The Kings still like Isaiah Thomas, but they are also interested in acquiring a true point guard as the trade deadline approaches, a source said.
This isn't the first time we've heard such rumors. Sam Amick has shared similar sentiments, suggesting the Kings were looking to acquire another point guard. Now, Spears in particular caveats his report with the statement that the Kings like Isaiah Thomas. This, contrary to common assumption, suggests that the Kings might be looking for a back-up point guard, rather than an Isaiah Thomas replacement.
I know a lot of folks around here see talk of the Kings acquiring a point guard and immediately associate that with the Kings trying to replace Isaiah Thomas. While that's certainly a concern, there are reasons it makes a lot of sense for the Kings to acquire another point guard.
The Second Unit
The most obvious reason is that Sacramento's second unit is a disaster right now. As Akis recently pointed out, our Big 3 is often more of an Only 3. If the Kings have an opportunity to acquire a proven back-up point guard, it stands to reason that the Kings second unit would play better. Jimmer Fredette remains inconsistent, and Ray McCallum has shown himself to be far from ready for regular rotation minutes.
Acquiring another point guard takes the pressure off of McCallum and allows him to develop slowly. I still believe he can be a solid back-up point guard in this league, he just needs time to develop. Jimmer Fredette may still find his niche, but I'm becoming less and less hopeful that he might find it in Sacramento.
Insurance, Part 1
The Kings have really struggled when any one of the Big 3 are out. A lot of that is tied to the issues detailed under The Second Unit, but the issues are most apparent if Isaiah has to miss time. Adding point guard depth would allow Michael Malone to scale back Isaiah's minutes slightly, preserving Isaiah's health and energy.
Insurance, Part 2
The elephant in the room, the topic nobody wants to talk about, is what would the Kings do if Isaiah gets a significant offer sheet in restricted free agency this summer. I have no clue how the market for Isaiah will play out, but there's always the chance that someone could offer more than what Pete D'Alessandro wants to match.
In this scenario, the Kings could look to draft a point guard. Marcus Smart has been mentioned often in connection to the Kings, both by fans and by writers. But what if a newly drafted player isn't immediately ready to contribute, a la Ben McLemore this season? It makes sense to have a solid back up as a worst-case fall back in the event Isaiah is allowed to leave.
There was a lot of talk early this season about how the Kings might look with a more traditional point guard. That was supposed to be Greivis Vasquez, but he didn't work out as planned. But there were still flashes. Derrick Williams looked amazing with Vasquez, and was a frequent beneficiary of Vasquez's lobs and precise passes. Who else on the current roster might improve with a better passing point guard?
Now, before you take up your pitchforks, hear me out. Isaiah is a good passer, but he is not a pure passing point guard. There are passes that Isaiah doesn't make as well as some other point guards can. It's worth a look at the rest of the roster to see who benefits from a "pure" point. Experiment, and see what you have.
So What Now?
Now, of course, comes the fun part. You disagree with me, tell me why I'm wrong. Or you heap praise upon my ego, and tell me who the Kings should go get. Have at it.