Welcome back to the mailbag! Will is unavailable for this session, leaving me, your favorite long-limbed writer, to answer your queries. We had a large chunk of questions about current Kings players, so that will be the theme this week. Remember, if you have questions for us, you can ask in the following ways:
-You can reach us by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
-You can tweet the @SactownRoyalty Twitter account, or tweet/DM us directly at @WillofThaPeople and @TimMaxwell22
-You can ask our Sactown Royalty Facebook page!
Let’s dive in!
BestHyperboleEver via the comments: Top-3 untouchables on the team? Of the non-untouchables, top-3 assets in terms of trade value.
Tim: I’ll answer the first part of this question as if there was an expansion draft and the Kings could only protect three players. I would choose to keep De’Aaron Fox, Marvin Bagley, and Buddy Hield. Even with the addition of MB3, I still believe Fox represents the highest ceiling of any member of the young core. He’s an obvious choice. Bagley was the second overall pick, and although he wasn’t the favored pick for most fans, he was still the third of fourth ranked player in a deep draft. I’m not handing him away for free. The final call is a close one between Harry Giles and Buddy Hield. I’m taking Hield due to his fit with Fox as a top-10 shooter from deep in the league, and the lack of health concerns he has exhibited throughout his career.
Bogdan Bogdanovic holds the most trade value outside of those three players. He’s not on a rookie-scale contract, but his skillset is diverse enough to plug into almost any roster. If the Kings have the desire to shed a redundant asset to acquire a starting small forward at some point during the season, Bogi is the most valuable piece to deal.
Vlade’s $11 million in cap space is an asset that will continue to increase in value as the trade deadline approaches, but that value will fall off of a cliff if it goes unused until the summer of 2019. Hopefully, a salary-dump or trade facilitation comes along that sees the Kings acquiring a young player or draft asset in exchange for taking on a bad contract.
Once again, Harry Giles is a part of the debate, and once again, he loses out to another player. While HGTV hold a ton of potential, the redshirting of his rookie season, combined with his significant injury history, destroys almost all of his trade value, especially in comparison to his potential if healthy. Due to that fact, Willie Cauley-Stein takes third place in this conversation. While Kings fans have been justifiably frustrated with his odd areas of growth, he’s still a young, athletic center who is a bench big at worst, and a potential starting center at best. Another organization might look at the Kings history of non-development and take a flier on the former lottery pick.
gsloth via the comments: What do you want to see out of Buddy in his 3rd year?
Tim: I’m much higher on Buddy than most folks, as I believe there’s a pretty decent chance that he becomes the second or third best player to emerge from this nucleus. That being said, Hield’s growth is dependent on three factors: aggression, defense, and opportunity. The first two are in his control. Buddy is a top-10 shooter from the outside, and his shot attempts from that range should increase dramatically next season. Too often last year, he chose to move the ball around the floor or drive to the basket, rather than taking the open shot from beyond the arc. Hield has an elite skill; he needs to utilize it. The Bahamian Baller also flashed a bit of defensive acumen in the latter part of the year. He’s never going to become a Marcus Smart or Andre Roberson, but even becoming an average defender would boost Hield’s value immensely. Unfortunately, the final part of the equation is somewhat out of his control. Dave Joerger needs to find a way to keep his best shooter, and best or second-best player from last season, on the court for thirty minutes per game. If that happens, the Kings will be in a much better position to win on a night to night basis.
Passion4Purple24 via the comments: What are reasonable expectations for Justin Jackson’s sophomore year: ceiling and floor?
Tim: Justin Jackson needs to hit shots. That’s it. If he can climb out of the gutter that was his three-point percentage last season, he becomes a rotational NBA contributor. Jackson is a smart player, and he works relatively hard on defense, but his area of strength needs to find itself in his shooting. If he can’t do that, he won’t make it past his rookie contract. His floor is getting buried on the bench and spending most of his time in the D-League, while his ceiling is that of the fifth-best starter on the team. His rookie season was unimpressive, while Jackson’s much-hyped Summer League performance wasn’t anything to write home about. I expect him to struggle to find minutes during the 2018-2019 campaign.
Arcthunder via the comments: Joking aside, what do you think we can reasonably expect from Bagley in his rookie year?
Tim: This is a tough one, as we didn’t get the opportunity to watch much of the second overall pick during Summer League. First and foremost, I will be looking for that incredible motor that was touted throughout the draft process. Maybe it was fatigue or frustration or some other factor, but two of his four summer contests showcased a moderately disengaged player. For a rookie who seems to be a bit behind with most of his half-court skills, Bagley must get after every possession.
Aside from that, the Kings can’t fall into the trap of assuming he’s ready to contribute in the post, because he’s not. The right-hand is non-existent, and he was mostly a disaster with his back to the basket earlier in the month. Getting out in transition and finding him easy buckets in the open court will be key to building his confidence until he refines his offensive repertoire.
A stat line expectation pulled from thin air: 30 MPG, 12 PPG, 8 RPG, 1 APG, 1 BPG, 32% 3P, 48% FG.
From 1951 via the comments: Which STR writer(s) puts ketchup on a hotdog?
Tim: Why are people still eating hot dogs? If it’s a bratwurst, I’m putting grilled onions and peppers on it: no sauces. If I am forced to eat a cheap hot dog, it must be grilled and blackened. I’m putting ketchup on it. Mustard is vomit-inducing. Relish is gross. Raw white onions? Pass. But please, just don’t make me eat a hot dog.
Tony: Ketchup is for babies – hands down the worst condiment. I would never put it on anything.
Richard: So if it’s any type of sausage, like anything above a ball park frank, I’m going mustard. But those cheap dogs, I hit the ketchup and relish to hide the taste of animal byproduct.
Greg: I stick to mustard. Spicy mustard, preferably. Like Richard, I’ll only throw some ketchup on when it’s a really cheap hot dog that needs to be disguised in every way possible.