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Free Agency Preview: Point Guards

The ten best options the Kings could find this summer

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Los Angeles Clippers Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

It’s no secret that the Sacramento Kings are looking to add another distributor off the bench. Mark Stein reported interest in Jeremy Lin back in January. It was also suggested by the Dunc’d On NBA podcast just this week that the Kings are not very high on Yogi Ferrell, and could be interested in moving on.

When De’Aaron Fox came off the floor this season, Sacramento’s defensive rating jumped from 109.7 to 113.5, per Cleaning the Glass. While Yogi provided a spark on offense, his size and on-ball defense created some issues. He also is more of a scorer than a distributor, which may not fit with what the Kings have in mind for next season.

Size, experience, defensive acumen, and a willingness to pass are likely to be targeted qualities for Sacramento’s approach to the point guard position in free agency. With that in mind, I’ve formed a list of the ten best options on the market this summer.

10. Jeremy Lin, 30 (UFA)

Lin has had a tough couple of years. His playing time has been limited by serious injuries and he has changed teams twice since the start of 2018. But before that he had a very solid five year run, with per-game averages of 12.5 points and 4.5 assists along with shooting splits of 43%/35%/81%. If he stays healthy he could provide some decent bench minutes and bring a veteran presence to the guard unit. If the Kings are looking for a cheap option, Lin could make a lot of sense.

Suggested contract offer: 1 year / $5 million

9. Quinn Cook, 26 (RFA)

Quinn Cook may not be the best passer or defender in this group, but he does have one truly elite still: the long ball. He’s a career 41.8% shooter from three on a pretty decent sample size of 330 attempts. And while he may not have been in the league that long, he does have the experience of playing in two NBA Finals. Acquiring a restricted free agent can get complicated, but the Warriors are too strapped for cash to match any significant offers to their role players. Cook is definitely available at the right price.

Suggested contract offer: 2 years / $10 million

8. Elfrid Payton, 25 (UFA)

Payton has been an decent stat stuffer on some fairly unimpressive teams. Over the last three seasons he has averaged 12.2 points, 6.6 assists, and 4.7 boards while playing for Orlando, Pheonix, and New Orleans. He could be a capable backup, but his shooting is an issue. He’s a career 30% shooter from three and a career 63% shooter from the charity stripe. It seems like his days of being a starter are past him, at least for now, but his 6’4” frame and pass-first mentality make him an interesting backup option.

Suggested contract offer: 2 years / $15 million

7. Tyus Jones, 23 (RFA)

Personally, it’s hard for me to imagine the Minnesota Timberwolves letting Jones walk, but the Kings could nab themselves a significant upgrade if they do. Though he lacks experience, his youth puts him squarely in the timeline of the current Kings core. Jones is a fantastic ball thief, posting 2.1 steals per-36 minutes across his career. He’s another pass-first guy, but one who keeps ball security as a top priority. Last year he posted 4.8 assists to only 0.7 turnovers per-game. Unfortunately, his size and lack of versatility might limit his impact in Sacramento.

Suggested contract offer: 4 years / $30 million

6. Delon Wright, 27 (RFA)

Wright is another RFA who will probably be retained. The Memphis Grizzlies traded for him recently, and have no financial issues looming. That said, Wright has the size and the defense to be a logical target for the Kings this summer. He’s not a great shooter from distance, but he’s solid from the field and from the line. His strong rebounding is another plus, but the real reason folks around the league are high on Wright is his intelligence on both sides of the floor. He knows how to play smart, and the Kings would welcome that.

Suggested contract offer: 4 years / $30 million

5. Terry Rozier, 25 (RFA)

Scary Terry is probably starting to scare his agent with the way things have gone lately. He had a very strong 2017-18 season and seemed posed for a major payday. But he was down pretty much across the board in 2018-19, and really disappeared in the postseason. Despite that, he is still young and talented. His passing and defense would be a clear improvement to Sacramento’s current backup options. Unfortunately, it’s looking more and more likely that Kyrie Irving is leaving Boston, which means that the Celtics would be crazy to let him go.

Suggested contract offer: 4 years / $40 million

4. Ricky Rubio, 28 (UFA)

Ricky Rubio has been a starting point guard on a playoff team for two years running. That is probably going to change however, as the Jazz have made it clear that retaining him is no longer a priority. Rubio is a strong defender and has nice size, but his poor shooting and creation keep him from playing off-ball. He would probably be best suited for a bench role at this point in his career, though he may not see it that way. Sacramento would love to have him, but they may not have enough minutes in the rotation to interest a player like Rubio.

Suggested contract offer: 4 years / $40 million

3. Cory Joseph, 27 (UFA)

Cory Joseph has a similar game to Rubio, just with better defense. Joseph finished the season 4th in defensive RPM among all point guards — above guys like Derrick White, Patrick Beverley, and Marcus Smart. But what really separates him from Rubio from the Kings perspective is that he has accepted and excelled in a bench role. If Sacramento wants a guard to come off the bench and play 24 minutes of lockdown defense, CoJo could be their guy.

Suggested contract offer: 4 years / $40 million

2. Tomas Satoransky, 27 (RFA)

Satoransky is a very unique option. Listed at 6’7”, he is versatile enough to play three positions, but he is best when running the point. His career shooting splits are an impressive 49%/40%/79%. He also has a very low usage rate, and always looks to set up his teammates first. His defense needs work, but bringing a jumbo-sized hyper-versatile point guard onto this Kings roster would do wonders for their bench unit. A Satoransky-Bogdanovic backcourt would be one of the most intriguing duos I can imagine. And unlike many of the other RFAs on this list, Washington has salary cap issues and may not match a sizable offer.

Suggested contract offer: 4 years / $50 million

1. Patrick Beverley, 30 (UFA)

With the Clippers last season, Patrick Beverly excelled as part of a four-headed guard unit with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Lou Williams, and Avery Bradley (who was replaced midseason by Landry Shamet). Each played 26 to 28 minutes per-game and each got to show off their strengths and hide their weaknesses. While he could easily grab a starting job and play 36 minutes a night in Phoenix or Chicago next season, a guy with his injury history might prefer to come off the bench as long as the money is right. Pat Bev has everything the Kings need on the court — defense, playmaking, shooting, versatility, and veteran leadership. Sacramento should make an aggressive offer.

Suggested contract offer: 3 years / $50 million