Kings Positional Preview: Small Forward

With the 2017-18 season just around the corner, we examine the depth of the small forward position.
by Kyle Ramos
Writer, Digital

Sacramento’s wing players bring a mixture of youth and experience with a combination of skills and styles that will be crucial to the Kings success in the upcoming season.

Below, we went in-depth with each small forward on Sactown’s roster to take a closer look at each player’s expected contributions in 2017-18.

Vince Carter

A storied NBA career that has spanned two decades in length will continue for Carter as he joins Sacramento.

Though VC is the oldest active player remaining in the Association, he has adapted his game in recent years to continue to make an impact on the hardwood. In his reserve role on the Memphis Grizzlies, Carter has become a reliable all-around presence who shoots, defends, and contributes at efficient and effective rates.

Last season in Memphis, No. 15 converted 37.8 percent of his three-point attempts, his highest percentage since the 2012-13 season. On the advanced metrics side, VC’s efforts were apparent on the other side of the ball as well as VC also picked up 2.1 defensive win shares, the most he’s logged in a season since his 2009-10 campaign with the Orlando Magic.

In addition to what he can still accomplish on the court, Carter will be an important member of the locker room with a large collective of young talent surrounding him on the roster. His vast amount of experience will provide valuable wisdom to share with the Young Kings as they are in the early stages of their own NBA careers.

Justin Jackson

On the heels of an NCAA title with the University of North Carolina, the No. 15 overall pick will have a chance to make his mark on the professional level, as well.

Jackson was named ACC Player of the Year in his final college season and was the leading scorer for his championship season, logging 18.3 points per contest. Now, he will have the opportunity to translate his game which features a diverse offensive arsenal and stifling perimeter defense.

As a rookie, No. 25 will have to adjust to the pace and new level of physicality of the game in the NBA. However, a strong veteran presence surrounding him paired with his high motor and work ethic should have Jackson acclimating rapidly and could result in big things to come for the rookie in 2017-18.

Garrett Temple

Temple came aboard Sacramento’s squad last season and served as a reliable and consistent contributor in 2016-17.

The LSU product was a versatile weapon for Coach Joerger’s lineups, being able to play both guard positions as well as small forward. No. 17 also logged career highs across the board, pitching in averages of 7.8 points, 2.6 assists, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.3 steals per contest.

Entering this season, Temple should continue to be a stable presence in the rotation with his diverse abilities and skill sets. No. 17 has the ability to plug in at a multitude of positions, but his services may be most utilized as a wing player.

JaKarr Sampson

Rounding out the small forward group is a new addition in Sampson, who was signed to a two-way deal with the Kings after an impressive stint in the NBA Summer League this past July.

Sampson, like others at this position, carries a slew of skills that make him a player that can add value in various ways on the hardwood.

After working his way up as an undrafted free agent in 2014, the St. John’s product earned spots with both the Philadelphia 76ers and Denver Nuggets. Last season with the Grizzlies G-League affiliate, Sampson earned All-Star honors before joining Sacramento’s Summer League roster and eventually playing his way into a contract with the Kings.

While he will have to compete to see the court with a talented group at his position, JaKarr could be a player who steps up to surprise some people throughout the course of 2017-18.

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