For the first time in what feels like a very long time, the Kings have depth in almost every position, which can be a blessing when it comes to ample options, but a curse when it comes to seeing those C-string guys land real minutes on the court.
With the additions of Ade Murkey and Damien Jefferson, the Kings’ roster stands at 20 players, but the expectation is that both Murkey and Jefferson will be waived and sign with Sacramento’s G League affiliate, the Stockton Kings. Additionally, the Kings have two men on two-way deals — Lou King and Neemias Queta — and both players are poised to be the faces of the Stockton Kings, with hopefully a few extended visits up the highway in Sactown throughout the year.
So, who of the other training camp players will avoid being waived and claim that last spot on Sacramento’s roster? I believe there are two strong candidates from the preseason, inside training camp and around the league, but let’s take a look at the players that are probably locks first:
- De’Aaron Fox
- Buddy Hield
- Tyrese Haliburton
- Harrison Barnes
- Marvin Bagley III
- Richaun Holmes
- Tristan Thompson
- Davion Mitchell
- Maurice Harkless
- Terence Davis
- Alex Len
- Chimezie Metu
- Neemias Queta (two-way)
- Louis King (two-way)
Assuming those are the players with safe roster spots, there are technically four players vying for three spots. However, Damian Jones and Jahmiu’s Ramsey have arguably shown enough to be brought back.
Although the Kings have got a glutted center rotation, Jones is probably the strongest candidate to stay in the purple and black. Earlier in the summer, the Los Angeles Lakers were poised to sign him in the break glass scenario with injuries to big man Anthony Davis.
Instead, the Kings brought Jones back from his 17-game stint with the team and it’s safe to say he knows the Sacramento brand of basketball as well as anyone - he is a 2x champion after all
Building around perimeter defense will be crucial for Jones’ success, but he could make an impact for this team come those long stretches of season where guys are injured, in and out of the lineup or resting. He also makes for a good piece to move down the line should there be trades as the season progresses.
Meanwhile, Ramsey’s extended audition with Sacramento has been a joy to watch in contrast of his streaky rookie season. After leading the #SummerKings in scoring, there seems to be untapped potential with him. Davion Mitchell is incredibly high on the sophomore shooting guard, having credited his hard work all summer long and Ramsey’s desire to build on their Vegas tourney chemistry.
That leaves Emanuel Terry and Robert Woodard II.
I’d like to see the final roster spot go to Terry on account of what we’ve seen from both players in the amount of time they’ve been with the team respectively. Terry was an explosive, integral part of the Summer League roster who seems to have a good rapport with Mitchell, Ramsey and King. Building around the likes of Thompson and Holmes can only hope to develop and elevate his game, whereas Woodard is entering his second season with Sacramento and hasn’t seemed to measure up in the opportunities he’s been given.
One thing is for certain: however this group of guys shakes out, a new-look era of Kings basketball is upon us.