The Sacramento Kings shocked many fans and pundits alike, when they drafted Davion Mitchell No. 9 in the draft, while already having Tyrese Haliburton and De’Aaron Fox as guards considered pillars of the franchise. The most fervent question skeptics raised was the idea of drafting a player that can’t play big minutes next to your two most important players.
But is that really the case? Could Kings management have made the move with the idea that all three could fit together on the court at the same time?
The idea of leaning heavily on a three-guard lineup featuring Fox, Haliburton, and Mitchell has become a point of discussion amongst the Kings’ fanbase, and the idea apparently has reached Luke Walton and the coaching staff as well.
“I think everyone wants to see the three guards on the court together and see what that looks like,” Luke Walton said to the media Wednesday.
Whether Walton is just talking about something that stays on the practice court, or he actually relies on it during games is something that we won’t really know until the season gets going.
In theory, Mitchell, De’Aaron Fox, and Haliburton seem like they could be a fit on the floor together. Ideally, Mitchell gets matched up with the best offensive player on defense, Haliburton gets matched up with the tallest guy and Fox gets to take the weakest offensive player, which would hopefully help him conserve energy.
When further examining minutes and assuming good health, the math for their being enough guard minutes to go around for Fox, Haliburton, Mitchell, Buddy Hield, and Terence Davis to all play roles at guard spots doesn’t check out.
There are 96 guard minutes to be rationed out over the course of a game. Both Fox and Haliburton are both locks to play more than 30 minutes per game, while Hield is likely around 30 minutes a game as long as he’s with the organization.
This is not even accounting for Terence Davis, who the Kings brought back after he played well for 27 games after coming to Sacramento.
The one way all these guys can play meaningful minutes is if the three-guard lineup is a staple of the team’s game plan.
The praise for Mitchell’s play style and work ethic has been a constant during the first few days of training camp, so it would be pretty surprising to see him play
Walton and the rest of their coaching staff are going to have their hands full when it comes to constructing lineups and just exactly how minutes get divvied up.