It's been a while since the Sacramento Kings have had this many rookies crowding their roster. The 2009 squad featured five rookies (Tyreke Evans, Omri Casspi, Donte Greene, John Brockman, and Garrett Temple), and like this 2016 squad, three of those rookies were first-round picks. Unlike 2009, though (or basically any year since 2006), this year's rookies won't be expected to play key roles or will be needed to play right away. Sacramento can (hopefully) afford to be patient with this group, and judging by the raw talents across the board, that's best for everyone involved.
Predicting how any rookies will handle their first season is impossible when considering both the physical and mental demands of making the leap. Any of these players could prove more game ready than expected, or they could prove they need extensive time with the D-League in Reno.
Georgios Papagiannis, the proud owner of the coveted Peja Stojaković "The Kings drafted who?!" Trophy (last owned by Nik Stauskas, who snagged it from Jason Thompson), looked like a shell-shocked 19-year-old who was feeling the difference in the pace between Euro and NBA games. His post-ups went no-where, he didn't show the awareness to move any part of the offense, and while he was more confident on defense, that was hampered by his lack of speed (and perhaps by his knee stiffness). The only place that Papagiannis will likely visit more than the Reno practice facility this season is the weight room to work on his conditioning. He's a complete project player, and while there are reasons to be hopeful for his long-term value, he's got a long way to go.
Skal Labissiere provided the most optimism of the rookies coming out of the Summer League; he showed developing, balanced scoring skills, and shed his college deer-in-the-headlights look with scrappy defense, tough post plays, and near-constant effort. If the sweet jumper/three-point range he flashed in the Summer League continues to develop, he could seriously help the Kings floor spacing, but immediate expectations still need to be tempered. He's still an inexperienced player with an inexperienced awareness on both ends of the court.
The Kings glut of talent at the big man spots will help them be patient with both Papagiannis and Labissiere; Kosta Koufos is still on the roster, and Sacramento added Anthony Tolliver as a stretch-four option. If those two don't secure all the minutes behind DeMarcus Cousins and Willie Cauley-Stein, Matt Barnes, Rudy Gay, and Omri Casspi will eat up any leftovers at the four. Vlade Divac might be crossing his fingers that one of the two big rookies are ready for minutes come February so he has more freedom to move Koufos, but the roster currently constructed likely won't have the playing time for the rooks.
The guard rotation is less of a log-jam, although less by the numbers and more by uncertainty; aside from the soon-suspended Darren Collison, you can't look at any of the Kings guards and be sure of what they'll provide this season. Both of the guard rookies—Malachi Richardson and Isaiah Cousins—could snag decent minutes if they explode in training camp, but much like the bigs, expect they'll spend decent time in Reno. Richardson needs to prove he can be an efficient offensive player (he shot 37% from the field in college and 36.7% in the Summer League), but he showed restraint in his shooting and was aggressive and determined on defense. Cousins is middling combo-guard with developing passing instincts, but the Kings could use another guard with decent three-point success (of the Kings guards, only Collison [at 40%] eclipsed 36% shooting last year). Both players could work their way into that uncertain depth chart, but again, the Kings probably should—and hopefully can afford—to be patient.
Former King Darrick Martin is now in charge of the Reno Bighorns, and his experience as a player development coach will hopefully be a strong boon to the Kings long-term plans. This might not be a playoff team, but with the glut of talent at the big man spot and the new additions at the guard, it's hard to see any of the rookies needing to play big minutes baring a trade. The only clear expectation we can have about this rookie class; one of the veterans will need to spend three-to-four times more than normal on popcorn.