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2016 Roundtable Report Cards: Young bigs provide some optimism

Kimani Okearah

The Kings really only utilized one true Power Forward last year in Quincy Acy, but because Willie Cauley-Stein played so much next to DeMarcus Cousins and Kosta Koufos, I'll throw him in there as well.  Both young big men provided a lot of reasons to smile for Kings fans this season, despite the fact that overall the season was pretty dismal.

Eric Moreland was not included in these grades due to a lack of minutes and games played.

As per the poll, the grading scale I used was as follows:

A: Excels

B: Exceeds Expectations

C: Met Expectations

D: Below Expectations

F: Fails

Feel free to share what your own individual grades are in the comments below!


Willie Cauley-Stein

Blake: A

Willie Cauley-Stein showed he is going to be in the NBA for a long time. The numbers (7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1 block) don't necessarily jump off the page, but to see him in person is to understand what he brings. Everything that was hyped about him leading up to last year's draft came true -€” the length, the speed, the understanding of the game -€” it was all there. His short leash under Karl limited him somewhat, but in the times he did get extended minutes, the rookie proved he belonged.

Bryant: A-

A fantastic rookie season that should have included double the minutes. I'm ecstatic to see where a proper development coach can take this guy; he's going to be a joy to watch.

Greg: B

When he got to play, Willie was pure excitement. Such a more well-rounded player than even the most optimistic fans expected. Can't wait to see what his future holds.

Will: B+

After a couple of false starts to his season, in which he was accused of being out of shape by his head coach and then injuring fingers on a backboard on two separate occasions, Willie came on strong in the second half of the season and showed out on the defensive end of the floor. His footwork was pretty fantastic for a rookie and his speed was just as spectacular as promised, and night in, night out he showed the potential to be a Defensive Player of the Year. What really surprised me however, was his offensive polish. He already has good touch on his midrange jumper and has shown he isn't afraid to try a eurostep or a combination of moves to get a good shot up. He isn't nearly the liability that some thought he might be and for that alone Willie exceeded expectations.

Brad: A

He did his thing when he was given the chance. He was a rookie who already has a great grasp for the game, showed far more offensive ability than we thought he had, and never made a scene despite the way he was screwed over this entire season. Considering how terribly this season was run, I have a hard time marking Willie down. I loved everything I saw from him.

section214: A

Willie Cauley-Stein receives an "A," the single highest grade that I am giving out. Simply stated, Cauley-Stein exceeded all of my expectations as a #6 pick, especially a #6 pick big. Historically, point guards and bigs need a little more time to develop in the NBA, and it is rare that you see a big crack the core rotation for a team that is competing for a playoff spot. And while the Kings spit the bit on the playoff chase way too early, Cauley-Stein's minutes were earned on a team that was at least purporting to win, not a team that was in self-proclaimed rebuild mode. Second only to DeMarcus Cousins in minutes per game by a Kings big man, WCS was third on the team in rebounding rate (behind Cousins and Kosta Koufos), second in offensive boards rate (behind Koufos), and second in block rate (also behind Koufos). His +12 net Rtg. (per led the team. There is not an area of Cauley-Stein's game or season that did not blow my expectations (expectations that were set based on prior NBA rookie big history) away.

Akis: A

For the first time since DeMarcus Cousins, I am more excited about a rookie AFTER their rookie season than I was before their rookie season.  Let's face it, the Kings have had some rotten luck in the lottery selecting some of the biggest busts in recent memory.  Willie Cauley-Stein is far from a finished product, but so far he's delivered on all fronts and even a little more.  Defensively, he's a menace who can guard bigs, wings and even occasionally a guard or two.  I remember one sequence this season where he got switch onto James Harden, who had been killing us all game, and he stuck with Harden the entire way to the basket and forced a tough shot without fouling.  That's not something you see many veterans able to do, let alone veterans.

I was expecting the excellent defense from Cauley-Stein, but it's the other parts of his game that truly surprised me.  As the season progressed, he showcased a better offensive game than I realized he had, showing off some skill with the mid-range jumper and being decisive around the basket.  His athleticism is off the charts, and there were numerous times when he'd make a good defensive play and then be the first player down the court on the other side.  I love his mindset that he doesn't want to boxed into any one category and I'm so excited for his future.  Here's hoping he's a Sacramento King for a long time.

Commenters: B+

Out of 1,061 responses, 48.1% voted for B, 44.2% voted for A, 6.9% voted for C, 0.5% voted for D and 0.4% voted for F. On a 4 point grading scale, this comes out to a 3.35, a B+.

Quincy Acy

Blake: A

Like Collison, Acy gives you his all every time he steps on the floor. Acy was sort of an afterthought signing last summer given the number of new players the Kings brought in, but the big man often provided a much-needed spark for a team full of players who go about their business in a subdued nature. Acy knows his role and does it well.

Bryant: A

For what he is, Acy is a blast to watch. Reggie Evans with more youth and even more heart. As long as he's the 4th big man, he should never leave Sacramento.

Greg: A

Brought in on an afterthought contract for bench depth, Acy reminded us why Sacramento loved him in his first tenure with the Kings. A major bright spot for the season.

Will: B-

Quincy was a pleasure to watch this year. He hustles and scraps for every ball, and plays every game with a simple physicality that makes him hard to root against. This season Quincy shot 56% from the field, and though it was in very limited attempts, hit 39% from the three point line. The highlight of the season was Q scoring 18 points on 8-9 shooting in a nationally televised game against the Lakers.  Quincy played a bit better than I expected of him and so he gets a B-.

Brad: B+

Quincy Acy pretty much did everything we asked him to do this year. He provided great energy off the bench (and in the starting lineup) grabbed boards, blocked shots, destroyed rims, and displayed the artform that is the bench celebration to sheer perfection.

section214: A-

I'm giving Quincy Acy an "A-," which represents the second best grade of the fifteen that I am giving out here. Looking at Acy through the prism of an end-of-the-bench guy, he blows away all expectations. From all appearances, he is an extraordinary teammate. My guess is that he goes all-out at practice at all times. He was a positive influence almost every time that he came onto the floor. The "minus" is due to his sub-par rebounding for a power forward. If Acy could improve in this area and solidify his mid-range jumper (big ifs), he could become a legitimate rotation big.

Akis: B+

I liked Quincy Acy the first time he was here and I was a bit sad to see him go but I like him even more now after last season.  This version of Acy is a bit more polished but still full of that frenetic energy and hustle that sparks a team and fanbase.  I wish he would have shot even more threes than he did last year, as he proved very capable from distance but I can understand his desire to be selective.  I still think that's a part of his game he'll have to embrace more as his career progresses, especially in today's NBA.

Quincy's a ton of fun to watch and he's one of those guys you love having on your team and can't stop rooting for even when he's not on your team.  I have a bad feeling that he will not be returning to Sacramento this summer after he declined his player option, and if that's the case I will sorely miss his presence on this team.

Commenters: B

Out of 1,062 responses, 50% voted for B, 32.4% voted for A, 15.4% voted for C, 1.2% voted for D and 0.9% voted for F.  On a 4 point grading scale, this averaged out to a 3.12, a B.

Coming Tomorrow: Centers