When the Sacramento Kings signed Anthony Tolliver and Garrett Temple this past offseason, it was advertised as moves to build the team’s culture and fill out the roster with role players to help with a playoff push. The playoff push was also the logic behind adding veterans like Arron Afflalo, Ty Lawson, and Matt Barnes. In the wake of the DeMarcus Cousins trade, the Kings are no longer thinking about the playoffs. As such, Matt Barnes was waived and Afflalo probably won’t be with the Kings next season. Ty Lawson’s future with the franchise is unknown, but hopefully the Kings will move on. So that leaves us with Temple and Tolliver, and they are the perfect veterans to have on your team in a rebuilding effort.
James Ham of NBC Bay Area had a recent article highlighting Georgios Papagiannis and his ability to set great screens. And while it’s an interesting read about Papagiannis’ NBA development, it was details about the veterans that stood out to me.
[Papagiannis] hasn't mastered the art of the roll off of the screen, which Temple said that both he and Lawson have been working on.
Later in the article it continues:
"He's a great screen setter, but sometimes if you don't talk, I run into screens on the other end to," Temple said. "He's done a great job over the last two or three games of being a lot more vocal, so the progression is good to see."
Temple pointed out that following games, especially on the road when the team boards a flight to a new city, the young players, including Papagiannis, have their iPads out studying the previous game. They ask questions from the veterans and they are always listening.
The article is highlighting the work that the youngsters are putting in, but it’s Temple’s involvement that stands out. And it reminded me of another quote we heard about veterans coaching the rookies, this time from Tolliver.
.@kayte_c on Anthony Tolliver’s comments to Skal Labissiere: “My job is to teach you how to take my job.”— Aaron Bruski (@aaronbruski) March 26, 2017
Temple and Tolliver both had great reputations as strong locker room leaders before they joined the Kings. They’ve lived up to those reputations and then some. Both players are going out of their way to help nurture and develop the younger members of the roster. But both are also still playing well and contributing on the floor.
Temple is signed to the Kings for a few more seasons. Tolliver’s contract includes the option for the Kings to release him with minimal financial impact this coming offseason. While it was smart to build in the financial flexibility, the Kings no longer need any extra cap space, and would be insane to get rid of Tolliver.
The Kings have had rosters full of young up-and-coming players before. What they always lacked were veterans like Temple and Tolliver. As Kings fans, we should be thankful those two are on the roster.