Welcome to 30Q. Every September we spend the month counting down 30 questions about the upcoming season.
The Sacramento Kings enter the season with very few clear-cut answers in their depth chart. We know De’Aaron Fox will start at point guard. Beyond that, it’s really anyone’s guess what opening day lineup Dave Joerger will roll out. Let’s take a look, position by position, at the possibilities for the rotation.
Behind De’Aaron Fox we’ll see Yogi Ferrell and Frank Mason III battle for backup minutes. Both players could also conceivably see minutes at shooting guard as well in small lineups. Ferrell was used in two-guard lineups with the Dallas Mavericks last season. Ferrell will enter camp as the presumed number two point guard, given that his signing seems to indiciate that the front office isn’t satisfied with what they’ve seen from Frank thus far.
This is where it gets messy. Bogdan Bogdanovic is likely favored to be the opening day starter at shooting guard, but the Kings need to figure out how to best utilize Bogi and Buddy Hield. While there’s plenty of evidence to suggest the Kings should play both alongside each other, both players are best suited for the shooting guard role.
Can anyone play small forward? Last season the Kings opened the year with Justin Jackson as the starting 3, but he couldn’t maintain the position. He should still be in the mix, but may not be the starter unless he improves significantly. Iman Shumpert could very well be the opening day starter given Joerger’s penchant for relying on veterans. As mentioned before, Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic could also see minutes at the three. Nemanja Bjelica can also play small forward in bigger lineups.
[Note: the author refuses to acknowledge the idea of Marvin Bagley III playing small forward this season]
The Kings big man situation is so messy it’s not even really worth differentiating between centers and power forwards. Dave Joerger will need to balance minutes for the following big men:
Marvin Bagley III
Even if Davis is waived, that’s still seven big men to sort out. Even if Zach Randolph doesn’t play a single minute this season (I think I just heard Joerger scoff at me), that six big men to balance. It’s a mess, and at the moment there’s no clear cut solution. Maybe Skal doesn’t earn the minutes despite bulking up this summer, or maybe Willie Cauley-Stein takes a leap and is a clear cut starter. The situation could clarify itself depending on how the guys perform. But if they don’t, there’s very little to determine who deserves minutes.
We have more questions than answers with the Kings rotation, and we’ll probably remain in the dark until the season begins. What we do know it that how well Joerger manages the rotation will have a significant impact on the team’s performance, how the young players develop or fail to do so, and maybe Joerger’s future with the team.