Kings’ Frontcourt Logjam Worth Monitoring

The Kings are projected by most oddsmakers and NBA analysts to be the Western Conference’s worst team in 2018/19, but there are several young players on the roster who should be fun to watch. Marvin Bagley III, 2018’s second overall pick, is one of those players, while 2017 first-rounder Harry Giles, who generated buzz with his play this summer after missing his entire rookie season, is another.

However, Bagley only played 12 minutes in Sacramento’s opening-night game on Thursday, while Giles saw just 10 minutes of action. It’s certainly not unusual for rookies to have modest roles to start the season, but the Kings’ frontcourt rotation in their first game highlighted the logjam that exists at the four and five, as Jason Jones of The Athletic details.

With Willie Cauley-Stein and Nemanja Bjelica starting at center and power forward, respectively, and Justin Jackson also playing at the four in some lineups, head coach Dave Joerger suggests it may be “tough” to find minutes for Bagley, especially since the club is thinking long-term with its top pick, Jones writes. For his part, the No. 2 overall pick said he’s “trying to stay patient” when it comes to his playing time.

“I can only control what I can control,” Bagley said after Thursday’s loss. “And whenever my number is called, I’ve just got to go hard, go 100%, and try to do whatever I can to try to help us win. I think I did all right for what I did tonight, how much time I played tonight.”

Besides Cauley-Stein, Bjelica, Jackson, Bagley, and Giles, there are a few more big men on the Kings’ roster who would like to earn some minutes up front. Skal Labissiere didn’t play in the club’s opener, and neither did veteran Zach Randolph, who wasn’t even active for the game. Throw in Kosta Koufos, who should be healthy soon after battling a hamstring injury, and you have seven or eight players vying for playing time at two positions.

In other words, there will likely be “unhappy bigs every night” in Sacramento this season, as Jones tweets.

The Kings, who don’t have serious playoff aspirations, are unlikely to address their frontcourt logjam right away, but this is a situation worth monitoring over the course of the season. At least one trade before the deadline seems likely, and vets like Randolph and Koufos could ultimately be strong buyout candidates if they’re not moved by February. Stay tuned.

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13 thoughts on “Kings’ Frontcourt Logjam Worth Monitoring

  1. Dionis

    Giles has no business coming off the bench, he’s the vocal leader of the Kings.

    • hiflew

      I think that is overstating it just a bit. You don’t become a leader that quickly.

  2. formerlyz

    I dont like the fit for Bagley in Sacramento as of now, but we’ll see how that goes

    Harry Giles looks like a totally different person after sitting out last year. He went from clearly having no legs under him, and massively diminished athleticism to potentially being Chris Bosh. I’m excited to see how he does, but I also see the log jam at that 5 spot on this team, as well as a couple of redundancies both there and at that backup combo guard spot, with the need for another wing player.

    I’m a fan of WCS, but I always thought he would be better with a different team. They have to figure out what to do with all of their bigs, b/c those guys have potential, and need chances to keep developing

  3. hiflew

    The Kings and Heat could have a deal.

    Heat get
    Skal Labissiere
    Iman Shumpert

    Kings get
    Dion Waiters
    Rodney McGruder
    Heat 2019 1st round pick
    future 2nd round pick

    The Kings would pick up the first rounder they don’t have next year. Plus, Waiters would simply make them a better team. McGruder has a chance to be a low cost asset as well.

    The Heat would get out of 2 more years of Waiters and get a relatively decent replacement in Shumpert. Plus they would get Skal who could still blossom. Basically a small salary dump for the Heat, but they could still get positive value as well.

    • formerlyz

      There is less than zero reason for the Heat to want to make that deal. Amazing for the Kings though

      • hiflew

        There is a huge reason. Luxury tax, both this season and in future seasons.

        • DynamiteAdams

          Their giving up way too much for it in my opinion. Take out the first and it’s ok

  4. ScruffyTheJanitor

    They should just buyout Randolph and Kufos right now. Labissiere should be gone at the first sign of a second rounder. Giles and Bagley need minutes, and WCS /Bjelica are good enough to play. Everything ese is just drama.

  5. x%sure

    It doesn’t help the frontcourt jam that they’re starting 3 guards. It’s not helping their defense either, that shorties Fox & Farrell are 2 of them!

    Anyway Giles is a fouler so far after 2 games, and Bagley may have issues there too, and probably can’t cover 3s at all.

    Still think they should start Shumpert at the 3

  6. MarcG

    Trade Randolph and Shumpert to the Wizards
    for Kelly Oubre Jr and Ian Mahinmis contract.

    Or crazy 3 team trade:
    Kings get:
    Josh Richardson
    Tyler Johnson
    Tyson Chandler

    Suns get:
    Goran Dragic
    Skai Labissiere
    Dion Waiters
    Kosta Kufos

    Heat get:
    TJ Warren
    Justin Jackson
    Zach Randolph
    Iman Shumpert
    Dragan Bender
    Troy Daniels

    Heat get rid of major contracts, a young quality player in Warren, prospect in Jackson and can sign Jimmy Butler in the offseason.

    Suns give up a little to get there veteran leader and point guard.

    Kings get there star for the next few years.

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