The Kings have been pretty honest about expectations heading into the 2017-18 NBA regular season. This year is about development first, and everything else second. It’s the right approach for a plethora of reasons we’ve already talked about a hundred times, and the fact that everyone seems to be on the same page is refreshing. There isn’t a DeMarcus Cousins contract extension looming. They don’t need to win now anymore. It’s all about the kids.
The Kings have some really fun kids, and that should make another losing season somewhat tolerable, but it’s not all fun and games. This season is vital for the Kings moving forward. Sacramento has 10 players on their roster that are still on rookie contracts. If you want to throw Jack Cooley, JaKarr Sampson, and Matt Jones into the young player mix, that’s 13 kids. THIRTEEN!
Some of them won’t pan out. Some of them hopefully will, but as of this writing, most of them are at the same stage in their development. It’s time, this season, for some of these guys to start separating themselves from the rest of the pack. Before we get into predictions, how about an impromptu young player power ranking?
1. Buddy Hield
2. Bogdan Bogdanovic
3. Willie Cauley-Stein
4. De’Aaron Fox
5. Skal Labissiere
6. Justin Jackson
7. Malachi Richardson
8. Frank Mason
9. Harry Giles
10. Georgios Papagiannis
I’m basing this on some arbitrary mixture of NBA potential we’ve seen so far in both college, overseas, and the pros, along with what they’ve shown in their NBA careers to this point. For example, I’m not saying De’Aaron Fox is worse than Willie Cauley-Stein, necessary, I’m saying Cauley-Stein is probably the better NBA player right now considering Fox hasn’t played a minute of NBA basketball. It’s a dumb list.
The truth is, you could shuffle this a million different ways and wouldn’t get a huge argument from me, and that is really my point here. All of these guys are so close right now. The Kings need separation. The Kings need players to step up and claim their spot moving forward. So, who does that this season?
De’Aaron Fox is the most likely candidate. If he goes out and has an excellent rookie year like some NBA pundits are predicting, we can go ahead and pen him in as the starting point guard of the future. I’d hope one of Bogdanovic or Hield do the same at shooting guard, so we can put the backcourt questions to rest. Once you take a look at the frontcourt, things get a lot more dicey. Will Cauley-Stein, Labissiere, Giles, or Papagiannis claim one of those front court spots as their own? I’m significantly less sure, but hopeful.
What do you think?