Mario Hezonja? No.
Trevor Ariza? No.
Jeff Green? No.
Tyreke Evans? No.
Anyone? No. Not yet. Maybe not at all.
The list goes on and on with a position we thought would get some type of improvement in this free agency period. After opting to not draft a wing (unless you really believe Marvin Bagley III will play the three), the Kings are left with only one “true” small forward in Justin Jackson. However, we don’t know if he can contribute at a consistent level based off last year and what we’ve seen so far in the California Classic.
Maybe not signing a small forward could be a good thing. The Kings could opt to play Bogdan Bogdanovic, Iman Shumpert or Garrett Temple at the three. Nigel Hayes is also available.
The question that needs to be answered is will the Kings sign a small forward or not?
Richard has gathered a list of the players that can play at small forward, so let’s look at who the Kings can possibly sign, starting with:
Note: We’ve also included Marcus Smart as a player who can impact what happens at the small forward position if signed.
Luc Mbah A Moute- UFA:
Sanjesh: A player who once played nine games for the Kings in 2013, the Kings could really use his defensive abilities just like the Rockets recently did. He’s not going to take the ball away on offense from the young guys either, which makes it a good signing. He averaged 7.5 points and 3.0 rebounds per game, but as long as he continues having the same defensive intensity (which he will), then I’m good.
Rodney Hood- RFA:
Sanjesh: Hood would be a great addition to this squad. If he can play like he did with Utah, it would be a steal but the Kings would have to pull him from the restricted waters. He will cost more than other options if targeted as well. He has the ability to play the three and can shoot dangerously as we’ve seen in previous seasons. Things just didn’t go well in Cleveland for him but that doesn’t mean he can’t change things up if he came to Sacramento.
Jabari Parker- RFA:
Sanjesh: One of the biggest names still out there, Parker fits everything the Kings need but he is more of a power forward and he’s also restricted. If healthy, we all know how impactful he can be. He has proven to be a good scorer in this league if he can maintain his health as he has the ability to use his smarts to score inside as well as developing his outside shot. Last season, he shot 38 percent from three on 2.6 attempts per game and making one. The real question with him is his defensive strength against much faster wings if he were to play the three for the Kings.
David Nwaba- RFA:
Richard: Young, athletic, and long. He gets a little lost on offense and has nearly as many turnovers as he does assists, but if you’re looking for an option who can lock down an opposing small forward, he could be the guy. It will look odd, as he’s only 6’4” in shoes, and looks even smaller when in his low, disciplined stance. But his seven-foot wingspan surprises everyone, which often takes the shape of decent steal and block rates. Mostly he’s just a great pesterer who makes his assignment seriously uncomfortable when he is on the floor. Also worth noting is that he takes less than one three-pointer per game, but connects on around 35% of them, so if he can grow his volume there it could work.
Vince Carter- UFA:
Sanjesh: Our beloved VC who we’ve only had on our team for a year is next. We already know what he can do and even though I would love him back, I think the Kings should look for another target. Not to say he isn’t a good option, but I think the Kings should look to see what they have elsewhere.
Corey Brewer- UFA:
Sanjesh: I’ve always been fond of what Corey Brewer provides to any team he’s been on. He’s played for quite a few teams in his NBA career, most recently being the Oklahoma City Thunder where he agreed to join them in March after a buyout with the Los Angeles Lakers. He impressed almost immediately to take the starting role away from Andre Roberson (eh?). Brewer has great size and can hold his own on defense, but his real problem is that he has never developed a consistent three ball. Another issue is that he would probably rather join a contender than to come to Sacramento.
James Ennis- UFA:
Richard: If you’re looking for a solid SF, Ennis is your guy. Sometimes it’s not about having a one or two elite skills, but rather having no significant weaknesses. He can be that 3-and-D guy who isn’t exceptional, but also doesn’t hurt you in any way. He’s a true small forward, both offensively and defensively. And at age 28 he’s just, well, average. And that might be what the Kings need in a rotational SF right now. If the Kings are shopping on a budget, he can probably be gotten with an offer around $5 million, allowing them the chance to still have enough of their space to try and take on a bad contract for a 1st round pick.
Dante Cunningham- UFA:
Richard: Cunningham is another classic 3-and-D guy, but may be aging out of the SF position. While generally a plus defender against small forwards, he is losing some athleticism at age 31 and may be better suited as a stretch four. On offense he is a strong spot up guy. If the Kings are satisfied to let him camp out on the three-point line, he can knock ‘em down with efficiency. He could probably be acquired for a bargain if the Kings are willing to give him a multi-year deal. And considering that Bogi is the oldest player on this roster with a multi-year deal, it might not be a bad idea to get a guy his age on the team as a mentor type role player for the future.
Treveon Graham- UFA:
Richard: Graham would be my first choice among the cheap, unrestricted options. He hasn’t really popped yet, but at only 24-years-old, he has plenty of potential. He has already become a strong shooter (43.8% career from three) and while he’s not quite there yet defensively, he can switch well and not be a total turnstile against SGs and PFs. Needs to improve his rebound, steal, and block rates. Also a poor free throw shooter. But I believe that most of those deficiencies can be fixed or improved with more experience in the league. In the mean time, he would immediately fill a positional need and his ability to space the floor would be welcome on this roster.
Marcus Smart- RFA:
Richard: The Kings would have to get really creative if they wish for Smart to be the solution at small forward. Personally I don’t think he should be considered a SF whatsoever, but not everyone agrees. Position in NBA is now defined by who a player can defend, and it’s true that he can defend the 3. However, he can also defend the 1 and the 2. Really, he should defend the best perimeter player on the opposing team, whether that be a PG, SG, or SF. Offensively he is a guard who needs the ball in his hands and is a downright awful shooter. Also it’s likely that prying him away from Boston would be rather costly. My verdict: Smart should not be considered an option at SF for this Kings team.
I know what you’re thinking. The list of available options isn’t great at all, but some leftovers usually have a good piece in there somewhere. Whether the Kings use LaVine like the rumors suggest (written prior to the offer sheet being signed and later matched) or they get an actual small forward either to start or have as a backup, it’s good to know who’s out there that can fit your team. There are plenty of other options that you may have not seen on this list, so feel free to go ahead and tell us who you believe the Kings should take a look at!