At 16-26, the Sacramento Kings have officially passed the halfway point of the NBA season. Now that we have a real sample size on this team, I thought it would be the right time to hand out some midterm grades on key members of the organization.
De’Aaron Fox: Any hope of Fox ascending into the possible best player on a good team this season has evaporated. This season, Fox has regressed in pretty much every statistical category aside from free throw shooting. Additionally, his lack of fire on defense is a major reason the Kings remain atrocious on that end. Fox is still the most physically talented player on the roster, but like the rest of the roster, he should be available in trade conversations if it improves the team.
Tyrese Haliburton: Haliburton has really excelled in recent weeks in conjunction with his workload increasing. Haliburton has made steady improvements this season with his three-point accuracy and playmaking. Other than Haliburton, it’s hard to find any player on the team’s roster that has come close to exceeding expectations.
Buddy Hield: Buddy Hield has played this season like he knows his future in Sacramento is coming to an end. Hield has been consistently bad on defense and has regressed in his three-point shooting accuracy while also seemingly increasing his bad attempts per game. It wouldn’t shock me to watch Hield start giving better effort and play the minute he gets traded.
Harrison Barnes: After a tremendous first few weeks of the season, I’m not sure what has happened to Barnes. His counting stats still look good, but he has really been a nonfactor for much of the last two months of play. His athleticism is really starting to diminish and he’s starting to look a lot more like a power forward than a wing.
Davion Mitchell: Mitchell’s defense is among the most consistent things the Kings have on their roster. Unfortunately, his three-point shooting is among the most inconsistent variables on the Kings’ roster. The pick of Mitchell is still pretty confounding, considering the Kings’ guard depth, but overall he has performed around average for a No. 9 pick.
Richaun Holmes: Holmes has had his bumpiest season as a King, thanks to an eye injury and COVID-19 protocols he has missed 15 games. When he’s been out there he’s pretty much been the same guy he’s been for his first two seasons in Sacramento, bringing energy but also contributing to the Kings’ inability to protect the rim.
Luke Walton: Walton only coached 17 games this season, going 6-11. It was hard to notice any difference between the way he coached this season compared to the first two seasons of his Kings career. Walton clearly wasn’t the problem, but he also wasn’t the solution.
Alvin Gentry: For people expecting the change from Walton to Gentry to result in some massive turnaround, well, I admire your optimism. The team has gone 10-15, since he took over with many of the same problems from the Walton era existing. One reason to give Gentry a slightly better grade than Walton is the fact on multiple occasions he has called the team out and been critical of them in the press, something Walton shied away from.
Monte McNair: Is McNair alive? As we wait for a significant move, the Kings’ season is quickly slipping away. None of McNair’s free agent signings or trades look particularly good and his selection of Davion Mitchell is probably a neutral move at this point. The Kings season might be too far gone at this point, but it would be nice to know if McNair has a plan going forward.
Overall: What is the direction here? Is this a team competing for the playoffs or is this a young team rebuilding for the future? As they have been so often in the last 15 plus years, the Kings are stuck somewhere in the middle. At the end of the season, it would be nice if there were at least some sense of direction with this franchise.