Desperately Searching For a Solution at Small Forward

The Kings have a glaring rotational weakness at the Small Forward, and have had one ever since shipping Ron Artest Metta World Peace out. Nobody that they have brought in since has been able to make the consistent type of impact that we've desired. In the Artest trade, the Kings brought back Donté Greene, a Forward brimming with potential, but who has not yet managed to piece it all together. The next year they drafted Omri Casspi, who for a while looked like he might be the future at the position before petering out and eventually being traded. Francisco Garcia has been our most consistent Small Forward, but he's really a guard, and for every good decision he makes, he also makes a boneheaded one.

The Kings once again tried to address this weakness this summer. First, there was the very controversial trade to move down in the draft and re-acquire John Salmons. The idea was sound (get a veteran who can defend and hit his threes) but it hasn't worked out that way to date. Salmons has had problems on defense with some of the bigger and better SFs in this league, and on offense he's been awful, shooting just 36.5% from the field (worst percentage in his career) and 22.2% from three (also the worst percentage). The team also picked up Travis Outlaw, coming off the worst season of his career, off the Amnesty Wire. Outlaw has probably been the worst performer on the court of any King so far this season, shooting just 25% overall and 11.8% from three. Tyler Honeycutt, the rookie SF the Kings drafted this year, does not have an NBA body, and is currently struggling against D-League competition.

The Kings purportedly went after Andrei Kirilenko as well this offseason, only to be rebuffed as he chose to remain with CSKA Moscow for the rest of the year. Kirilenko would have been a solid acquisition, a good team defender and a player who could have contributed in many ways, both at the SF and PF.

The Kings need to acquire a Small Forward, and not just a stopgap, but someone who could man the spot for several years. The Kings need three main things from their Small Forward: Defense, the ability to hit the open shot, and most importantly, consistency.

The following is a list of every SF in the NBA, as well as a couple of Free Agents and College Players in the Upcoming Draft. I'm going to take a look at whether they'd be an upgrade, what they provide, and how available they might be.

Philadelphia:

  • Andre Iguodala - Iggy would be near the top of many Kings fans lists. He's one of the better perimeter defenders in the NBA, in his prime, and can score, pass, and rebound. Unfortunately for us, Philadelphia knows this and they really like him. The 76ers are playing very well right now, and I don't see them trading Iggy for the peanuts we'd offer them.
  • Thaddeus Young - Thad Young is more of a stretch 4 than a pure SF, but he'd still be an upgrade at the position over what we have. The 76ers just invested a lot of money in him this summer though, and he's a key part to their bench.
  • Andres Nocioni - Been there, done that.

New York:

  • Carmelo Anthony - Superstar, not going anywhere
  • Renaldo Balkman - Balkman is very athletic and a super rebounder for his position. He doesn't do much else. Not an upgrade.
  • Landry Fields - A surprise rookie from last year that is currently in a bit of a slump this season. But Fields can do a little bit of everything, while not being great at any one thing. He'd be worth taking a look at if he ever became available.
  • Jared Jeffries - A guy who kind of defends well sometimes and does nothing else of use, unless you like fumbled passes and missed shots.
  • Steve Novak - A spot-up three point shooter and that's it.
  • Bill Walker - Walker is athletic and a good shooter. He's better than you think, but he's not the solution we're looking for.

Boston:

  • Marquis Daniels - Hasn't been the same since last year's injury. He's a Point Forward type, and doesn't have much range on his shot anyway.
  • Sasha Pavlovic - Possibly the most overrated spot-up shooter in the NBA.
  • Paul Pierce - Former Superstar, still really good. Not going anywhere.
  • Mickael Pietrus - Good defender and a good shooter, but he's always excelled in a bench role, not in the kind of heavy minutes we'd want from him. He's more roleplayer material.

Toronto:

  • Rasual Butler - Spot-up shooter
  • Gary Forbes - He had an alright rookie year in Denver, but his ceiling is not much higher than a backup or 3rd string SF.
  • Linas Kleiza - Remember when we wanted to trade Artest for this guy? His production has fallen in recent years thanks to a couple injuries, yet he keeps shooting at the same rate despite his shot not falling. He's kind of like a younger Nocioni, which would be nice if he could also get his shot back.
  • James Johnson - Donté Greene East

New Jersey:

  • MarShon Brooks - Early contender for Rookie of the Year. He has proven he can score on a New Jersey team bereft of scorers.
  • Damion James - A super rebounding Small Forward with no range, although he plays good defense. Kind of reminds me of Gerald Wallace without the superhuman athleticism.
  • Shawne Williams - Likes to shoot, isn't particularly good at it other than a 40% year from three last year in New York.

OKC:

Portland:

  • Luke Babbitt - If you are a team, you probably don't want Babbitt. If you are a player, you want Luke Babbitt's agent. How this guy rose from 2nd round status all the way to near lottery after the college season was over is beyond me. Anyway, he was an excellent shooter in college, but hasn't seen many NBA minutes yet, and the ones he has seen haven't been good.
  • Nicolas Batum - Another guy at the top of a lot of Kings fans list. Good shooter, athletic, and turning into a very good defender. He's going to be a restricted Free Agent after this year, and if he doesn't get an extension, the Kings should chase him hard.
  • Gerald Wallace - Gerald has evolved from garbage time rookie into great all-around player. He can make plays on both ends of the court. Portland is currently looking to lock him up for good, and while Wallace is not seeking an extension, it's only because if he waits till this summer, Portland can then offer him 5 years instead of 4.
  • Wesley Matthews - It'd be a bit of a stretch to play Wes at the SF for us, but it would still be an upgrade. Matthews made his mark early on with his defense, which got him rotation minutes with Utah, and then he became a very good three point shooter as well. I'm still mad that we had this guy on our summer league team during his rookie year and didn't give him a closer look.

Denver:

  • Corey Brewer - If Donté ever becomes as good as Corey Brewer is now, I'll be happy. That's not to say Corey Brewer is all that good, but he's become a consistently good defender, and a decent shooter.
  • DeMarre Carroll - He could double as Slamson with his hair. But on the court... I'd rather have Outlaw.
  • Danilo Gallinari - Gallinari is a big part of why Denver has become such a good team even without Melo. He's not averaging as many points as Melo was, but the 17.2 he is averaging is being done much more efficiently (He has a 58.8% career True Shooting %), and unlike Melo, he actually tries on defense. He also rebounds well and doesn't turn the ball over nearly ever. He'll be a RFA this year, and I'd be surprised if Denver didn't lock him up early.
  • Al Harrington - More of a stretch 4 than a true 3, and he tends to take too many shots. He'd be an upgrade in Sacramento, but only a temporary one. Besides, he's thriving in Denver coming off the bench as a scorer.

Utah:

  • Gordon Hayward - A rookie that got consistently better as the season went on last year. He's very fluid offensively, but has trouble on the defensive end. He's off to a bad start this year, but there is still potential here.
  • Josh Howard - A few years ago, Howard was considered one of the up and comers in the NBA, but a couple knee surgeries later, and he's lost a lot of the athleticism that made him so good.
  • C.J. Miles - Miles is a streaky shooter, which isn't what we need.

Minnesota:

  • Michael Beasley - I know there are Kings fans out there interested in Beasley, and he may well come available depending on the growth of Derrick Williams. He plays SF for the Timberwolves, but he's more of a stretch 4. Beasley is a scorer, first and foremost, and he uses up a bunch of possessions to get his shots. The Kings have three of those guys in the starting lineup already in Tyreke, Marcus and DeMarcus, and probably don't need another one, especially since Beasley has shown no inclination to ever play defense.
  • Wesley Johnson - Johnson might well best be remembered as the guy the Timberwolves drafted ahead of DeMarcus Cousins and Greg Monroe. He has not been good in his short stint in the NBA.
  • Derrick Williams - Adelman sees Williams as more of a strech 4, and I agree with that, although he'll probably play a lot of SF next to Kevin Love in the future. Minnesota isn't going to give up on him.
  • Anthony Randolph - How many stretch 4s does Minnesota have? Randolph is another one of those guys with a whole bunch of potential that can't seem to put it all together, for whatever reason. Not sure I'd want him in Sacramento, and not at the three spot, which is where we need the help.

LAL:

  • Matt Barnes - He's evolved a bit since he's left Sacramento, becoming a very physical defender and a better shooter (although he's still not a good shooter). It's telling how bad our SF rotation is that I consider Barnes almost an upgrade.
  • Devin Ebanks - I'm convinced the Lakers managed to clone Trevor Ariza and Devin Ebanks is this clone. Ebanks has shown flashes in L.A. but nothing consistent. The Kings need immediate production, and I don't think Ebanks provides that.
  • Luke Walton - A very underrated passer. That's pretty much it. The reason he passes is because he can't do anything else (although he can be a decent spot-up shooter).
  • Jason Kapono - Does one thing and one thing only: Shoot threes, and shoot them well.

LAC:

  • Caron Butler - A better, more injury prone version of John Salmons. Just locked up to a 3 year, $24 million deal though, which is a little too much for my taste.
  • Ryan Gomes - A stretch 4 that isn't particularly good at anything a SF does, but can put a body on big guys and get them away from the hoop on the other end.

Phoenix:

  • Josh Childress - After a promising start to his career in Atlanta, he left the NBA for three years to go play in Greece. He came back last year, locking up a big deal with Phoenix but being a bit of a disappointment. Childress excels at getting to the basket and in the mid-range game, and has shot over 50% from the field in 4 of his 6 NBA seasons. He's not the best 3 Point shooter, but he's good enough to keep defenses honest. Defensively, he's long and athletic, if not fundamentally sound.
  • Jared Dudley - Has benefited so much from the tutelage of Grant Hill and Steve Nash. He has improved every year he's been in the NBA. In particular, his three point shot has been excellent, and he's expanded other parts of his game as well.
  • Grant Hill - A great veteran leader to have on your team. I'm not sure why he chose to stay in Phoenix instead of going for a ring, but he did, and he'll likely finish his career there when this contract finishes as he'll be 40 years old.

Golden State:

  • Dominic McGuire - Been there done that. McGuire can be a very good defender and rebounder, but can't shoot from anywhere on the court.
  • Brandon Rush - Rush has been a good shooter in all 4 years of his career so far. He's more of a Shooting Guard, and he doesn't do much other than shoot.
  • Dorell Wright - One of my favorite young SFs in the league. Golden State got him for less than the MLE the year before last and that deal is looking like an absolute steal. Wright led the league in threes made and attempted last year, and he's also a solid rebounder and defender at his position (although he's a bit undersized to guard the 3).

Chicago:

  • Jimmy Butler - Hard worker, but otherwise unproven rookie.
  • Luol Deng - This guy is probably untouchable from Chicago's point of view. He seems to be a real glue guy, plus he is one of the better SFs in the league on both ends of the court. There are injury concerns with him, but he's been healthy the last few years, and he's still not even 27 years old yet. Deng is part of Chicago's future going forward.
  • Kyle Korver - One of the best shooters to ever play. He's not a good individual defender, but has become a good team defender in Chicago's system. He's a solid vet, especially coming off your bench. You probably don't want him starting.

Indiana:

  • Paul George - This guy could be the key to Indiana's future. He came into the NBA primarily known as a scorer, and yet that came against mediocre competition. But he earned minutes and recognition last year for his defense, being able to guard almost any position from the PG to SF. This year he's been even better, shooting the three at a ridiculous rate (55.6% through 10 games). George is probably considered untouchable by the Pacers, and for good reason.
  • Danny Granger - One of my favorite players in the NBA, Granger is an excellent shooter anywhere on the floor and is also decent defensively. The only problem with Granger is that he is used to being the primary scorer, and I don't know how he'd mesh here with a bunch of other guys looking to score. I also don't see how we could get him without giving up Tyreke Evans or DeMarcus Cousins. Indiana really likes him, and they're playing well right now, even with Granger currently struggling.

Cleveland:

  • Omri Casspi - It's sad to see how bad Omri is playing in Cleveland. His numbers are down across the board, and he's not even rebounding half as much as he was in Sacramento. I still hope he can become a good player in the NBA, but right now it doesn't look like he will be.
  • Christian Eyenga - Eyenga can't get minutes on a Cavalier team desperate for production on the wings.
  • Alonzo Gee - Gee keeps bouncing around the league, showing promising flashes with each team he's been, but never being consistent enough to keep.
  • Antawn Jamison - Jamison is nearing the end of his career, and it's showing in his play. Yet he has a whopping 27.9% Usage Rate for Cleveland. Jamison has never been comfortable as a role player and that's what he'd need to be here.
  • Anthony Parker - If Caron Butler is a better John Salmons, Anthony Parker is a worse John Salmons.

Milwaukee:

  • Carlos Delfino - Delfino is a decent all-around player, a good shooter, good rebounder, and good passer. He's more comfortable at the SG position, but I think he could play SF.
  • Mike Dunleavy - Dunleavy is a Point Forward and a good shooter and rebounder. He's also very injury prone and continues to miss games with nagging injuries. His defense isn't the greatest either.
  • Tobias Harris - More of an undersized 4 that can play the 3, kind of like Corliss Williamson. Milwaukee has no incentive to let go of him yet.
  • Ersan Ilyasova - Ilyasova can play both the 3 and the 4, and is a very tough and physical player. He's an excellent rebounder, and a decent shooter.
  • Stephen Jackson - Jackson is a good defender, and sometimes a good scorer. Unfortunately for the team he's on, he always thinks he's a good scorer, and puts up a lot of shots at a very inefficient rate. His percentages have been dipping over the last couple years and that trend has continued into this year. He'd probably be better than what we have now, but I don't like his attitude and he's definitely not a long term solution.
  • Luc Mbah a Moute - A guy who can defend almost every position and rebound well too. He takes what the defense gives him on offense, but has little range on his shot.

Detroit:

  • Austin Daye - I don't know why, but I just don't like Austin Daye. He had a decent year last year, particularly shooting the ball, and he's also a good rebounder and shotblocker for how skinny he is. A lot of people make the comparison to teammate Tayshaun Prince, but I see more Francisco Garcia, and we already have Francisco Garcia.
  • Jonas Jerebko - The Swede has been a surprise coming into the NBA. Detroit plays him primarily as a stretch 4, although he's the type of stretch 4 that can bang down low with his opponents as well. He shows a lot of tenacity on the defensive end and his offensive game is still evolving.
  • Tayshaun Prince - I was very surprised to see Prince return to Detroit, especially after last year's debacle that ousted Coach John Kuester. Prince is a good defender, and on offense can both shoot it from outside or take you inside. He's interchangeable at the 3 and the 4. He has struggled a bit to start this season, but I'm unsure if age is catching up to him or it's just the compressed season at work. He wouldn't be a long term solution for Sacramento, but he'd be a definite upgrade if he ever became available.
  • Damien Wilkins - He's definitely not his uncle, that's for sure.

Miami:

  • LeBron James - Superstar, not going anywhere
  • Shane Battier - A little old, but almost exactly the type of guy we need: a great defender and a spot up three point shooter. Plus he'd be a great mentor for the young guys. I don't see Miami giving him up unless we're willing to part with a young asset however, and I'm not sure how much run we'd get from Battier before his age catches up with him.
  • James Jones - A spot-up three point shooter with the easiest job in the NBA, since the other team has to focus on LeBron, Wade, or Bosh, leaving Jones open for open threes a lot. Almost all of his shots the last few years have been 3PA and he's converted them at a 40+% rate. He doesn't provide much other than that though.

Orlando:

  • Hedo Turkoglu - Brother Hedo thrives best with the ball in his hands running the offense, and that's been his role in Orlando. He's still a good a shooter as ever, and he's actually not as bad of a defender as you would think. The biggest problems with Hedo are his age (almost 33 years old) and his contract (3 years, $29 million guaranteed). He also suffered playing in Toronto and Phoenix without the ball in his hands as much. Still, Hedo'd be a definite upgrade for the Kings, even if John Salmons was playing like we had hoped he might. If Dwight gets traded and the Magic need a third team to absorb Hedo's contract, I could see Hedo coming here and Salmons going out in such a trade.
  • Quentin Richardson - An aging spot-up 3 point shooter who is also injury prone.
  • Jason Richardson - More of a guard and a scorer than we need.

Atlanta:

  • Joe Johnson - Atlanta's star, and still a really good player even if he is overpaid. He can play 3 positions on both ends of the court.
  • Tracy McGrady - The one thing I like about McGrady is he has gone the opposite of the Iverson route and embraced the fact that he is no longer as good as he was and will never be, and has focused instead on being a great roleplayer.
  • Josh Smith - Smith is a 5 by 5 threat every night. He lacks a good shot, but finishes very well around the rim, and he's shot between 48-50% from the field for the last 4 years. He rebounds, he passes, he defends, and he's got amazing athleticism. He reminds me a lot of Kirilenko before the injuries. He'd be a great fit for Sacramento, but unfortunately I don't see Atlanta moving him anytime soon, mainly because he's really good and is just entering his prime.
  • Jerry Stackhouse - Jerry Stackhouse is still in the league? Why?
  • Marvin Williams - Williams likely will never shake off the fact that he was drafted ahead of Chris Paul and Deron Williams. That doesn't mean he's not a good player though. Of Atlanta's wings, I could see Williams being moved if only to cut some salary since he is a bit overpaid. He's still young though, and while he can't hit threes with consistency, he makes a lot of his twos and defends and rebounds well.

Charlotte:

  • Derrick Brown - Hasn't shown much in his first three years in the NBA.
  • Boris Diaw - Weird combination of talents from this guy. He could probably play every position in the NBA, and either be really good or really bad. He's a point forward and runs a lot of the offense for Charlotte. He's a decent shooter, but not great. His defense is bad, and he's probably too slow to guard SFs. He's also overpaid. Yet I'm still intrigued, if only because he's so unique. Still, I'd probably pass.
  • Corey Maggette - You know what you're getting from Maggette: Free Throws. He attacks the basket at every opportunity with the intention of getting to the line, and he's very good at it. He's also a good rebounder, but not nearly as good a defender as he should be with his athleticism and strength.

Washington:

  • Rashard Lewis - Most overpaid player in the league. Isn't playing well for a struggling Wizards team.
  • Chris Singleton - Coming into the NBA, he was known for his defense. I haven't watched him play yet, but just judging from the stats, he's done well so far through 10 games.
  • Jan Vesely - Hasn't played enough to get a feel for him yet. I did write this about him pre-draft however.

San Antonio:

  • Danny Green - Has played well for San Antonio so far. He's a good shooter, and decent defender too thanks to this athleticism. He might well develop nicely under Popovich's tutelage.
  • Richard Jefferson - Has transformed his game in San Antonio to fit the needs of the Spurs and has done so extraordinarily well. His biggest change was becoming a better spot-up shooter, and it shows in his three point percentages (44% last year and 55.6% so far this year). Rumor had it the Spurs were going to amnesty Jefferson this past offseason but they never did. If he ever does get amnestied though, he'd be a good pickup, despite his age.
  • Kawhi Leonard - Leonard is doing exactly what we thought he'd be doing so far: playing good D, rebounding well, finishing well at the rim, and struggling with his outside shot. That was a good trade for San Antonio to pick up a lottery talent for George Hill.

Dallas:

  • Vince Carter - Carter keeps getting worse and worse as the years and injuries pile up. He's still a good shooter from outside, but that's about it at this point.
  • Shawn Marion - Marion is still a good defender and rebounder. His outside shot has abandoned him, but he's still good at getting to the basket and converting.
  • Lamar Odom - Odom has been playing absolutely terrible for Dallas so far this year, shooting just 29.5% from the field despite a higher usage rate. This is probably just a slump for Odom as well as an adjustment to a new system. Odom is an excellent rebounder and passer, and a decent defender as well.

Memphis:

  • Dante Cunningham - An undersized PF that can't shoot, but is very athletic and can block some shots and rebound well at the 3.
  • Rudy Gay - Gay can be an incredible scorer, and there have been rumors that he may be available since Memphis is near the tax and almost made it to the Western Conference Finals without him last year. I think that logic is flawed however. Memphis gave Gay a max contract because they really like him, and if they made it so far without him last year, they might well be able to go farther with him. I don't think he's available, and not for what the Kings would offer. I'm not sure he'd be the greatest fit here either, considering he's primarily a scorer.
  • Quincy Pondexter - Can be a good role player in a couple years if he keeps growing. He needs to work on his outside shot.
  • Sam Young - Young is already a good roleplayer, a good rebounder and decent from 15 feet in. He puts a lot of effort on defense, and while he's already 26 is still growing as a player. His outside shot needs a lot of work but if he ever got one he'd be the type of guy every team would want.

Houston:

  • Chase Budinger - Budinger is a very athletic guard/forward that can do a little bit of everything. He reminds me a bit of a poor man's Brent Barry. He struggles on the defensive side of things however, and has struggled in a starting role this season with Houston.
  • Chandler Parsons - Parsons reminds me a lot of Landry Fields in that he can shoot the ball, defend, and rebounds well. He's taken over the starting duties already in Houston.
  • Terrence Williams - Williams is one of those frustrating players who could be amazing, but doesn't put the work in that is needed to become amazing. He's also known as a bit of a headcase, and I don't think we need another one.

New Orleans:

  • Al-Farouq Aminu - Aminu went high in the lottery last year because he has the potential to be able to do a lot of things. He's super athletic, but there were questions about his drive. He's a good rebounder, but a terrible shooter, shooting sub-40% from the field so far in his career.
  • Trevor Ariza - There are some serious pros and cons with Ariza. Pro: He's a great perimeter defender. Cons: He thinks he's a way better shooter than he is.
  • DaJuan Summers - I know he had a great summer league before his rookie season, but he hasn't shown anything in the NBA yet other than being a decent shooter. Perhaps he'll be able to get a better chance in New Orleans.

Notable Free Agents:

  • Andrei Kirilenko - Kirilenko isn't coming over this year but could still be a target this upcoming offseason. Great team defender, and not a black hole on offense.
  • Wilson Chandler - Currently in China and coming to the NBA sometimes in March. Denver still has his rights and he's a RFA so they can match any offers. He's a solid shooter, although he's more of a slasher, and his defense has improved. He could potentially be a good fit for many years to come. I wonder if Denver would match an offer in the $8 million a year range, because I think I'd be willing to offer that.

Notable SFs In the Upcoming Draft:

  • Harrison Barnes - A Potential #1 pick, and probable top 3. Barnes is an excellent scorer, and has the tools to become a very good defender as well.
  • Michael Gilchrist - Kind of like Kawhi Leonard from last year, excellent defender and rebounder, struggles with his outside shot.
  • Terrence Jones - More of a stretch 4 than a true 3. DX compares him to Al Harrington.

***

I don't know if any of the above players could solve the Kings woes. I do know that I do not have any faith in any of the Small Forwards currently on the Kings roster. Even if John Salmons manages to turn it around, he's not a permanent solution. Moving Tyreke Evans to the SF is another option that I've heard, but it's not the ideal fit to me. The Kings need to acquire someone at the SF position that can anchor that spot night in and night out, and do so for a few years.

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