December 12, 2017, 1:41 am
Garrett Temple has flown somewhat under the radar this season. The Kings added three well-known veterans in the offseason, and have a talented collection of youngsters that have all claimed the spotlight. Temple, who is the second year of a three-year deal, doesn’t need the spotlight to implement his mark on a team.
Temple came to Sacramento as a fairly unknown commodity but he quickly captured the hearts of the Kings’ loyal fan base early in his tenure. He spent most of his time coming off the bench in his first season with the team, only starting 21 of 65 games played in fact, but he didn’t need to start to have such a significant impact on a team.
Temple’s minutes gradually increased as the 2016-17 season progressed. He went from playing 22.6 minutes per game from October-to-December, to playing 28.5 minutes per game from January-to-April. It’s normally a trend you see reversed for veteran players, but Temple’s contagious leadership and feisty defense made it hard to keep him off the floor.
Back in March via a piece by Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee, Dave Joerger spoke highly of his veteran guard:
“He’s good for (the young players), he’s a classy guy.”
Former King DeMarcus Cousins had this to say about his former teammate (via the Sacramento Bee):
“He’s always ready to play and never complains, great teammate. There’s nothing negative I could ever say about him. He’s a guy I love to talk to. He sits next to me in the locker room. He’s a positive guy at all times. Got to love guys like that.”
The reviews are undeniably outstanding and there’s plenty of other former teammates, and current teammates who also give Temple high praise.
The feeling is mutual too as Temple’s review of Sacramento has been positive, also hinting at wanting to stay long-term in an interview with James Ham of NBCS:
“I can see myself finishing my career here, I can definitely see that, I have a great relationship with the front office. I have a great relationship with the coaching staff, the fans as well.”
“I’m a guy who wants to win, so I’m definitely going to weigh my options depending on how this year goes out, but I’m a guy who loves this team. I love these young guys.”
Temple has a player option for next season so it’ll be up to him if he wants to stay for another year. It’s possible that he opts out in order to sign a long-term deal with the Kings, but it’s also possible he opts out in search of a playoff ready team.
As far as this season is concerned, Temple has already started 20 games so he’s destined to surpass his total from last season. You could say it’s unsurprising considering the impact he has, but given the depth Sacramento has on the wings a reduced role was expected coming into the season.
Offensively, he’s never been a great option shooting 39.9 percent from the field over his career. This season he’s only shooting at a 37.2 percent clip and just 15.8 percent over his last four games. It hasn’t been pretty for Temple but the team isn’t expecting him to light up the box score on a nightly basis; he’s there to provide mentorship for the younger players and to be a bulldog defensively.
The Kings as a team have never been great defensively, and this season they’re particularly bad ranking 27th out of the 30 teams. One man can’t make a team a defensive juggernaut but he’s still doing his part swiping 1.1 steals per game.
One scenario that probably needs to be considered is that Temple could be moved prior to the deadline this season. He’s on an appealing contract and teams gunning for the playoffs would love to add a guy like him. He certainly carries some value and if Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic continue to trend upwards it would make sense to move on from Temple; Sacramento could potentially net a decent young player in return.
His future with the team is hard to foresee at this stage. However, one thing that is for sure is the impact that he has on this young unit. Temple’s influence on this roster is something you’ll see start to pay off down the line.