• The Sacramento Kings were never going to make the playoffs this season. From the get-go the team was in rebuild mode, but this season it was different. They finally had a sense of direction and a goal to work towards. The Kings were mostly made up of youth, with some notable veterans sprinkled in to balance things out.

    How did the team and its players fare this season? Let’s take a closer look.

    Editor’s Note: You can check out the rest of our Post-Mortems here.

    Overview

    The Kings finished the 2017-18 season with a 27-55 record – good for 12th in the Western Conference and fourth in the Pacific Division. They came into the season with nine players on rookie scale contracts, 10 if you include Bogdan Bogdanovic, and just five players over the age of 28. George Hill was shipped out of town at the trade deadline, purely for some cap relief. Two below-average youngsters, Malachi Richardson and Georgios Papagiannis, would also suffer a similar fate to Hill and are no longer on the roster.

    Sacramento didn’t make a ton of moves throughout the season and that should come as no surprise. The few roster moves they did make were simply to tidy house; nothing changed the course of the franchise or made waves by any stretch.

    The veterans were leaned on heavily at the beginning of the season, as the team was finding their feet. That, however, didn’t last long. The youth were quickly placed on the front lines and effectively given the keys to run the team. De’Aaron Fox did a fine job and proved he’s a guy you can go to late in games. Bogdan Bogdanovic is a nifty scorer who showed flashes of being a solid player down the road. Buddy Hield is a sniper from downtown. Willie Cauley-Stein took a big step forward offensively and could develop into a solid second or third option. Skal Labissiere was inconsistent but finished the season strong to keep hope alive. Justin Jackson and Frank Mason both had steady roles in the rotation and had some good stretches here and there. Harry Giles didn’t play a single minute this season but the team is optimistic he’ll be great, but the jury is still out on that.

    The Kings had a terrible defense and their offense was just as bad, but they played hard most nights and showed the makings of a competent NBA team down the road. They have a lot to build off of, and hope undoubtedly fills the arena each night. There’s a long way to go in their rebuild but it’s promising to see the franchise going in a somewhat positive direction.

    Coaching

    Dave Joerger did a respectable job in his second full season with the Kings. The front office bought in a few familiar faces for Joerger in Vince Carter and Zach Randolph, helping him manage the process of a full-on rebuild.

    Joerger, as previously mentioned, favored his veterans early on in the season. He deployed them often through the first few weeks, probably to a fault. Joerger was justified in doing so, though, as it would be somewhat optimistic to throw a bunch or rookies and sophomores into the fire straight away. His rotational decisions can sometimes be frustrating for a fan base that simply wants the youngsters to play every minute, but the veterans brought structure and balance to the lineup each night – something the youth wouldn’t be able to do by themselves. It’s a big reason why the Kings were able to stay somewhat competitive each night.

    Joerger and the front office are seemingly on the same page, which is a positive sign for a franchise that has experienced an overwhelming amount of turnover in the way of coaching. Joerger is the guy moving forward. Stability is a big thing for rebuilding teams and it starts with the coaching staff. A young team can’t grow if there’s constant turnover, so it’s only right to let Joerger grow with the youth.

    With the Kings slated to select No. 2 in the 2018 NBA Draft, Joerger will have even more young talent at his fingertips. It’ll be interesting to see how he uses it all.

    The Players

    Buddy Hield

    ADP: 114/117 (ESPN/Yahoo)Total Value: 59/63 (8/9-cat)Per-Game Value: 96/91 (8/9-cat)Games Played: 80

    2017-18 averages: 80 G | 12 GS | 25.3 MP | 13.5 PTS | 2.2 3PM | 3.8 REB | 1.9 AST | 1.1 STL | 0.3 BLK | 1.6 TOV | .446 FG% | .877 FT% |

    Coming into his first full season with the Kings, expectations were high for Buddy Hield. He was projected to be the No. 1 guy on offense and someone the team could turn to when in need for scoring. Hield got off to an incredibly slow start to the season as a starter, leaving fans and fantasy players nervously biting their nails. However, Dave Joerger moved Hield to the bench and it worked wonders.

    Hield went on to prove that his hot shooting at the conclusion of the 2016-17 campaign was no fluke; his 43.1 percent clip from three was the ninth best mark in the league. Inconsistency crept into his game at various points throughout the season, but that generally happens to young players no matter how good they are. Hield and those around him were probably hoping for a higher scoring output, but he performed well considering the circumstances. The Kings are a young team that is still trying to find their identity on offense, so Hield was often having to score on the fast break or on broken down plays. It certainly worked most of the time, but if the Kings are able to find more structure offensively that’ll only work wonders for him.

    We learned that being the No. 1 option on offense may not be in Hield’s future. Instead, he seems destined to be a solid second or third scoring option that is a dead-eye 3-point shooter, and there’s nothing wrong with that if you’re Sacramento.

    Bogdan Bogdanovic

    ADP: N/A / 139 (ESPN/Yahoo)Total Value: 91/101 (8/9-cat)Per-Game Value: 131/137 (8/9-cat)Games Played: 78

    2017-18 averages: 78 G | 53 GS | 27.9 MP | 11.8 PTS | 1.7 3PM | 2.9 REB | 3.3 AST | 0.9 STL | 0.2 BLK | 1.6 TOV | .446 FG% | .840 FT% |

    Bogdan Bogdanovic was a star in Europe but came over to the NBA as somewhat of an unknown among casual fans. It took him a few weeks to find his footing in the league, but once he did he was superb for Sacramento. Joerger would often run plays for Bogdanovic and he proved effective in pick and roll situations. He’s a talented scorer who can shoot the ball efficiently and he’s a gifted passer that can thrive with the ball in his hands, too.

    Bogdanovic enjoyed consistent minutes throughout the season and was an important part of the Kings’ rotation, however, that isn’t all great news. He’s never played a season this long in his professional career and as the season neared a conclusion, you could certainly see fatigue starting to take a toll on the Serbian superstar. Bogdanovic shot just 41.2 percent over the final three months of the season. Fatigue is one reason, but teams also started game planning specifically for him and put him in difficult situations. He’s no stranger to having teams do this to him, thanks to his stardom abroad, but was certainly new to him at the NBA level.

    Bogdanovic showed enough during the season for fans and prospective fantasy owners to be confident in his abilities moving forward. He should be just fine with some extended rest during the offseason. Bogdanovic, for what it’s worth, underwent knee surgery at the end of the regular season and is facing an 8-to-10 week break before resuming basketball activities. The surgery wasn’t for anything serious, though, so there’s no cause for concern there. It’s only a matter of time before Bogdanovic becomes a nightly threat for opposing defenses.

    Willie Cauley-Stein

    ADP: 110/92 (ESPN/Yahoo)Total Value: 103/102 (8/9-cat)Per-Game Value: 116/116 (8/9-cat)Games Played: 73

    2017-18 averages: 73 G | 58 GS | 28.0 MP | 12.8 PTS | 0.0 3PM | 7.0 REB | 2.4 AST | 1.1 STL | 0.9 BLK | 1.5 TOV | .502 FG% | .619 FT% |

    Willie Cauley-Stein’s numbers were up across the board this season. He managed career-highs in points (12.8), rebounds (7.0), assists (2.4), steals (1.1),  and 3-point percentage (25.0). Cauley-Stein placed emphasis on developing his offensive game this season, and it’s safe to say he somewhat succeeded with that. He wasn’t spectacular by any stretch, but he showed flashes of being a competent and reliable scoring option for the Kings moving forward.

    Joerger often utilized Cauley-Stein from the elbow and enabled him to work the offense from there. There were certainly growing pains early on in the season, but he slowly settled into the role and it looked sustainable. Cauley-Stein developed a nifty mid-range jumper, a nice array of post moves to beat slower big men, and an above average set of passing skills.

    Next season will be the biggest test yet for Cauley-Stein. Will he continue to move forward with his production and development? Or will he slowly regress? He’s got the right mindset and mentality to make things work in the long-run, it’s just whether the team believes he can do it. He has one more year left on his rookie scale deal, so we’ll see how it all unfolds.

    De’Aaron Fox

    ADP: 112/134 (ESPN/Yahoo)Total Value: 172/234 (8/9-cat)Per-Game Value: 203/284 (8/9-cat)Games Played: 73

    2017-18 averages: 73 G | 60 GS | 27.8 MP | 11.6 PTS | 0.6 3PM | 2.8 REB | 4.4 AST | 1.0 STL | 0.3 BLK | 2.4 TOV | .412 FG% | .723 FT% |

    De’Aaron Fox missed some time in the middle of the season due to injury (six games because of a quad injury did most of the damage), but he didn’t let that bother him during a somewhat successful rookie campaign. His numbers aren’t spectacular and he’s not in the conversation for Rookie of the Year, but he doesn’t need to be for Kings fans to be satisfied with his output this season.

    Fox’s jumper is still developing and probably will do so for the next few years before he’s a reliable threat from outside, but he displayed a solid mid-range game and his speed allows him to blow by many opposing point guards. Fox was given the ball in many clutch situations late in games and on the whole he delivered most of the time.

    Next season will be a big one for Fox. He’s likely going to be the starting point guard from day one and all eyes will be on him to produce.

    Zach Randolph

    ADP: 101/101 (ESPN/Yahoo)Total Value: 165/177 (8/9-cat)Per-Game Value: 121/145 (8/9-cat)Games Played: 59

    2017-18 averages: 59 G | 57 GS | 25.6 MP | 14.5 PTS | 0.9 3PM | 6.7 REB | 2.2 AST | 0.7 STL | 0.2 BLK | 2.0 TOV | .473 FG% | .785 FT% |

    Zach Randolph was deployed early and often early on in the season, and he was surprisingly productive, too. On paper, Randolph had a nice season. He scored the ball efficiently and shot a decent clip from downtown. Randolph could generally be relied on to score in one way or another when given the ball, and for a young team that’s a great thing to have. His defense, though, left a lot to be desired.

    Randolph was often burned by whoever he was guarding, whether that was in the post or on the perimeter. He’s never been a good defender, but playing on a bad defensive team like the Kings only placed emphasis on that weakness.

    Drafting Randolph in fantasy hoops was always going to be a risky proposition, but for those that did take a chance on him were rewarded nicely through the first half of the season. Those same owners, if they stuck with him, would have grown frustrated rather quickly at the back end of the season, right when consistent production was paramount. Randolph sat out the final 10 games of the season, making way for the youth in Sacramento. That was always the plan, and that’ll remain the case moving forward into next season.

    Kosta Koufos

    ADP: N/A / N/A (ESPN/Yahoo)Total Value: 197/175 (8/9-cat)Per-Game Value: 231/202 (8/9-cat)Games Played: 71

    2017-18 averages: 71 G | 13 GS | 19.6 MP | 6.7 PTS  0.0 3PM | 6.6 REB | 1.2 AST | 0.7 STL | 0.5 BLK | 0.7 TOV | .571 FG% | .446 FT% |

    Kosta Koufos is as consistent as any player in the NBA. His stats don’t blow anyone away, but he’s established himself as one of the best backup centers in the league and most of his effectiveness cannot be seen on the stat sheet.

    Koufos brings some sturdy interior defense to the Kings, and is a nifty scorer in the post when called upon. He certainly does more good than bad when out on the court, and that’s all you can really ask for from a backup big man. Fantasy wise, though, Koufos doesn’t offer a whole lot. His lack of production means he’s not an appealing option in standard formats, but it’s his consistency that makes him somewhat valuable in deeper formats.

    His output has pretty much been identical over the past three seasons. He picked up his player option and will be with the Kings again next season, so don’t expect anything to change production-wise.

    Garrett Temple

    ADP: N/A / N/A (ESPN/Yahoo)Total Value: 205/203 (8/9-cat)Per-Game Value: 212/214 (8/9-cat)Games Played: 65

    2017-18 averages: 65 G | 35 GS | 24.8 MP | 8.4 PTS | 1.4 3PM | 2.3 REB | 1.9 AST | 0.9 STL | 0.4 BLK | 1.2 TOV | .418 FG% | .769 FT% |

    Garrett Temple had his moments this season, but he undoubtedly took a step back. His 39.2 percent clip from three is solid and a respectable mark for a backup guard in the NBA, but he just didn’t bring a whole lot to the table. He’s been known for defense in recent seasons, and while it was fine enough this year, it certainly wasn’t to the standard we’re used to.

    Aside from a random 34-point outburst against the Orlando Magic in the middle of the season, Temple’s career-high, he remained fairly tame. He’s got a player option to decide on for next season as to whether he’ll remain in Sacramento, so that’ll be telling as to how things will play out moving forward. Temple isn’t an attractive piece in fantasy hoops, but he’s a solid veteran to have sitting on your bench in the basketball world.

    Skal Labissiere

    ADP: 140/142 (ESPN/Yahoo)Total Value: 232/237 (8/9-cat)Per-Game Value: 229/230 (8/9-cat)Games Played: 60

    2017-18 averages: 60 G | 28 GS | 20.7 MP | 8.7 PTS | 0.3 3PM | 4.8 REB | 1.2 AST | 0.4 STL | 0.8 BLK | 1.2 TOV | .448 FG% | .805 FT% |

    Expectations were high for Skal Labissiere this season. Many were expecting him to make a big sophomore leap but they were left bitterly disappointed. Having lofty expectations are probably unfair on Labissiere, who’s still just 22 years of age. He lacked consistency for much of the season and was often burned on defense, and under someone like Dave Joerger that just isn’t a good recipe.

    Labissiere got consistent minutes at the back end of the season and he certainly played better when that was the case. He’s developed a decent 3-point jumper, and his improving mid-range game is promising with the length he has. If he can add some more weight in the offseason to try to contain bigger frontcourt players he should be just fine moving forward. The future is still bright for the young Haitian, so don’t give up just yet.

    Vince Carter

    ADP: 140 / N/A (ESPN/Yahoo)Total Value: 268/256 (8/9-cat)Per-Game Value: 275/261 (8/9-cat)Games Played: 58

    2017-18 averages: 58 G | 5 GS | 17.7 MP | 5.3 PTS | 1.0 3PM | 2.6 REB | 1.2 AST | 0.7 STL | 0.4 BLK | 0.6 TOV | .403 FG% | .757 FT% |

    Vince Carter was never projected to be anything more than a veteran mentor for the Kings this season. The fact that he still managed to play 17.7 minutes per game is impressive, but he didn’t offer much in fantasy hoops.

    Carter’s adamant he’s still got a few years left in the tank, but production wise he’s probably sapped. Nonetheless, Carter’s a fantastic option for young teams looking for veteran leadership, or for playoff teams looking to round out their roster with experience.

    Justin Jackson

    ADP: 140/140 (ESPN/Yahoo)Total Value: 269/261 (8/9-cat)Per-Game Value: 329/311 (8/9-cat)Games Played: 68

    2017-18 averages: 68 G | 41 GS | 22.1 MP | 6.7 PTS | 0.8 3PM | 2.8 REB | 1.1 AST | 0.4 STL | 0.2 BLK | 0.6 TOV | .442 FG% | .722 FT% |

    Justin Jackson was another one of those players that didn’t do much on the stat sheet, but had a decent season nonetheless. Jackson earned the trust of Dave Joerger fairly early on in the process and went on to start 41 games in his rookie season.

    Jackson projects to be a decent 3-and-D option down the road for Sacramento and that’s pretty much what they drafted him to be. It’ll be interesting to see who the Kings bring in during the offseason to compete with Jackson for the small forward spot, but either way he should have a sizeable role in the rotation next season.

    Jackson isn’t the most appealing fantasy option, but somewhere down the line he could become more valuable in many leagues.

    Frank Mason

    ADP: 140/NA (ESPN/Yahoo)Total Value: 278/291 (8/9-cat)Per-Game Value: 283/315 (8/9-cat)Games Played: 52

    2017-18 averages: 52 G | 2 GS | 18.9 MP | 7.9 PTS | 0.6 3PM | 2.5 REB | 2.8 AST | 0.7 STL | 0.2 BLK | 1.3 TOV | .379 FG% | .817 FT% |

    Frank Mason missed extended time throughout the season due to a heel issue but he turned in a solid rookie season for a second round pick. Mason served as Fox’s primary backup once George Hill was traded to Cleveland and he did an admirable job in that role.

    Mason’s shooting percentages leave a lot to be desired, but he certainly passed the eye test on a general scale. He’s a shoot-first point guard but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s not willing to pass. That area of his game developed as the season wore on and that’s a promising sign for the Kings. Mason’s got a good 3-point shot and is effective in the pick and roll. Keep an eye on him next season, as his impact on the game could be more significant.

    JaKarr Sampson

    ADP: NA/NA (ESPN/Yahoo)Total Value: 368/352 (8/9-cat)Per-Game Value: 272/238 (8/9-cat)Games Played: 22

    2017-18 averages: 22 G | 6 GS | 15.6 MP | 4.7 PTS | 0.2 3PM | 3.5 REB | 0.4 AST | 0.4 STL | 1.0 BLK | 0.4 TOV | .543 FG% | .625 FT% |

    JaKarr Sampson served as one of the Kings’ two-way players this season, and it’s a role that he relished. Sampson spent most of his time down in the G-League, but when he was with the Kings he made an instant impact.

    His energy and relentless hustle made a difference. He didn’t do a whole lot on the stat sheet, but he made it his mission to do the dirty work and he quickly became a fan favorite. Sampson didn’t move the needle for anyone in fantasy hoops and that’s okay because he wasn’t expected to do a whole lot, but from a basketball standpoint he’s an excellent option for teams to have off the bench.

    Doctor’s Orders

    The Kings will continue to rebuild and add young talent. They’re slated to pick No. 2 overall in the upcoming draft and they’ll be able to add a supremely talented player with that pick. Luke Doncic and DeAndre Ayton are the two premier options for the Kings at that spot, and either player fills a need for the team.

    It’s going to take a while for them to win games consistently, but the future is bright in Sacramento. They have a young core to build around and some other promising pieces around that. The expectation is that they make strides next season and establish themselves as one of the top young teams in the league. Staying course with the rebuild is the biggest thing for the Kings, who have shown a tendency to rush into things in recent years.

    This time the feeling is different. The front office are showing patience and sustainability. It’s only a matter of time for the Kings.

Fantasy News

  • Kemba Walker
    PG, Boston Celtics

    Team USA has named Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart and Donovan Mitchell as captains for the FIBA World Cup.

    Congratulations to Mitchell, Walker and Smart on the tremendous honor of being named captains for the USA men's team. This won't have any impact on their upcoming fantasy seasons, but it is a major accomplishment nonetheless. Team USA has an exhibition rematch against Team Australia on Saturday.

    Source: Boston.com Celtics News on Twitter

  • Isaiah Canaan
    PG, International

    Isaiah Canaan has signed a contract with the Shangdong Heroes of the Chinese Basketball Association.

    The veteran journeyman played for the Suns, Wolves and Bucks last season, appearing in 30 games total. Canaan will be looking at a more prominent role and payday overseas as he attempts to build his value back up before trying to latch on to a team towards the end of the year. Canaan is off the fantasy radar.

    Source: Zhang Duo on Twitter

  • Patty Mills
    PG, San Antonio Spurs

    Patty Mills put up 19 points, three assists, two steals, a block and three 3-pointers in Thursday's international exhibition between Team Australia and Team USA.

    The Boomers figure to be one of the chief threats to the Americans in the World Cup and put forth a competitive effort in today's exhibition. Mills has typically been a steady, late-round fantasy option for deep-league play but that may change this season as the Spurs will need to mix in both Derrick White and Dejounte Murray in the backcourt. Chris Goulding tied for the team lead in points, also scoring 19 while hitting four 3-pointers in 22 minutes off the bench.

  • Myles Turner
    C, Indiana Pacers

    Myles Turner put up 15 points and 14 rebounds in Thursday's exhibition win over Team Australia, shooting 6-of-8 from the floor with a 3-pointer.

    Turner didn't get any blocks but we know that last year's league-leader can rack those up in a hurry, whether he's getting them in international competition or not. Look for another early-middle round season out of the talented big man. Kemba Walker led Team USA with 23 points in the 102-86 win.

  • Trevon Bluiett
    PF, Utah Jazz

    Trevon Bluiett and Juwan Morgan sign with the Jazz in the hopes of one day playing in an NBA game.

    Bluiett was on a two-way contract with the Pelicans last season while Juwan Morgan played for the Jazz in the 2019 Summer League. They will both compete for a roster spot in training camp but neither is a guarantee to make the final roster. They both have yet to see the court in an NBA game and can be ignored from a fantasy perspective until that day comes.

    Source: Tony Jones on Twitter

  • Zach Collins
    C, Portland Trail Blazers

    Zach Collins (ankle) began daily contact workouts on Monday and is on pace to head into training camp fully healthy.

    Collins is heading into what could be a breakout season as he is likely to start at the power forward position. In the 2019 playoffs, the Gonzaga product blocked a shot in 11 of the 16 games including three games in which he blocked three, four and five respectively. Collins has averaged around 33% from distance throughout his career which is exactly what he shot in the postseason (7-21). If he is able to improve from long range and plays starters minutes, Collins is a can't-miss player. It's far from a guarantee though as the 21-year-old has never finished with standard-league value. It does seem like Collins will be ready for training camp barring a major setback.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Cory Joseph
    PG, Sacramento Kings

    Nick Nurse said that reports of Cory Joseph missing the FIBA World Cup are “incorrect”.

    Nurse added that he spoke to Joseph on Wednesday and that the guard has his flights booked to China. Joseph was in Canada’s camp at home earlier this month, but did not make the trip to Australia and has missed the past four exhibition games. The situation has become a little bit murky but Canada Basketball keeps holding out hope that Joseph will rejoin the team before they depart for China, which doesn’t happen until Monday.

    Source: John Casey on Twitter

  • Tyronn Lue
    PG, Los Angeles Clippers

    Shams Charania of The Athletic is reporting former Cavs championship-winning coach Tyronn Lue has agreed to join the Clippers as their top assistant coach to Doc Rivers.

    The Lakers and Clippers rivalry continues to heat up. Lue was very close to a deal with the Lakers in May to become their head coach, but the sides couldn’t reach an agreement. Lue now joins Kawhi Leonard as another person to spurn the Lakers this offseason.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • PJ Tucker
    SF, Houston Rockets

    P.J. Tucker says he is optimistic about signing a contract extension soon.

    The 34-year-old 3-and-D wing hopes to extend his deal with the Rockets, but a potential extension wouldn't begin until his age-36 season. Houston has him under contract for two more seasons at this point, so they may not be motivated enough to get something done this offseason. However, a maximum Tucker extension would only have him in the $10 million per year range. Even as a 37-year-old, that could be a great deal if he can keep up his current production. Tucker remains a sneaky source of threes and steals late in fantasy drafts or off the wire.

    Source: Kurt Helin on Twitter

  • Jaylen Adams
    PG, Milwaukee Bucks

    The Bucks officially announced the signings of guards Jaylen Adams and Rayjon Tucker on Tuesday.

    Adams and Tucker have their work cut out for them in their bid to claim a roster with the big club, as the Bucks have a reasonably deep guard rotation. Adams and Tucker are more than likely competing to get playing time in the G-League this season and can be ignored in fantasy.

    Source: NBA