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The Royal Mailbag: Responses to Post-Season Questions

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You asked, we answered!

Large Winter Storm Brings Snow To Seattle Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images

From Rob Hessing via the comments: Do you see the Kings drafting three 2nd rounders or do some/all of these picks being part of a trade? Which players that might be reasonably available at 40 or after have caught your attention?

Tim: I’ll take a guess and say they draft one, trade one, and stash one. The 60th pick is highly unlikely to turn into anything (please don’t yell, I remember Isaiah Thomas too), so I’ll place a likely bet that Vlade selects a random European player to see if he can develop into anything decent over the next several years. The 40th pick is the most valuable, and if the Kings are trying to upgrade the roster or move into the first round, that selection will undoubtedly be on the table. The 47th pick will actually be used on a player, more than likely a forward to try and fill a major gap on the roster.

Assuming the Kings keep the two picks in the 40s, there are several names who I would love to see fall to those spots. Admiral Schofield would be a lot of fun off of the bench for the Kings, while Jontay Porter could turn into a steal if he slides due to his injury history. Dylan Windler and Carsen Edwards will both likely be gone by that point, but if either one is available, Sacramento should snag them. One international name that I’ve become intrigued by is Deividas Sirvydis. He’s an 18-year old European small forward who has shown quite a bit of potential in very few minutes played.

For the later 40s pick, Darius Bazley could be a high-risk, high-reward prospect. The combo forward was the 13th ranked prospect in 2018 according to ESPN, but he decided to skip the college game and serve a $1 million internship at New Balance instead. Yes, you read that correctly. Iggy Brazdeikis is a small forward out of Michigan who knocked down 39% of his three-pointers, while Killian Tilile could be an interesting prospect from a big man perspective.

From JerryandGrantstearswillcuremankind via the comments: What are the trade values of Bogi and Bjelica?

Tim: Too low to trade. Nemanja Bjelica is the only big man on the Kings who can shoot reliably from long distance, and even if the Kings add another forward or center who can knock down shots from deep, a team can never have too much three-point shooting. His contract is relatively cheap for a player who produces at his level, so even if he slides to the end of the bench or out of the rotation, keeping him for emergencies and injury insurance is a smart move. I would only move him as part of a bigger plan in which we needed to match salary.

Bogdan Bogdanovic struggled during a key part of the season and never seemed completely comfortable after his return from injury, but he still provides a unique service for the Kings. The front office needs to find an upgrade at the backup point guard position to enable Bogi to slot in as his natural position as an off-guard who can bring the ball up the floor and run in the offense in a pinch.

Both players are more valuable to the Kings as contributors than they are as trade bait.

From outrider via the comments: What legit rim protectors are available?

Tim: I’ll probably do a deep dive into rim protectors available this offseason at some point later on, but here’s some basic statistical data for some free agents. These stats aren’t definitive, but they can give a quick look at a player’s potential as a guardian of the paint:

Rim Protection

Player Rim DFG% Rim DFG% Percentile Blocks per-75 poss
Player Rim DFG% Rim DFG% Percentile Blocks per-75 poss
Valanciunas -12.4% 96th 2.03
B. Lopez -11.4% 93rd 2.78
R. Lopez -9.5% 88th 1.73
Birch -9.3% 87th 1.58
Noel -8.2% 82nd 3.15
Vucevic -7.4% 77th 1.28
Holmes -7.3% 75th 2.33
Jordan -6.5% 47th 1.28
Dedmon -5.1% 35th 1.5
Chandler -3.5% 23rd 0.45
Bryant -3.1% 19th 1.58
Kanter -1.4% 15th 0.6
Davis -0.8% 12th 0.83
Cauley-Stein 2.9% 0th (last in NBA) 0.83

From airmaxpg via the comments: Are there any possibilities still out there for taking on a contract to acquire draft assets and/or a young player with potential?

Tim: As the horrific contracts handed out in the summer of 2016 begin to expire, we’ll see fewer of those opportunities arise over the next couple of years. With the amount of space available this summer, teams will have multiple chances at dumping contracts if they so choose, but I doubt many, if any of those types of transactions will take place.

A similar move might be able to be made on draft night when it comes to first round picks. Two teams that are facing the luxury tax, Oklahoma City and Milwaukee, own late first rounders that they could look to deal to save themselves some cash. For example, the Thunder are slotted to pick 21st overall, and that player will only receive a salary of $2,453,040 in the 2019-2020 season, but Oklahoma City will Be charged $9,551,489 in luxury taxes to pay out that contract. The Kings could potentially sell a couple of second rounders, take back a mildly bad contract (Patrick Patterson?), and take on the first rounder as a reward. A transaction of Patterson + 21st pick for second rounders would shave $28,133,357 off of the Thunder’s tax bill.

From adamsite via the comments: What would be the most Kangz move this summer that puts us squarely back in the ring of the “biggest joke of an NBA franchise”

Tim: Adam asked this question at 2:49pm on Monday afternoon. I’m not saying we should blame Adam for this incredibly messy Luke Walton situation, but I’m also not, not saying we should blame Adam for this incredibly messy Luke Walton situation.

As far as the question is concerned, *dramatically waves hand at the last several days* That.

From Gravymonkey via the comments: What realistic signings should we make? What would you feel comfortable paying WCS, assuming you want to keep him?

Tim: Assuming Harrison Barnes opts into his $25 million contract, and the Kings release both Yogi Ferrell and Frank Mason (which I expect them to do), and renounce all of their cap holds, they’ll have about $41,987,511 in space to play with. Their priorities should be an upgraded backup point guard, an upgraded starting big man next to Marvin Bagley, and an upgraded backup wing. If I had my druthers:

Brook Lopez – 3 years, $60 million (yes I’m overpaying on the backend of the contract to ensure he leaves Milwaukee)

Pat Beverley – 3 years, $36 million (He’s an underrated shooter at 38% from deep and can defend three positions. He’s my dream signee.)

Trevor Ariza - 2 years, $18 million (veteran presence, average defender, solid shooter)

Corey Brewer – vet minimum (may very well take minutes from Trevor Ariza)

Your new lineup:

Fox/Beverley

Buddy/Bogi

Barnes/Ariza

Bagley/Bjelica

Lopez/Giles

From 1951 via the comments: Is James Harden the least likeable star of all time?

Tim: I think I’m one of the few non-Rockets fans who actually enjoys James Harden. Yes, he takes advantage of every rule he can, but why should I blame him for that? If De’Aaron Fox or Buddy Hield or Marvin Bagley could make fools of the refs as often as Harden could, we would be thrilled. I don’t blame him for embarrassing referees or developing never before heard-of schemes.

He’s also the best scorer in the league. Harden’s 36.1 points per game in the regular season is the 2nd highest average in modern NBA history, trailing only Michael Jordan’s 37.1 points per game in the 1986-1987 season. And for those that want to complain about free throws, Jordan took even more per game during that season. If you subtract Harden’s free throws made per game, he still averaged 26.4 points, good enough for 9th best in the league this season.

He’s the best offensive player in the NBA and would garner my vote for MVP.

From LaBradford via the comments: What is Will’s favorite movie? What is Tim’s least favorite Kings player of all time? What Is Tony’s standard order at Chipotle?

Tim: Matt Barnes followed by Matt Barnes followed by Matt Barnes

Tony: I could write thousands of words about Chipotle, but I’ll try to keep this brief. My standard order is pretty simple and light. Burrito bowl, white rice, steak, fresh tomato salsa, lettuce, guacamole, and most importantly, the Chipotle honey vinaigrette. I’ll change up some of the ingredients from time-to-time, but always always always get the vinaigrette. I cannot stress this enough — if you think you don’t like Chipotle, or are burned out on their offerings, try the vinaigrette. Danny Ainge turned me on to it and I haven’t looked back since.