What We’ve Learned: First Month

Get the breakdown on what we’ve learned about the young core in Sacramento thus far.
by Kyle Ramos
Writer, Digital

The Kings are currently 23 games into the season, meaning roughly one quarter of the 2017-18 campaign is already in the books.

Looking back at the past couple of months, here are three things we’ve learned about Sacramento since the new season tipped off.

Sprouting Team Chemistry

A major roster overhaul and a slew of fresh faces provided increased excitement in Sactown, but with that came the challenge of piecing everything together on the hardwood.

The Kings saw an influx of both established veterans and rookie talent join the squad during the 2017 offseason. Though these players have already contributed in many ways, finding the right chemistry between the group has been and will likely continue to be an ongoing project during the season.

As of late, we’ve already seen these efforts come to fruition in games, with one notable example being the increasingly frequent alley-oop connection between Bogdan Bogdanovic and Willie Cauley-Stein.

Bogdanovic, whose playmaking abilities often fly under the radar due to his knack for scoring the ball, has helped Trill blossom into a constant threat to run to the rim and throw down lob passes.

Though this growing relationship gives us a peek into this team’s potential as they mesh, head coach Dave Joerger has shared that the development of Sacramento’s roster is a process that will continue beyond the current season.

Eyes on the Future

Thus far in 2017-18, there have been encouraging signs of progress amongst Sactown’s young core as the team continues to lay down the foundation for the future.

A prime example is Cauley-Stein, who is breaking out in his third NBA season. Trill has played large parts in leading the Kings to some of their biggest wins this season, including a game against the Golden State Warriors where he led the team in points, rebounds, and assists. More evidence of Willie’s improvement is evident by his PER, which currently stands at a career-best 17.2 and is second highest on the team.

Rookie guards De’Aaron Fox and Frank Mason III are also starting to acclimate to the NBA level and have turned heads with their play.

No. 5 is averaging 10.3 points, 4.2 assists, and 3.3 rebounds per game and sits atop the squad in minutes per game with an average of 26.1 per contest. Mason III is also becoming a valuable floor general and spark plug in his reserve role. The Kansas product is averaging 7.7 points and 3.3 assists while also shooting a scintillating 50 percent from three-point range.

These players, along with several other pieces on the roster, will be crucial to the Kings progression as a team this year and beyond.

Finding Consistency

While witnessing the development of young players is crucial, an important aspect to setting the table for future success lies in consistency – an area that veterans Vince Carter, Zach Randolph, and George Hill have focused on in their mentorship.

While Sacramento continues searching for consistent effort across the board, one of the Kings strong suits comes in the form of their bench play. Thus far in 2017-18, the Kings reserves are the NBA’s highest scoring bench unit, largely due to their pace of play and shooting ability between Bogdan Bogdanovic, Buddy Hield, and Frank Mason III.

Heading into the next portion of their schedule, Sacramento will look to reciprocate the success of the squad’s bench by tweaking lineups in the starting unit.

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