• Hoop Ball Kings’ brand new series that we are rolling out in the lead up to the 2017-18 NBA season continues as we now turn to projecting Sacramento’s starting lineup on opening night.

    Missed the previous installments of Hoop Ball Kings’ Roundtable Series? Click HERE to read them.

    Starting positions are up for grabs as the Kings enter training camp. Point guard is the only position that’s practically locked in as George Hill is primed to start. Every other position is wide open and will be determined during camp and throughout preseason.

    That’s not stopping us from having a crack at who we think will be among the five names called on opening night. The Kings have an overwhelming amount of youth on the roster, so will they go with a young starting lineup? Or will they inject their veterans into the fray and make the youngsters earn their keep?

    Join the conversation: Want to make your own projections and predictions? Feel free to leave them in the comments below or tweet them to us @HoopBallKings on Twitter, or Hoop Ball Kings on Facebook.

    Nick Avila

    Starting Lineup Prediction: George Hill, Buddy Hield, Vince Carter, Zach Randolph and Willie Cauley-Stein.

    When you have positions up for grabs like the Kings do, you’re bound to have a few surprises. But at the same time, the Kings’ starting lineup could be a simple one. There are two players who saw plenty of minutes when DeMarcus Cousins was traded last season: Buddy Hield and Willie Cauley-Stein.

    Hield saw almost 30 minutes per game when he joined the Kings. In his 25 games in Sacramento he put up some solid stats, including 15 points per game on 48 percent shooting, about five rebounds and just under two assists.

    With last years success playing in coach Dave Joerger’s system, Hield should be the team’s starting two-guard when the season begins.

    When it comes to Cauley-Stein, it’s somewhat safe to assume he’d start at center for the Kings since he ended last season starting 20 of the teams last 21 games. WCS averaged 31 minutes as a starter and put up 13 points and almost nine rebounds per game during that stretch.

    The addition of Zach Randolph also helps Cauley-Stein’s case since Randolph is my choice to start for the Kings at power forward. Randolph will give the Kings a big body inside to pair with Cauley-Stein’s length.

    Additionally, Randolph’s offensive game also is a deciding factor as it pertains to WCS starting. Last season, Randolph took more than 40 percent of his shots 10 feet or further from the rim according to Basketball Reference. So his ability to extend out to as far as the three-point line allows Cauley-Stein the interior of the paint, for the most part.

    Z-Bo only started five games for Memphis last season, but with the Kings having so many young players, it’d be best if the youth are paired with some veteran influence.

    Vince Carter hasn’t started in more than 15 games in a season since the 2011-12 season. While I eventually see Justin Jackson claiming the starting small forward spot, for the time being, Carter fits the bill.

    Carter will be a vital part of the starting lineup because he won’t need the ball to make plays. Instead, playing more of a catch-and-shoot role.

    To round out the lineup, George Hill will bring up the rock for the Kings after starting all 49 games he played in for the Jazz. Hill starting will allow Fox to get some time on the NBA hardwood under his belt. If Hield and Carter can hit their shots for the Kings, Hill could easily match his assists per game from last season (4.2 apg).

    Jake Fitzgibbon

    Starting Lineup Prediction: George Hill, Buddy Hield, Vince Carter, Zach Randolph and Kosta Koufos.

    Buddy Hield is the only one stopping this from being an all-veteran starting lineup, and he only got my vote by a slim margin.

    Hill is a lock to start as mentioned above, and the only thing that will change that is an injury or something going terribly, terribly wrong during the preseason. De’Aaron Fox will be made to earn his playing time by coming off the bench to start the season, and this is the best thing for him.

    Both Garrett Temple and Bogdan Bogdanovic have the potential to start, and it’s entirely possible they could, but Hield has the edge in my mind. He rounded out last season as a starter and thanks to some strong play will remain there.

    Joerger likely goes with Carter at small forward. At 40-years-old Carter can still play, so he won’t be holding anyone back here. Throwing Justin Jackson into the fire straight away would be a risky move which is why I think Joerger will favor the veteran option.

    Similar reasons apply in my choice for Randolph as the starting power forward. Skal manned that spot to close out last season but he looked raw during Summer League and still has lots of developing to do. Joerger’s familiarity with Z-Bo will likely result in a high dosage of minutes which means Skal will have to work his way up again.

    It was tempting to go with Willie Cauley-Stein at center but I leaned with Koufos instead. Mainly because of Joerger’s favoring of veterans over youth. Koufos could very well be out of the starting lineup after a month or so but either way I see him starting on opening night.

    It could be a case of switching up the starting center based on match ups so this could be changed on a night-to-night basis.

    Jon Schifferle

    Starting Lineup Prediction: George Hill, Buddy Hield, Garrett Temple, Skal Labissiere and Willie Cauley-Stein.

    George Hill is likely the only lock to start heading into season, but a few others on the roster seem to be close.

    With Willie Cauley-Stein entering his third season, he should have a great chance to win the starting job at center, and the team will likely want to give Skal Labissiere and Buddy Hield a chance to win starting jobs after their strong performances in the second half last season.

    Small forward is the biggest wild card at this point, but Temple might be too good to be left out of the starting five.

    The team didn’t have much consistency in their starting lineup after the DeMarcus Cousins trade last season, and that will likely be the case this season as well.

    Players like Bogdan Bogdanovic, Justin Jackson and Malachi Richardson may all find themselves starting on the wing at some point during the year.

    Both Zach Randolph and Kosta Koufos will have opportunities to start too if Cauley-Stein or Labissiere struggle early on.

    The team will likely stay with their original group for the first 10-15 games, but there should be plenty of lineup adjustments as the season goes along.

    Join the conversation: Want to make your own projections and predictions? Feel free to leave them in the comments below or tweet them to us @HoopBallKings on Twitter, or Hoop Ball Kings on Facebook.

    Missed the previous installments of Hoop Ball Kings’ Roundtable Series? Click HERE to read them.

Fantasy News

  • JaMychal Green - F - Los Angeles Clippers

    JaMychal Green will remain in the starting lineup in Game 5 on Wednesday.

    Green logged 22 minutes in the same role in Game 4, though it's not surprising that the Clippers will stick with the same group considering Ivica Zubac's tough fit in this matchup and Montrezl Harrell's fit in his current role.

    Source: Andrew Greif on Twitter

  • Nate Tibbets - Team - Trail Blazers

    The Suns have been given permission to interview Blazers assistants Nate Tibbets and David Vanterpool for their vacant head coaching position.

    The Cavs have already been connected to the duo from Portland, and Tibbets interviewed for the Hawks' gig last summer. The Suns reportedly fired Igor Kokoskov so they could make Philadelphia assistant Monty Williams their top target before the Lakers got too deep into talks, but Phoenix will be looking at multiple candidates. It's a nice roster to work with but we can't imagine anyone will be too eager to work with the team's ownership group.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Draymond Green - F - Golden State Warriors

    Draymond Green admitted that his right wrist has been hurt for "a while."

    Green added that he got hit there in Game 4 and "it pissed it off" and said that he's going to play through any pain in the postseason. It's not like teams weren't sagging off Green on the perimeter already, but if his wrist continues to hamper him in any way we may see opponents get very aggressive in their defensive efforts on Golden State's other players. Green is going to have lots of open jumpers presented to him for the rest of the postseason.

    Source: Anthony Slater on Twitter

  • Jarrett Allen - C - Brooklyn Nets

    Jarrett Allen will work on extending his range to the 3-point line this summer.

    Him and every other big man. Allen went 6-for-45 on 3-pointers this season, so he's got some work to do. He's a quality young player who can protect the rim, but Allen isn't quite strong enough to crash and bang with the league's true behemoths and not quite gifted enough offensively to be anything more than a threat on the roll. It's a great base from which to work, however, and it's good to know that Allen is going to be putting in the work to make himself more of a weapon as the Nets look to build on a nice campaign.

    Source: Bryan Fonseca on Twitter

  • Marcus Smart - G - Boston Celtics

    On Wednesday Brad Stevens said that Marcus Smart (torn oblique) is "doing great."

    That's nice, but it's not much of an update. Smart was able to do some light shooting and treadmill work yesterday but we're still not expecting to see him until the tail end of the second round at the earliest. His tenacity and perimeter defense will be missed dearly in Boston's matchup with the Bucks.

    Source: Jay King on Twitter

  • Kyle Lowry - G - Toronto Raptors

    Kyle Lowry suffered a dislocated finger on his right hand in the first half of Tuesday's Game 5 but was able to pop it back in and return to the game.

    Lowry swiped at the ball and ended up hitting Evan Fournier's leg with his hand, which caused the injury The fact that he was able to return to the game, even in a blowout, bodes well for his status for the second round. It may affect his shooting to some degree but Lowry has been playing facilitator more often anyway, and we wouldn't expect his performance to suffer. After a scoreless Game 1, Lowry was all over the floor for the Raptors as they locked in and simply outclassed Orlando.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Jeff Hornacek - Team - Sacramento Kings

    Sam Amick of the Athletic is reporting that former Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek had an interview with the Kings for the lead assistant coach job.

    Sacramento has already hired Luke Walton to be their new coach but the news about the sexual assault allegations he faces might put his status in danger. Walton should be able to assemble his coaching staff once he is out of the woods but we should know more once the NBA concludes with their investigation of the matter.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Luke Walton - Team - Sacramento Kings

    Sam Amick of the Athletic is reporting that Luke Walton still has the Kings’ support, despite the sexual assault allegations the newly-hired coach is facing.

    The Kings are working with the NBA to investigate allegations made against Walton by his former colleague at Time Warner Cable, Kelli Tennant. The report adds that the two sides are moving forward with their working relationship and there doesn’t appear to be any momentum toward firing Walton, who was hired earlier this month just three days after he parted ways with the Lakers. The Kings confirmed that they were not aware of the accusations until TMZ reported the news and that they will wait for the facts before making a decision on Walton’s future. The investigation has been delayed because all parties haven’t been able to access Tennant’s lawsuit so more information should merge soon.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Jaren Jackson Jr. - F/C - Memphis Grizzlies

    Jaren Jackson Jr. said that he wants to improve his "motor," his ball-handling skills and his shooting mechanics entering year two and he hopes to work with Kevin Garnett over the coming months.

    Jackson and Garnett spent time together last summer and again in February when Garnett visited Memphis to feature Jackson’s game for his segment on TNT. "He has a work ethic that is a throwback that I'm very appreciative of," Garnett said in the segment. "I love working with him. He is the future. I look forward to him becoming the leader of Memphis." The rookie had an impressive season before getting shut down due to a bruised thigh, averaging 13.8 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1.4 blocks, 0.9 steals and 0.9 triples per contest. He has tremendous upside and owners in dynasty leagues should feel great about him.

    Source: Memphis Commercial Appeal

  • Ivan Rabb - F - Memphis Grizzlies

    Ivan Rabb plans to spend much of his offseason in the weight room as he tries to bulk up and show that he has NBA-level defense to pair with his expanding offensive game.

    For all the charm of Rabb's smooth offensive repertoire, he knows his defense needs to improve. It was especially evident in an April 3 loss at Portland when Enes Kanter torched Rabb and the Grizzlies in the post for 21 points and 15 rebounds. Rabb posted almost identical statistics this season to those he posted in 36 games as a rookie, but the second-year post player knocked down 37 percent of his 3-pointers in the G League, showing a comfort level from beyond the arc previously missing from his game. Rabb's deal is non-guaranteed, so the Grizzlies could move on from him if they want but he is only 22 years old and has shown enough potential to likely warrant another season at the relatively low price tag of $1.6 million. Keep him in your radar as he might have an important role next season in what might be a rebuilding year for the Grizzlies.

    Source: Memphis Commercial Appeal