Through just two games with the Stockton Kings, it’s exceedingly clear that Louis King is too good for the G League and is a guy that should be up with the Sacramento Kings playing minutes this season.
King was far and away the best player on the court during Stockton’s two-game series this weekend against the Santa Cruz Warriors. In the first game on Friday night, King put up 33 points on a blistering 11 of 13 shooting, and in his second game against Santa Cruz on Saturday he followed that up with 29 points on 9 of 14.
The most impressive thing about the 70 minutes King played this past weekend was the varied way in which he put up these points. King showed the ability to create off multiple dribbles in pick and roll, in transition, and shooting off the catch, all of which are traits he could be able to bring to the big club.
The Kings have a glaring lack of a viable self-creating wing on the roster outside of Harrison Barnes, and I think King fits that mold.
The Kings are devoting 23.9 minutes a game to Moe Harkless, whose role on offense is doing cardio up and down the court and parking himself corner, waiting to shoot a three if it is swung his way. Harkless isn’t even doing that particularly well in that regard, as he’s only making 27.6% of his three-pointers, most of which are fairly open attempts.
That’s not to say that Harkless is a horrible player. It just seems like the Kings are capping their ceiling as a team offensively when devoting that much time to a wing who just isn’t a threat on that end.
In my mind, there is no doubt that King is an upgrade offensively over what Harkless gives you. It’s hard to see what Harkless does better than King on that end. King is a better shooter, driver, dribbler, and self creator.
The bigger question is whether the Kings can afford to exchange King for Harkless defensively. It’s fair to wonder if King’s lack of heft would get him targeted on that end of the floor, especially against some of the NBA’s best wing players.
Still, at a certain point, if the Kings are going to the best possible version of themselves this season, it seems less than ideal to have a limited wing like Harkless playing half of the game.
I’m extremely bullish on King, as I’ve written previously, and think he really fits a need for a Kings team that has lacked wing talent for the better part of 15 seasons.
At the very least, even if the Kings don’t call him up, they need to look strongly way to upgrading his two-way contract to a fully guaranteed deal soon. The Kings have devoted a fully guaranteed NBA deal to Robert Woodard, who really struggled in the Summer League, and it may make sense to give Woodard’s deal to the more versatile and talented King.
At just 22 years old, the Kings might have a diamond in the rough in King and should make his development and talents more of an organizational goal going forward.