Yeah, but they have a nice future. While the Kings would have cringed at the description a couple years ago, and maybe even at the start of 2016-17, they embrace the role after trading for promising rookie Buddy Hield in February followed by a very good Draft in June.
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> With franchise going young, they will need support
Not only did the Kings add De’Aaron Fox, Justin Jackson and Harry Giles in the first round of the draft, but Bogdan Bogdanovic came from Europe as a shooter who could make an impact as a rookie ... It’s not all about the youth movement -- George Hill, Zach Randolph and Vince Carter signed as free agents with the expectation of having prominent roles ... Jack Cooley and JaKarr Sampson, both with NBA experience, signed two-way contracts.
1. The top three scorers from last season -- DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay, Darren Collison -- are gone, leaving Buddy Hield at No. 1 among returning Kings after 15.1 points per game in his time in Sacramento.
2. Hield and Skal Labissiere were among the top rookies of the second half of 2016-17, Labissiere from deep in the first round, encouraging momentum for both heading into the new season.
3. Fox, Giles and Jackson and second-rounder Frank Mason III come across as so mature for rookies that it’s possible to see them quickly setting a positive tone in the locker room, not following like typical newcomers.
MAN ON THE SPOT
Coach Dave Joerger. Not because his job is on the line, because it isn’t as the season opens. But the coach’s rotation will receive a lot of scrutiny as he tries to balance playing veterans Hill, Randolph, Carter and Kosta Koufos with the mandate from management to develop the young talent.
George Hill | 16.9 ppg | 3.4 rpg | 4.2 apg
Dependable with the ball, steadying presence in the locker room.
Buddy Hield |10.6 rpg | 3.3 apg | 1.5 apg
All-Rookie choice after 15.1 points following the All-Star break.
Garrett Temple | 7.8 ppg | 2.8 rpg | 2.6 apg
One of a few candidates in an open race at small forward.
Zach Randolph | 14.1 ppg | 8.2 rpg | 1.7 apg
Or Skal Labissiere, coming off a strong 2016-17 finish, could win the job.
Kosta Koufos | 6.6 ppg | 5.7 rpg | 0.7 rpg
Koufos vs. Willie Cauley-Stein is another good camp battle.
Bogdan Bogdanovic | 14.6 ppg | 3.8 rpg | 3.6 apg (in Euroleague)
A rival scout called Bogdanovic the best shooter in Europe last season
De’Aaron Fox | 16.7 ppg | 4.0 rpg | 4.6 apg (at Kentucky)
Speedy No. 5 pick will try to push Hill for the start at point guard
Skal Labissiere | 8.8 ppg | 4.9 rpg | 0.8 apg
One of the best rookies in the league in the second half of 2016-17.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The Kings can go backward from 32 wins and/or backward from third place in the Pacific Division and still have a successful 2017-18 if the prospects develop and the toxic chemistry of past season disappears. This is all about putting down the foundation for the future.
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