30Q is our annual month-long preview in the form of questions. Follow along at the 30Q tag or by checking back every morning.
kingsfan628 raised an interesting point in the FanPosts: on paper, the Sacramento Kings' bench looks pretty darn loaded. In the backcourt, it appears we'll have Aaron Brooks, Marcus Thornton and Jimmer Fredette. At the wing, we have John Salmons, Francisco Garcia, Travis Outlaw and Tyler Honeycutt. Up front, we have the No. 5 pick Thomas Robinson, Chuck Hayes and possibly Darnell Jackson. This is all assuming the expected starting five of Isaiah Thomas, Tyreke Evans, James Johnson, Jason Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins.
Dude is right: on paper, that's a nice looking bench unit. There's scoring (Thornton, Brooks), defense (Hayes and theoretically Salmons for now, but possibly also T-Rob and Honeycutt), shooting (Jimmer, Brooks and Thornton, and theoretically Garcia and Outlaw and maybe Honeycutt), rebounding (T-Rob, T-Rob, T-Rob), energy (Thornton, Garcia, T-Rob, Outlaw), veteran savvy (Hayes, Garcia, theoretically Salmons) and confidence (Thornton, Thornton, Thornton). There's no shotblocking on this team at all, but alas. We miss you, SWAT.
The Kings' bench was not particularly good last season: Thornton was a full-time starter, Fredette was a top reserve and wasn't good, Hayes was really bad and the forwards not named Jason Thompson who came off of the bench were abysmal. Brooks puts Jimmer into a more narrow role, and the summer should help Jimmer acclimate. Getting a starting small forward (in theory) shifts Thornton to the bench, where he becomes the team's best reserve since Kevin Martin in the first part of the 2005-06 season. (He backed up Bonzi Wells.) Salmons stays on the bench, where he was decent last season (small sample size, but he shot 53 percent from the floor as a reserve, and 37 percent as a starter). Hopefully Hayes is in better shape and without injury; if not, Robinson will be ready to soak up as many minutes as possible, and while we aren't expecting a ton out of him, remember that J.T. came in as a rookie and played solid basketball from Day 1. Solid basketball from T-Rob is much better than whatever Hayes and J.J. Hickson were doing last season.
The question mark remains small forward. We're not sure Johnson is going to work out as the starter; if not, I think Outlaw might get a look. Keith Smart seemed to like him last season, and Trout has spent some extra time in Sacramento this summer. If that doesn't work, we may be back to Evans at the three and Thornton in the starting lineup. If Johnson or Outlaw work out, the position could be an unlikely source of strength ... but history tells us it'll be sufficient at best and a massive sucking hole at worst. If no one can fill that hole, we might end up with lots of Evans there, and that's probably not for the best.
In conclusion, I have high hopes for the bench, actually, now that you mention it. For the first time since the glory era, the bench could be a strength. We have ... what's the word? Oh yeah, depth. Score one for Geoff Petrie (on paper).
What do y'all think?