The Kings announced on Tuesday afternoon that forward Skal Labissiere has been assigned to their G-League affiliate, the Reno Bighorns, and have recalled center Georgios Papagiannis. Labissiere was averaging a respectable 7.7 points (.443 FG%, .444 3pt%, .800 FT%), 4.0 rebounds, and 0.7 assists in 17.1 minutes per game before the demotion.
Papagiannis averaged 14.2 points (.537 FG%, .929 FT%), 10.3 rebounds, 1.7 blocks and 29.0 minutes per game over the course of his most-recent 6-game G-League stint.
Labissiere (and former starting frontcourt mate, Zach Randolph) was removed from the starting lineup prior to Saturday nights game against the Bucks in favor of Willie Cauley-Stein and Kosta Koufos. Randolph still played heavy minutes, while Labissiere seemingly fell out of the rotation, only picking up 4 minutes after his benching.
This is certainly... a move? While you could probably categorize Labissiere’s 2017-18 season as disappointing thus far, I didn’t think his play warranted a G-League demotion, but I would guess he’ll be back up with the Kings sooner than later, so, we’ll have to wait and see on that front.
This move makes some sense with the context of James Ham’s report that Willie Cauley-Stein is going to miss a couple of games. It looks like Papagiannis is going to pick up some minutes for Cauley-Stein at center, with JaKarr Sampson filling in for Labissiere at forward.
Willie Cauley-Stein will not make the two game trip to Cleveland and New Orleans due to a lower back strain.— James Ham (@James_HamNBCS) December 5, 2017
Sampson played well against the Bucks on Saturday, and his energy, rebounding, and defense are certainly qualities the Kings could use in their rotation.
I welcome the idea of giving Papagiannis some minutes with the Kings at some point this season, although I wouldn’t have predicted that now would be the time. Vlade Divac and co. need to figure out what he is, one way or another, so they can start integrating him into the future of this team, or move on. They weren’t learning anything in Reno.