Cory Joseph‘s uncertain relationship with Team Canada has drawn most of the headlines this summer, but the eight-year veteran will have a new role once the World Cup is over, writes James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area. Joseph joined the Kings on a three-year, $37MM contract last month, and he’ll be counted on to back up burgeoning star De’Aaron Fox.
Joseph is among several experienced players that GM Vlade Divac added in an effort to fix a defense that ranked 26th last season in points allowed and 20th in defensive rating. Joseph, among the league’s best perimeter defenders at point guard, posted a 6.5/3.4/3.9 line last season, but Ham expects those numbers to increase as he leaves the methodical Pacers for the faster-paced Kings.
There’s more from Sacramento:
- Yogi Ferrell will also be competing for minutes in a now-crowded Kings backcourt, Ham adds in a separate story. Ferrell won the back-up point guard spot after signing with Sacramento last summer, but the addition of Joseph seems to leave him without a clear role. He can play either backcourt position, but the team is also deep at shooting guard with Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic. Even though the Kings picked up his $3.2MM option for this season, Ferrell’s playing time may be reduced.
- It didn’t take long for Harrison Barnes to win the confidence of his World Cup coaches, relays Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Barnes is the only player on Team USA with a championship ring, which he collected with the Warriors in 2015, and the only one with a gold medal, which came in the 2016 Olympics. “Pop (head coach Gregg Popovich) trusts him,” said USA assistant Steve Kerr, who coached Barnes for two seasons with Golden State. “Pop talks about it all the time with our staff. He knows he can count on him to make the right play and to execute under pressure.”
- Marvin Bagley and Hield are getting some experience with a well-respected tutor, notes Jordan Ramirez of NBA.com. They are spending part of the summer at UCLA with Rico Hines, who has worked with James Harden, Kevin Durant and many other star players. “Getting on the court, being around him, he’s an unbelievable person, first and foremost,” said Trevor Ariza, who signed with the Kings last month. “He’s a gym rat as well. He’s always in the gym. We’re always in the gym. We’re always looking to get better.”