The Sacramento Kings are rumored to be interested in signing Rodney Hood, according to the Sacramento Bee’s Jason Jones. At first glance this seems like there are many reasons the Kings would be making a mistake signing Hood, but after giving it some thought I’ve changed my mind. The Sacramento Kings should absolutely sign Rodney Hood.
Sure, critics will tell you that he’s a shooting guard. According to Basketball Reference Hood has played approximately 79% of his career minutes as a shooting guard. The Utah Jazz, where Hood had his most success, played Hood almost entirely at shooting guard, even after losing Gordon Hayward in the offseason. But Hood was used primarily as a small forward after being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers. That proves he can play there. You’ll just want to ignore that Hood put up the worst numbers of his career with the Cavs. A coincidence, I’m sure. It probably has nothing to do with playing a different position. Also disregard that Hood’s rebounding didn’t improve at all despite playing a forward position. That will come with time, probably. He’s 6’8”, after all. Despite being just 208 lbs, I’m sure he can handle guarding NBA forwards.
As for his time in Cleveland, it’s worth addressing the struggles Hood had there. It was an adjustment for Hood to be part of a better team with a clear path to the NBA Finals, and Hood struggled to fill the role of scoring guard. It got so bad that Hood refused to re-enter a game when the Cavs were down 30 points. He went on to enjoy five DNP-CDs in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. He played 3 seconds in Game 1 on the NBA Finals. He played 4 minutes in Game 2. But I don’t think any of this should discourage the Kings. Sure, there are questions about his character as a teammate, but that probably won’t hurt a young Kings locker room that currently has great chemistry.
Critics might also point out that Hood has a habit of getting hurt. He’s missed at least 20 games in three of his four NBA seasons. But hey, being available to play (or be sat by the coach) for 75% of your games is pretty good.
None of this should discourage the Kings from signing Hood. For his career he’s averaged 13 points per game. He’s at 17 points per 36 minutes, and at a sprightly 25 years old (he’ll be 26 before the season starts), more minutes are surely all it will take to unlock his potential. Besides, since he normally plays just 75% of his games in a season, he’s low mileage!
The Kings should absolutely sign Rodney Hood. After all, Dave Joerger wanted the Memphis Grizzlies to draft Hood and never forgave the front office for passing on him. The last time the front office signed a player because Dave Joerger really liked him we got 54 games of Matt Barnes. But I’m sure this time would work out better.
The final concern that should be addressed is Hood’s status as a restricted free agent. The Cleveland Cavaliers can match any offer the Kings make. But if the Kings make a sizeable offer that would put the Cavs into the luxury tax if they matched. Besides, sometimes small market teams just have to overpay a little to get players here. After all, that has never backfired for the Kings.
This seems like a no-brainer signing. Get it done, Vlade. Let’s bring in Rodney Hood!