He was traded by us, and I think you know when. Vlade made up his mind and it came to end. Look at us now, with a youthful turn. I don’t know how, but we suddenly gained control and there’s a fire within our souls. Just one year, and Vlade’s changed everything. One more look at Boogie could bring a ring. Whoa! Boogie Mania.... time to go again.
I know. People tuned out. They are yelling at their computer screens right now cursing my name, asking why I chose to do my biannual STR post about a Sacramento King who left over two-and-a-half years ago and has since ruptured his Achilles and a quad muscle while the Kings are looking to get faster.
Some are going to ask me why I am beating around a dead horse, trying to retread something that didn’t work last time, and riling up a group of fans and media people who get strangely upset at the very mention of his name. Now, hear me out. It is time for a reunion tour, and I am not just saying this to arouse anger and give the Kings a gritty reboot. I legitimately think he’s a realistic, affordable, and potentially valuable addition to the Kings current plans.
Before I get started, I am just going to let the cat out of the bag. I am a Boogie fan. I have my opinions about his departure, about his tenure here, and about the way he is portrayed by both fans and media. I could go on and on about the history, the possible ramifications of the way that he left last time, and why there are legitimately reasons to be concerned about that reunion from that point alone, but I am going to stick to the basketball reasons that Boogie fits, and I will let the Kings and Boogie sort out the rest if this is meant to be.
DeMarcus Cousins is more than likely done as a star player. He is hobbled due to a pair of unfortunate injuries that have cost him lots of money. That said, he may be one of the better bargain big men who is available on the market. A year after a promising young big like Julius Randle got vastly underpaid, it is hard to imagine Boogie getting the hefty deal he was presumed to get following another injury in the playoffs.
We still don’t quite know what he brings in a post-Achilles tear world. His situation was extremely hard to gauge. He went to a historically loaded roster with a diminished role, and while there were obvious hits to his mobility and defense, he also entered into a strangely volatile situation in a role he had never come into. His defense was perhaps his most notable weakness, although to some extent this was a concern long before this. While I believe that this was an important year for Boogie’s rehab, I am not sure it is an indicative one of what he has to offer for years to come.
Here’s what I do know. Despite the hobbled state he performed in, the diminished role, and the added quad injury, Boogie showed a willingness to take a smaller role. Because of the way that the Warriors season ended, we will never quite know exactly the way that his place on that team shaped up to their original plan, but what we did see was a player who suffered an injury in only his second career playoff game come back only a few weeks later and fight like crazy out on the court. Sometimes, it was a little much. He turned the ball over and committed some boneheaded plays. Other times, however, you saw exactly what Boogie can be if he is no longer a top-tier big man.
Boogie is still perhaps the best passing big man in the game. He can thread the needle like a guard, and if he can get a little healthier, he should still have his handles. There are legitimate concerns about his ability to get down the court with the quickness that the Kings appear to be heading in, but I honestly believe we can use his playmaking skills to make this work. The Kings can use Boogie to stretch the floor for the youth movement and run many plays through him.
He can stand on top of the three-point arc and set up plays, even if he isn’t the first one on the court. This is a team who has still relied on notably unathletic frontcourt players like Kosta Koufos and Nemanja Bjelica, and especially with the latter, their play often directly benefited with Bjelica when his game was on point. In a strange way, his play may have dictated the Kings success more than any others, and while he will still be with the team, I believe that Boogie can have a similar affect.
My final point on the matter is this. The league is inarguably getting more positionless, but a valuable big man can still be the difference between a win and a loss in several matchups. The Kings can run down the court with the best of them—they do have the two fastest players in the NBA, after all. But they also need to figure out how to play when the game slows down. This was our weakness last year, and I think that Boogie’s playmaking, shooting, and ability to draw defenses away from the others could help not only shooters get their perimeter shot, but if used correctly, clear the lanes for De’Aaron Fox or whoever else to bring the ball inside.
Some will see Boogie’s name and immediately salivate at this reunion. Others will scoff and call me mean names that will more than likely make me cry. There’s arguments for and against this, and they all should be heard. But, this is all I ask of Vlade and the front office. You moved on from Boogie, but he may be the most affordable and realistic shot we have at feeling a need at the center position, so if you change your mind, make him first in line, and if Boogie’s free, take a chance, Vlade.