• Omer Kahn over at Sactown Royalty was tweeting on Saturday about Entitlement Minutes and I appreciated the terminology because it really gets at the heart of what a coach is tasked with when guiding young players.

    You can check his Twitter feed right here for his thoughts and I usually agree with most of them, so I thought a (somewhat) deeper examination of what was going on here was in order.

    Coaches have struggled with this for years and at varying levels. Sometimes it happens on lottery squads but veteranism can also cost teams playoff series or even chances at a championship.

    Some coaches get so fixed on their own dogmas that they do things like play guys named Kendrick Perkins in actual playoff games despite opponents repeatedly going at the weakness – all in the name of ‘making (Serge Ibaka) earn it.’

    The Kings find themselves square in the middle of that question as their veteran roster isn’t half bad.

    George Hill is a top-20 point guard without having to really think through the rankings, and Garrett Temple will finally get the Internet respect he deserves a year later after defensive awards voters crapped themselves.

    Zach Randolph can still control tempo on offense and Kosta Koufos is a high-end backup big in this league.

    If we want to dig a little further Bogdan Bogdanovic is not really a rookie and could easily push to be the team’s best shooting guard.

    Behind the vets you have the kids and as we’re seeing they’re damn good, too. De’Aaron Fox already looks to be in the mix as the top rookie of this year’s class and he’s making a difference right away. Skal Labissiere went from being very shaky in the preseason to putting together some tight minutes over the last week.

    Willie Cauley-Stein has a number of flaws one can pick at but he got back on the glass before the Kings punted in Denver and that’s an encouraging sign.

    Buddy Hield still needs to learn how to pass and play defense but he has shown he’s going to be a great scorer. Justin Jackson does the 3-and-just-be thing pretty well.

    Frank Mason had a rough night in Denver but has otherwise looked great.

    Everything has worked pretty smoothly but when Bogdanovic returns from his ankle injury it’s going to get complicated fast.

    And that’s where the question of Entitlement Minutes vs. Making Them Earn It starts to get real interesting.

    In Denver, Hield and Mason were outright bad in the first half.  Mason whiffed badly on two defensive assignments and Hield got yelled at by Dave Joerger for not passing loud enough so the entire arena could hear it.

    Hield would continue to push the issue in a bad matchup against Gary Harris and Will Barton and neither player got anything going.

    So those were Entitlement Minutes. They had nothing to do with the return on investment in short-term but were more about what you’re getting in the long-term.

    As Kahn states, the problem with giving Entitlement Minutes is that you have removed the pressure to do things correctly or even enabled the furthering of bad habits. In other words a player can do stupid stuff and stay on the court.

    If you force players to ‘earn it’ they will focus on how exactly to do that, improve and fit into a team’s mantra of having to earn your keep.

    All of that makes binary sense until one gets to the issue of ‘having to learn from one’s own mistakes,’ a powerful and time-tested method of learning. And that’s where the Entitlement Minutes kick in.

    Entitlement Minutes are a coach’s way of putting their thumb on the scale and this is where real development occurs.

    Give a player too many Entitlement Minutes and bad habits get created. Give them too few Entitlement Minutes and they don’t have a chance to improve or learn from their mistakes.

    Last year was an example of that when players like Labissiere sat the bench or had offensive sets not optimized for their development — while Tyreke Evans and other players no longer with the Kings jacked up bad shots and didn’t fit into a team’s mantra of having to earn your keep.

    In that case, a blanket policy of ‘you gotta earn it’ was applied to young players while old players were given license to be bad examples. Sometime it’s easiest to have the different standards and just make the young guys push through the barriers.

    That said, a blanket policy and a lack of Entitlement Minutes probably slowed the development of a player like Labissiere to some degree. Does he get more value watching Evans jack another shot or by missing a rotation and searing the result into his circuitry?

    It’s the tao of coaching and the results are hard to judge in a micro-view.

    Joerger and the Kings are going to be judged in the macro-view when these guys either develop or they don’t.

    Luckily, Joerger has started the season strongly in this department.

    The Kings pushed the Rockets on opening night and with Randolph (dental) out in that game the Thin Towers of Labissiere and Cauley-Stein both played 32-33 minutes, Jackson got 19 and Hield played 33. Fox saw 24 minutes and easily could have played less if Joerger wanted to restrict him, but he was playing well and Joerger let it flow.

    Heading to Dallas, a place the Kings haven’t won in since the glory days, Joerger shifted into win-now mode when he correctly sensed that Sacto had the better team and that a road win would reap tremendous intangible benefits.

    He rolled with Randolph for 30 minutes and effectively relied on him down the stretch, giving Labissiere 13 minutes in which the second-year player made major contributions.

    Hield struggled a bit and was restricted to just 27 minutes, and Hill was tasked with leading the bunch at 32 minutes and 21 points. Fox was given 26 minutes because he was one of the better players on the floor.

    This was a perfect minute deployment scenario, unless you want to quibble with Koufos’ guaranteed 20 minutes but let’s give both coach and player a break for a guy who isn’t hurting too much.

    Labissiere earned the minutes he was given and though he might have continued earning the minutes, he left the game with a sense of accomplishment and he got to watch first-hand how Randolph controlled a game late.

    That’s leaving some money on the table but at least you got to take your spouse to a nice dinner and spring for some Gunther’s Ice Cream on the way home.

    In Denver the Kings faced very real challenges offensively, as the lineup with Paul Millsap at center and various matchup advantages Denver had put the team in a bind early that they never recovered from.

    By the second half nobody other than Fox could do anything and everybody will be partially correct in blaming a SEGABABA notorious for killing squads in the Mile High City.

    Were the Entitlement Minutes that Hield and Mason got the right answer?

    Maybe it was a schedule loss and Joerger wanted to let those guys play through some mistakes.

    Neither played a ton in the second half and that was the adjustment, but you can see the wheels turning for a coach with a tendency to play veterans and a roster that’s as log-jammed as it gets.

    It’s this specific piece of the development process that will determine if the season is a success or not for the Kings.

    Were Entitlement Minutes appropriately doled out, did the young players get max benefit out of those minutes and were veterans given more rope than they should have received?

    In the case of players like Fox or Labissiere that start to show they deserve minutes over their veteran counterparts, were they given increases appropriately?

    The good news for Kings fans is that Joerger has walked the line very well to start the year.

    But it’s early and Bogdanovic returns anytime now. Let’s see what happens next.

Fantasy News

  • Michael Beasley - F - Los Angeles Clippers

    Ex-Lakers forward Michael Beasley is finalizing a deal to play with Guangdong Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association, according to Adrian Wojnarowski.

    Beasley returns to a league he is familiar with after an up and down season with the Lakers where he failed to produce consistently. It’s the smart thing to do since the Chinese team is offering him a lucrative deal and we wouldn’t expect to see him play again in the NBA, at least this season. Drop him if you haven’t already.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Anthony Davis - F/C - New Orleans Pelicans

    There are people within the Pelicans organization that feel Anthony Davis has played his last game with the franchise.

    This is according to Scott Kushner of The Advocate who also reminds us that AD says he wants to continue playing. This is just a reminder that Anthony Davis can realistically be anywhere from the most valuable to the least valuable player in fantasy for the rest of the season. The Pelicans are also tied for the fewest games during the head-to-head playoffs.

    Source: Scott Kushner on Twitter

  • Corey Brewer - G/F - Sacramento Kings

    The Kings have signed Corey Brewer to a second 10-day contract.

    Brewer has yet to make an appearance with the Kings, so there’s no fantasy relevance here. He would need a few wings to go down to even make him a potential streamer.

    Source: James Ham on Twitter

  • Chandler Parsons - F - Memphis Grizzlies

    Grizzlies coach J.B. Bickerstaff said he's open to giving Chandler Parsons (knee) some playing time going forward.

    "I think it’ll be good that we’re coming out of the break and we’ll have a few days to practice just to get him on the court, get him back with the group, see where he is," Bickerstaff said. "It’s been a while since he’s played as well. So it’ll be good to have him on the floor, get up and down a little bit, see where he is physically and mentally and then we’ll go from there." This is softer than the Shams Charania reports about returning to the Grizzlies lineup, which were curious at best, and owners should take a wait and see approach to his playing time. He hasn't been playing for multiple reasons.

  • Milos Teodosic - G - Los Angeles Clippers

    Milos Teodosic will reportedly sit out the rest of the 2018-19 season.

    Teodosic was never as good as the hype but he was fun to watch pass. Hopefully he can keep his career going overseas.

    Source: Nikola Stojkovic on Twitter

  • Kevin Knox - F - New York Knicks

    Knicks owner James Dolan is seriously considering selling the team according to The Ringer's Bill Simmons.

    The team outright denied the report today but surely Knicks fans are rolling their eyes over that, and hoping that Dolan sells the squad with no haste.

    Source: Forbes.com

  • Kawhi Leonard - F - Toronto Raptors

    Kawhi Leonard (knee soreness) suited up for the All-Star Game on Sunday and scored 19 points on 7-of-14 shooting in 19 minutes of action in a Team LeBron win over Team Giannis.

    He added five rebounds, five threes and two assists to the box score. Leonard has been in and out of the lineup for the Raptors quite a lot this season, but hopefully he can have a healthy second half of the season. If he can stay on the court, he should continue to hover around top-5 value in all formats. Expect Leonard to return for the Raptors' first game after the break ends.

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo - F - Milwaukee Bucks

    Giannis Antetokounmpo hit 17-of-23 shots on Sunday to score an All-Star game-high 38 points and 11 boards in the 164-178 loss to Team LeBron.

    Steph Curry logged 29 minutes with 17 points but it wasn't enough as his teammates Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson combined for 51 points tonight. Giannis was second on his squad in minutes with 27 and everyone should be well rested coming out of the All-Star break.

  • Kyrie Irving - G - Boston Celtics

    Kyrie Irving (right knee strain) put up 13 points on 6-of-13 shooting with nine rebounds and six assists in a Team LeBron win over Team Giannis in Sunday’s All-Star Game.

    He hit a 3-pointer and made some clutch plays down the stretch to help his team seal the win. Irving missed two games from this injury and should be good to go after the break for the Celtics and is a top-10 option for the remainder of the season.

  • Kevin Durant - F - Golden State Warriors

    Kevin Durant added some hardware to the mantle at home by taking Sunday night’s All-Star game MVP trophy.

    Durant scored 31 points with six triples in the come from behind victory for Team LeBron 178-164 over Team Giannis. Durant got into it with Joel Embiid a few times, while swatting two shots in their matchup.