The Kings would like to give more playing time to small forward JaKarr Sampson, but they are limited by his two-way contract, writes Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. Sampson can’t spend more than 45 days in the NBA and must be signed to a regular contract if he exceeds that number. To do that, the team would have to open a roster spot and part with one of its 15 guaranteed contracts.
Sampson has played just six games in Sacramento, but has impressed the coaches with his defensive abilities. He has the size to guard wing players who otherwise give the Kings problems. He is also averaging 5.0 points and 5.0 rebounds in 17 minutes per night. He has previous NBA experience with the Sixers and Nuggets, but was out of the league last season.
- Personnel moves have cut into the opportunities for second-year shooting guard Malachi Richardson, Jones adds in the same story. Last year’s trade for Buddy Hield and the addition of Bogdan Bogdanovic have pushed Richardson down in the rotation. He faces competition at small forward from Garrett Temple, Vince Carter and rookie Justin Jackson. Richardson has gotten into just 13 games so far this season.
- Free agent addition Zach Randolph considers himself a “dinosaur” because of the way he plays, but he has become the team’s best player, Jones states in a separate story. In the first season of a two-year, $24MM contract, the 36-year-old is averaging 15.2 points and 7.0 rebounds in 26 games. That’s despite a low-post game that seems best suited to another era. “Basketball is basketball; it’ll all come around,” Randolph said. “…You’ve still got to play in that paint; you’ve still got guys rolling. When you need a bucket, you go to the post. It comes back around.” Randolph adds that he hasn’t considered retirement and believes he can play several more seasons.
- After a rough start in Sacramento, fellow offseason signee George Hill has stepped up his game, Jones notes in the same story. Hill is shooting better than 53% in his last nine games and he provides a veteran presence to ease the pressure on rookies De’Aaron Fox and Frank Mason.