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Royal Reading: How do you rank the Kings pool of young players?

The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie has Sacramento at No. 6 in the NBA.

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Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

The Sacramento Kings have one of the best young players in basketball on their roster. De’Aaron Fox is on his way towards being a perennial All-Star. The 20-year-old is averaging 20.4 points, 6.8 assists, and 4.0 rebounds going into the restart, and should be among the best point guards in the game over the next few seasons.

Fox is clearly the best player on a Kings roster that is loaded with youth. The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie ranked each NBA teams group of young players using the following criteria:

“Any player currently on a first-round rookie-scale deal was eligible. Any player on his first contract after being selected in the second round was also eligible. Draft-and-stash players who are still prospects were listed. The rules got a bit fuzzier when it came to undrafted players. Basically, I included anyone who is within his first couple of years after draft eligibility, but has yet to establish himself in the league as being worth a roster spot.”

For this series, Vecenie talked with NBA executives, scouts, G-League execs, and analytics personnel from around the league. He also used his own expertise by breaking down film and statistics.

Using his own formula, Vecenie ranked the Kings prospects group at sixth-best in the league. He has Fox as the best youngster on the roster followed by: Buddy Hield, Marvin Bagley III, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Harry Giles, DaQuan Jeffries, Kyle Guy and Justin Jeffries.

One of the big questions from this group is how Bagley will progress. The second-year big man has struggled with consistency, and injuries over his first couple of seasons. Bagley needs to continue to develop his game in order for the Kings to try and keep ascending up the NBA ladder.

Another factor is the style head coach Luke Walton implemented, for which Vecenie wrote:

“Overall though, this has been a very strange season for the Kings’ prospects. First, the adjustment to playing for Luke Walton didn’t go as smoothly as anticipated as he slowed down the pace on one of the most athletic teams in the league.”

Walton hasn’t been known for his offensive creativity since becoming a head coach. Sacramento ranked 23rd in pace at 99.08 for the season, something that goes against the strength of the team’s roster.

In order for the Kings’ young core to continue to grow, Walton needs to put them in a position to succeed. One of the ways he can do that is to encourage Fox to push the ball up the court, and have the team around him follow suit.

On to some links:

Who has the best value contract on the Kings’ roster? Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report says it’s a big man who turned out to be a nice surprise.

If Sacramento had a roster spot, would you consider bringing in Boogie? James Ham of NBC Sports says DeMarcus Cousins isn’t ruling out signing with a team for the resumption of the 2019-20 season.

We don’t know when the Kings’ offseason will officially begin yet. But, when it does, Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report says they should look at a trade to bring in a current 76ers’ player.