The Sacramento Kings are in need of some wings to beef up their bench depth, assuming Harrison Barnes opts in to his current deal or restructures his contract. Corey Brewer, who eventually became the primary backup to Barnes after being acquired, is also a free agent so the Kings are thin at the position.
DeMarre Carroll’s contract of four years, $58 million has expired and the 10-year veteran will be entering free agency. He was originally signed by the Toronto Raptors after breaking out in Atlanta but two years into the deal he was salary dumped to the Brooklyn Nets.
Carroll was primarily a starter in his first season with Brooklyn, but underwent surgery at the start of the 2018-19 season which sidelined him. He did play 67 games after returning and played a prominent bench role, where he averaged 11.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.3 assists on 39.5-percent overall shooting and 34.2-percent from three in 25.4 minutes a game.
Carroll, who will be turning 33, has inefficient shooting numbers which is illustrated by his effective field goal percentage of 48.7. He lacks a mid-range game where he was 14-40 on the season (35-percent), and although he shot 51.1% in the restricted area, the league average was 57.9%. He makes 1.6 threes a game on 4.6 attempts but I like how he is able to get to the free throw line at a solid clip. He is a 76-percent shooter from the stripe and has made 2.7 free throws a game on 3.6 attempts, both career highs.
His 2.7 made free throws game would rank third on the Kings behind De’Aaron Fox (3.1) and Marvin Bagley (2.9). Getting to the line and especially converting was a huge problem for them this past season, as the team was 72.6-percent as a whole from the line.
Carroll drew 97 fouls which would trail De’Aaron Fox, Marvin Bagley and Willie Cauley-Stein.
The shot chart of Carroll isn’t pleasing with the vast amounts of red glaring at you. As mentioned, Carroll doesn’t possess a threatening mid-range game. Other than the left corner three, he doesn’t shoot above average on a high volume from anywhere else. He’s average on above the break threes but awfully struggles from straight line threes.
Carroll owned an 18.6-percent usage rate on the Nets, which ranked sixth on the team (min. 20 games). That percentage would place him seventh on the Kings, above Willie Cauley-Stein, Nemanja Bjelica and Harrison Barnes.
If the Kings were to sign him, Carroll’s 18.6-percent usage rate would definitely cut down as he wouldn’t need to be putting up 8.6 shots a game which he did this previous season with Brooklyn.
The Nets are another team who played at a high pace of 103.64 so flattening the amount of shots he takes could help his efficiency improve. Taking the ball out of Carroll’s hands would be easy off the bench with Bogdan Bogdanovic and Yogi Ferrell (assuming he’s the backup point) and playing him off ball by getting him to the left corner or cutting for layups are steps in getting the most out of his shooting.
Carroll’s shooting is definitely tremulous but he still adds value to other areas on the floor which makes it worth the signing.
Carroll would help the Kings on the defensive glass, one of their biggest weaknesses last summer. His numbers fell in Toronto because of injuries and failed expectations, but his game refined again in Brooklyn.
Carroll averaged a career high 6.6 rebounds last season and this year it fell to 5.2 a game (most of his per game stats went down in less minutes this season). His defensive rebound percentage (DRB%) was a competent 17.3, ranking fourth on the Nets (min. 20 games). His percentage on the Kings would be good for sixth (min. 20 games).
Additionally, his rebounding numbers are sharp because he has the ability to play at power forward. In fact, 72-percent of his minutes came at the 4, a five percentage point decrease from a season ago. Nonetheless, Carroll’s flexibility to be a “3-and-D” player at two positions is an added bonus for the roster.
Carroll doesn’t do particularly well at taking the ball away from the other team. He rarely jumps passing lanes but occasionally pokes balls lose and goes after bad passes. Regardless, Carroll is still a really solid defender despite low stealing numbers. Per basketball-reference, the Nets were 2.4 points per 100 possessions better defensively with Carroll on the floor last season.
If the Kings invest in Carroll and milk out his final years, it could turn out to be a solid investment for a team trying to make the playoffs. Carroll is a veteran with playoff experience out East and utilizing him off the bench could be a beneficial move.
With the Nets also acquiring Taurean Prince from Atlanta, there’s a chance they’re not looking to bring Carroll back for another season.
Since Carroll is turning 33 by the early stages of the new season, I’d offer a two year, $19.5 million contract (assuming no signings are made). The Raptors gave Carroll a hefty contract when they signed him in free agency but his value isn’t the same right now, especially for what his contract paid him.
The Kings would be getting a valuable player off the bench who can play the 3 and 4, rebounds, gets points at the charity stripe and defends on the ball. His shooting has fallen off since he had career highs in the 2014-15 season, but it’s still worth a look.