clearly the face of the franchise. He’ll play upwards of 35 minutes per game and barring some major change, he’ll likely be the team’s leading scorer.
Mitchell is the reserve, but he won’t see reserve minutes. The second-year guard is the team’s best perimeter defender and he’s likely to see 25-30 minutes per game.
After playing in Australia last season, Dellavedova is playing on a non-guaranteed contract with the Kings. According to Hoop Rumors, the 31-year-old will receive $250,000 if he makes the opening day roster and his contract doesn’t become guaranteed until the NBA’s mandatory deadline of Jan. 7.
Dellavedova knows Mike Brown’s system from their time together in Cleveland. He’s also played a total of 118 games over his last four NBA seasons. If he makes the squad, Dellavedova is a seasoned vet who knows his role.
Kevin Huerter, Malik Monk, Terrence Davis
There should be a lively battle in training camp between these three, not just for the starting job next to Fox, but also for minutes.
Huerter is the front runner heading into camp after starting 216 games over the last four seasons in Atlanta. The 23-year-old is a knockdown shooter with two-way capabilities. Huerter still has plenty of upside, and at 6-foot-7 he gives the Kings size and versatility at the two and possibly even the three for stretches.
It took Monk a little while to adjust to the NBA game, but he was a strong addition in free agency for Sacramento. The 24-year-old is a better pure scorer than Huerter and he played alongside Fox on a star studded Kentucky team back in 2016-17. Is he better suited as a high-level scoring six man or as a starter? Either way, Monk will likely see 25-plus minutes per game.
Before breaking his wrist in January, Davis had strung together a solid two months of basketball for the Kings. Still just 25 years old, Davis is a physical player who brings energy to the court. He was also one of the team’s best shooters in training camp and shot 40.2 percent from deep over his final 16 games.
There are only 96 minutes between the two guard spots to fit all of these players in. With the addition of a passing big man like Domantas Sabonis, there is potential to run plenty of three guard sets. Can this group handle 18-24 minutes at the small forward spot? Can the Kings defense hold up in that scenario? If not, there are going to be some players doing a lot more watching than they are used to.
Harrison Barnes, KZ Okpala, Chima Moneke, Keon Ellis
The rumors regarding Barnes have dragged on all offseason and there is still a possibility he is wearing a different uniform when the 2022-23 season starts. If he isn’t, then he’ll open the season as the Kings’ starting small forward where he will play 30-35 minutes per game.
Moneke and Okpala will battle for minutes in training camp. They are versatile enough to play both forward positions, but experience might be an issue. Moneke has played overseas since going undrafted in 2018. He’s a high energy player with defensive upside. The Kings have already guaranteed $250,000 to the former UC Davis star, with another $250,000 due if he makes the opening day roster.
Okpala spent the last three seasons fighting for minutes on a crowded Heat roster. At just 23 years old, there is still upside for the lanky defender, but his path to minutes could depend on his ability to knock down open 3-point shots. Like Moneke, Okpala is on a two-year, partially guaranteed contract, although the specifics of the deal are unknown at this time.
Ellis is on a two-way contract and will likely spend plenty of time playing for the Stockton Kings this season, although he impressed greatly with his defense and 3-point shooting ability during summer league in Sacramento and Las Vegas. He’s probably more of a two/three than a three/two, but the backcourt is crowded this season in Sacramento.
Despite his veteran status, Barnes is the wild card. He will play minutes at both forward positions if he is on the roster, but he’s entering the final year of his contract and McNair is aggressively trying to reshape the roster.
Keegan Murray, Trey Lyles, Chimezie Metu
Will Murray accomplish something that Fox, Marvin Bagley, Tyrese Haliburton and Davion Mitchell couldn’t in Sacramento and open the season as a starter? It’s very possible. The No. 4 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft played incredible basketball during the summer and looks like the real deal. He’ll face competition for minutes, but there is a good chance he begins the year playing 25-28 minutes per game and only sees that number increase during the season.
Lyles is a solid rebounder, shooter and in a pinch, you can also run the ball through him for stretches.
Metu knows Brown well from their time with the Nigerian National team. That can be said about Moneke and Okpala as well. The 25-year-old has springs in his legs and he’s worked to improve his 3-point shooting. If he can improve on the defensive end, he’s in the running for minutes.
Lyles and Metu are in a scramble for minutes and they have additional competition with Barnes, Moneke, Okpala and even Richaun Holmes in the mix at the four. If Murray is as good as advertised, none of this matters. He will play major minutes and the rest of the group will fight for crumbs.
Domantas Sabonis, Richaun Holmes, Alex Len, Neemias Queta
Sabonis is a two-time All-Star and the Kings’ best hope of snapping their 16-year playoff drought. He’ll play 34-36 minutes per game, like Fox will at the point, and the ball will be in his hands for a good portion of that time. He’s worked all summer on extending his range to the 3-point line, which could open opportunities for others.
When Sabonis was acquired, Holmes looked like the odd man out. After a brutal season of injury, illness and personal problems, the 28-year-old remains on the roster, although that could still change. If he makes it to opening night, there is talk that he is in the mix to start alongside Sabonis in a two-big lineup.
Holmes is a versatile defender and a very good rim runner. Sabonis spent four and a half seasons playing with Myles Turner in Indiana, although Turner is a much better 3-point shooter than Holmes. In order for this to work, someone has to shoot from long range and space the floor.
Len is a nice luxury to have for Sacramento, especially if a trade for Holmes materializes either before or during the season. The veteran big can space the floor a little, block shots and he’s tough.
Queta is back on a two-way contract and there is a lot to like about his development as a player. He needs some more time in the G League to refine his game and build his experience level, but there is a chance for him to become a player with the Kings down the road. Len is a ‘break in case of emergency’ player. Queta is an up and coming prospect just looking for an opportunity.
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