If you’re missing the fast paced, high scoring style of last season’s Sacramento Kings team, you might want to check out what’s happening in Stockton this year.
The Stockton Kings are running and gunning at full tilt. They rank first among G-League teams in three-point percentage, third in offensive rating, and sixth in pace.
They are also 11-5 on the season, including an undefeated 6-0 record at home. But wins don’t mean everything in a developmental league, as Stockton’s head coach Ty Ellis is quick to acknowledge.
“We’re here for a reason, not a season,” Ellis said Tuesday night. “It’s my job to help you guys reach your ceiling.”
With that in mind, lets take a look at some of the players on the Stockton squad that are making a name for themselves.
Kyle Guy, 22 year-old guard
The 55th pick in the 2019 draft has been given plenty of room to work down in Stockton. Guy is heavily involved in the offense with a team-high 25% usage rate. He is putting up 21.5 shots per game, which ranks second highest in the entire G-League.
Unfortunately, his efficiency leaves something to be desired. Guy’s shooting splits currently sit at 37.1 FG% / 34.9 3PT% / 80.0 FT%. It’s good that he is getting these shots up, but there’s no reason to think he’ll get work in the NBA until he can start hitting with more consistency.
Outside of shooting, Guy has shown promise as a passer. His healthy assist numbers (5.5 per game) and solid assist-turnover ratio (2.32) suggest that Guy could eventually work at the point guard position, which is important for a player listed at 6’1” and 170 pounds.
DaQuan Jeffries, 22 year-old forward
The undrafted Jeffries originally signed with the Orlando Magic, but was cut before the season started. Sacramento scooped him up with a two-way contract, and he’s shown some promising play with the Stockton team in the mold of a 3-and-D wing.
Jeffries is only 6’5”, but he boasts a full 7’0” wingspan and a strong 216 pound frame. He’s consistently been the strongest defender on the team, and has 1.3 steals and 0.9 blocks per game. Stockton’s defensive rating with Jeffries on the floor is a very respectable 100.3.
Offensively, he has recorded 17.4 points per game on shooting splits of 45.2 FG% / 35.8 3PT% / 63.6 FT%. He went off last week against Sioux Falls for 44 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Rebounding is another strength of his, as he averages 7.1 boards per game.
Gabe Vincent, 23 year-old guard
While Kyle Guy can’t be matched in terms of usage and shot volume, Gabe Vincent is not far behind him. Vincent gets up 18.4 shots per game at a much higher efficiency than Guy. Vincent’s shooting splits this season are an impressive 46.9 FG% / 41.1 3PT% / 90.3 FT%.
It’s likely that Vincent, listed at 6’3” and 200 pounds, will be stuck at the shooting guard position, as he doesn’t have the size to defend forwards or the passing ability to play the point. But while he lacks versatility, he does what he does very well.
When Coach Ellis was asked about which players he thought could grab the attention of the league, Gabe Vincent was the first name he mentioned. As a bonus, Vincent is a Stockton native who played his high school ball just a few miles from the Stockton Arena.
The rest of the roster
Caleb Swanigan is with the Stockton team right now, and is looking like a bully on the glass. He averages 12.3 rebounds per game, including a 16 board showing Thursday night. However, the G-League is often smaller and there are generally more boards to go around, so that may not translate. He has also really struggled offensively with a mere 41.7 FG%.
Isaiah Canaan, a six year veteran of the NBA, has been brought onto the roster. Canaan has played very well in this three games, averaging 20.7 points and 9.7 assists, but is unlikely to be viewed as a prospect at 28 year-old. Nonetheless, having strong veteran play from the point guard position is helpful in setting up the growth of younger guys on the roster.
Sacramento rookies Justin James and Wenyen Gabriel, both on standard NBA contracts, have made quick trips down to Stockton this season. Both looked great in their stints there, and may get a few more games with the G-League team sprinkled in here and there in order to stay sharp. But so far they have proven their worthiness of their spots in the big league.
What to watch for
The Stockton Kings are in Las Vegas this weekend to compete in the G-League Winter Showcase. They’ll be back in town after Christmas to take on the Canton Charge and the Texas Legends before heading out on a road trip.
Guy, Jeffries, and Vincent are definitely the players to keep an eye on from an NBA perspective. Both Guy and Jeffries are under Sacramento’s control, and could get a chance with the big club if they iron out some consistency issues. Vincent on the other hand can be signed by any NBA team at any time.