Welcome back to the mailbag! We received your questions and queries, sorted through the nonsense, and waxed eloquently about the draft, free agency, and Vlade’s hot seat. Remember, if you have questions for us, you can ask in the following ways:
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Let’s dive in!
Anthony Gibbs via email: Let’s say the Kings force the issue here and draft Porter. What type of FA should they go after if they do draft him? Would someone like Aaron Gordon fit with him? Go big on Capela? Maybe go lighter with a Hezonja?
Tim: Clint Capela is my number one free agent option, regardless of who the Kings draft. All three prospects, Doncic, Bagley, and Porter Jr., will likely be defensively challenged when they come into the league, so adding a rim protector who can also switch onto the perimeter will be a perfect fit. In the instance we do take Porter Jr., I would stay far, far away from both Aaron Gordon and Jabari Parker. The Kings cannot afford to have their small forward (Porter Jr.), power forward (Gordon/Parker), and center (Giles) all extremely injury prone.
Will: In a scenario where the Kings draft MPJ, I think the Kings have got to free up some space in the front court for a big that rebounds at a high level and knows their role. Clint Capela does that. I’m fine with Tim putting him at the very top of the list. The Kings haven’t been shy in recent years at throwing big numbers at big names, so I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they offered Capela the max. (Sidenote: Imagine the tweets Boogie Cousins sends out the day Sacramento offers Capela a max contract.) Another name I’d offer up is, dare I say, Enes Kanter. Kanter has said publicly that he’s looking for some financial security and something more than the one year, $18.6 million with the Knicks. If Enes Kanter decides to opt out, I could see Sacramento offering up 3 years, $16 million a year for one of the premiere rebounders of the last couple seasons. That being said, one or two of Koufos, Cauley-Stein, Labissiere, Randolph and Giles will have to go. Of your suggestions, I’d be happy with Gordon, very nervous about Parker, and quietly optimistic about Hezonja becoming a pissy version of Omri Casspi in Sacramento.
Ryan Robertson via Twitter: Hey guys, I have a question for the mail bag. If (and when) the Kings start the season 5 - 10 or there about, and the draft pick is struggling and/or someone else from the draft taken later is shining, how hot is Vlade’s seat? How about Dave’s? Who would you guess goes first?
Tim: Vlade’s seat is already on the warm side. I won’t speak to a specific record, but if the Kings don’t look like a significantly improved team between the number two pick, whoever they sign in free agency, and the development of the young core, Divac will be gone by next summer, and possibly much sooner. And if Vlade is canned, Joerger will likely follow suit with the new GM (Hello, David Griffin!). The only scenario in which I see Vlade firing Joerger is if the core actually looks great next season, but Dave’s archaic systems hold them back. In that case, our Front Office may look to upgrade the man with the clipboard.
Will: I think regardless of what happens this season, the chances of Vlade making it through to the end are at, like, 95%. The Kings aren’t a regular franchise, with an odd ownership structure and an even odder management structure (on the basketball side of things anyways). I think Vivek trusts Vlade in a way he hoped he could trust Chris Mullin/Pete D’Allesandro and, as such, I could see Vlade with an Ernie Grunfeld-like tenure with the Kings. My guess would be on Dave getting the boot first. Dave is surly with the media and antiquated with his basketball philosophy and an easy patsy if things go way, way off course. That being said, I think this year is a still a “development year” and they both make it through to the end if Sacramento wins more than... say... 25 games.
Wonderchild via comments: There’s a lot of talk about the Kings trading down out of the 2 spot, but what are the chances they are actually trying to acquire a 2nd lottery pick instead? and what assets do you think the Kings would need to sacrifice to get another lottery pick?
Tim: I don’t think there is a very high chance that Sacramento walks away with another lottery pick tomorrow night. The Grizzlies aren’t going to give away the number four pick to dump Parson’s salary; they didn’t tank as hard as possible for an entire season to throw that asset away. The Grizzlies will look for a significant return, even with Parsons attached, to part with their coveted asset. More than likely, they’ll look to trade back for a later lottery selection to get out from under their cap-straining albatross. If Vlade did get involved in those discussions, he would likely need to surrender either Buddy Hield or Bogdan Bogdanovic in the deal, something I’m reluctant to do. The Nuggets reportedly offering the 14th overall pick for a team to take on Faried’s expiring contract also seems unrealistic.
Will: I think the chances they are trying to acquire a second lottery pick is pretty high, I think the Kings actually pulling the trigger and getting it done are very, very low. Tim is right on the money here by saying we’d have to surrender either Buddy or Bogi and that’s not something I’m really willing to do. Teams looking to unload a lotto pick can have anyone on this roster not named De’Aaron, Chavano, Bogdan, Harry or Jack, but I don’t see that getting the Kings into the Top 14. Maybe, just maybe, they trade into the late teens to grab a player like Miles Bridges or Robert Williams if that guy falls further than expected but it just feels unlikely.
HongKongKingsFan via comments: Which is the best lineup if we draft Doncic ? (Or put it in another way, Doncic better suits as SG or SF?)
Tim: Doncic is a wing. He’s 6’8” and 230 pounds. If he’s in a Kings uniform, he’ll probably guard opposing wings on defense and will flip-flop between primary and secondary ball-handler on the offensive side of the floor. If Luka is the pick, I would love to see Vlade upgrade the starting 4/5 spot with one of the restricted free agent big men. The dream scenario: Fox, Bogi, Doncic, Giles, Capela with Buddy scoring off of the bench and Zach Randolph washing towels in the locker room.
Will: Yeah, Doncic is a small forward. WHEN he’s in a Kings uniform (C’mon Tim) Doncic will guard against the 3 or small ball 4’s in certain cases. Disagreeing with T-Bone here though; Fox, Buddy, Doncic, Giles (knock on wood), and free-agent-rim-runner is the best lineup. Buddy is going to be our biggest threat to score out there on any given night next season, especially with two high caliber passers in Fox and Doncic. Put the scoring honus on your best scorer, and give Doncic time to adjust and eventually assume the role of lead guy. Meanwhile, Bogi comes off the bench with whatever bench point guard we have out there, and the Kings are never without two willing passers on the floor at the guard spots.
Chent via comments: Why is Chandler Hutchison not a projected lottery pick? He looks like he’s going to be a steal.
Tim: It’s rare for a team to spend a lottery pick on a senior. Hutchison’s numbers look great (20 points, 7.7 boards, and 3.5 assists per game), but he was also a senior playing against much less experienced players in a weak conference. His size and scoring ability are both indicative of a solid wing, but teams are looking for stars, a ceiling he is unlikely to reach. If the Kings were to acquire another first round pick in the late teens or early 20s, Hutchison could be an interesting prospect. Blazer’s Edge recently did a solid job profiling him for those looking for more info.
Will: With all due respect to Chandler Hutchinson (a name straight from 2K), I couldn’t tell you one thing about him without having to first Google him for 15 minutes. I ain’t no fake. I defer to the Giraffe for judgement.
TheFlyingNone via comments: There’s no chance this ends well, right?
Tim: Kangz gonna Kangz
fire_voisin via comments: How is Vivek measuring Vlade’s success?
Tim: I have no idea how Vivek is measuring Vlade’s success. I have no idea how he measured Mike Malone’s success versus George Karl’s versus Pete D’Allesandro’s. I do believe that Vlade is probably making his last stand with this draft pick and the summer of free agency, and if the results aren’t impressive, Ranadive will look to move on from Divac.
Will: My guess is cigarettes smoked per 36 minutes. Too few and he’s deferring to much to Williams and Stojakovic. Too many and he’s nervous about the decision he’s making, and just chucking ideas left and right. Seriously though, I talked about this earlier. I think Vlade is going to be with us for awhile. This season in particular is about showing improvement on the court and maybe doing a bit to soften the early mistake of trading a pick away so we can sign Marco Belinelli and Rajon Rondo. If Vlade snags a pick for next draft and the Kings win enough to make the pick something like a nineth or later lotto pick, I think the Vladfather is around for awhile longer.
Big thanks to everyone who sent in questions! Keep them coming and we’ll try to do this every few weeks. Happy Draft Day tomorrow. May the Light of Luka shine upon all of us.