Last night the Sacramento Kings were once again without the suspended DeMarcus Cousins. Jason Thompson picked up two quick fouls. And just like that the Kings were once again running thin in the front court. The Kings have played James Johnson and Travis Outlaw for extended stretches at the power forward position with decidedly mixed results. And yet the Kings still maintain an open roster spot.
Although the Kings may not utilize the D-League (or advanced metrics, or scouting) as much as other teams, I still think it's an amazing resource that's available to NBA teams. But, like the Kings, I don't pay close attention to the day-to-day happenings of the D-League. Luckily, SB Nation's Ridiculous Upside is your one-stop shop for all things D-League. They do a great job with their coverage. Keith Schlosser, Managing Editor of Ridiculous Upside, was nice enough to join me for a Q&A to let us know what kind of help might be out there.
The Kings seem to have a noticeable lack of depth amongst their big men. DeMarcus Cousins has missed multiple games to suspension this season. Thomas Robinson has not had the immediate impact Kings fans had hoped for, and has also missed two games to suspension. Even when the Kings are at full-strength, both Cousins and Jason Thompson are prone to getting into quick foul trouble. It seems they could use their open roster spot to add some depth. Kings fans are familiar with and call for options such as former Kings Hassan Whiteside, Darnell Jackson, or Jon Brockman, but who are some D-League big men who have impressed you so far this year?
For Kings fans familiar with a guy like Hassan Whiteside, he just recently signed in the D-League. Give him some more time to strut his stuff, and he too may be a candidate for a later call-up
Well now I'm in love with the sound of Henry Sims. You mention his defensive ability, how would you describe his defensive style? Is he much of a shot-blocker, or more of an energy and positioning type of guy?
He can definitely block shots, that's what he's built to do. But what makes him special is his defensive IQ. Sims understands exactly how to get in an opponent's face enough to distract them. He may average less than one steal per game, but Sims' pestering nature still often causes his opponent to lose the ball under the basket, leaving him or a teammate to pick it up and run the other way.
Ok, good to know. Since the Kings have plenty of scorers (or alleged scorers), I think most Kings fans are looking for any sort of defensive big. For a little variety in the options, are there any guys in the D-League who stand out as skilled shot-blockers?