Sacramento's front office made so many moves this summer that sometimes it's hard to keep track of all of them. Perhaps two of the more surprising moves were giving guaranteed contracts to James Anderson and Duje Dukan. Anderson was a former first round pick by the San Antonio Spurs who ended up playing internationally in Lithuania last season. Dukan had a good summer league for Sacramento but wasn't a stand-out in college.
The fact that these players got guaranteed contracts is a little bizarre given that they are unproven (especially in Dukan's case). Anderson bounced around in his first few years in the NBA before going to Lithuania and had a reputation as a shooter and a scorer and yet he wasn't very consistent. In four seasons in the NBA he averaged just 33% from the three point line, a very similar rate to his 32.9% last year in Lithuania. Dukan also seemingly earned his roster spot due to his three point shooting, but at Wisconsin he only made 32.8% of his threes over four seasons.
So why would the Kings bring on shooters that haven't exactly proven that they can, you know, shoot?
In Dukan's case, you can see that the Kings made a low-risk move for the future. Vlade Divac has made it well known that he wants a stretch four on the roster and Dukan has the potential to be that. By giving Dukan a small deal, the Kings can give him time to potentially develop, particularly in Reno where he'll be given plenty of shooting practice in Joe Arseneault's high-octane system. In fact, I'd be very shocked if Dukan plays at all for the big club this year barring injury or a disappointing season. Dukan's signing was a move for the future, a small hedge after the trade the Kings made this summer in which they sent Nik Stauskas and several picks to Philadelphia.
In Anderson's case, it's a simple case of depth. Right now the Kings have Ben McLemore and Marco Belinelli who will likely play the majority of the minutes at Shooting Guard, and that's not accounting for potential two Point Guard lineups. Anderson isn't a great player but he is a guy who can fill in some minutes in a tight spot. In essence, he's like Ryan Hollins was last year, except at the guard position.
The difference between this year and others is the depth of this team. There are actually multiple options at every position. A year or two ago? A guy like James Anderson might have been expected to be a major contributor. This team's future might have hinged on a guy like Duje Dukan's development. Now thanks to some bigger moves, the Kings can afford to take small risks like with Dukan and Anderson.