September 27, 2017, 3:41 pm
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?
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).
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.
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.
Missed the previous installments of Hoop Ball Kings’ Roundtable Series? Click HERE to read them.
July 20, 2019, 3:09 pmOshae BrissettSG-SF, Toronto Raptors
The Raptors have signed Oshae Brissett to an Exhibit 10 contract.
Brissett, a Toronto native, went undrafted after two seasons at Syracuse and played with the Clippers at Summer League, where he averaged 6.6 points, 4.0 rebounds and 0.8 steals in 17.6 minutes a night across five games. This puts Toronto's roster at 20 for the time being, so barring any further transactions the Raptors have their camp group set.
Source: Blake Murphy on Twitter
July 20, 2019, 2:32 pmJordan McLaughlinG, Minnesota Timberwolves
The Wolves have inked point guard Jordan McLaughlin to a two-way contract.
McLaughlin went undrafted in 2018 after a four-year USC career where he averaged 12.8 points, 7.8 assists and 2.0 steals in his senior season. After his strong play for the G-League's Long Island Nets last season, he earned a spot on this years Wolves summer league roster where he continued to impress, leading his team to a 6-1 record. He is unlikely to get many NBA minutes this season with Jeff Teague, Shabazz Napier and Tyrone Wallace on the roster.
Source: Jon Krawczynski on Twitter
July 20, 2019, 1:26 pmEmmanuel MudiayPG, Utah Jazz
The Jazz have officially announced the signing of Emmanuel Mudiay, Jeff Green and Ed Davis.
All three project to come off the bench this season with Green and Davis part of the frontcourt second string while it is unclear if Mudiay or Dante Exum will assume the backup point guard duties. Davis is coming off a career-high 8.6 rebounds per game in only 17.9 minutes last season while Mudiay enjoyed his best year as a pro with the Knicks but all three players can be left undrafted in standard leagues for the time being.
July 20, 2019, 12:59 pmCJ McCollumSG, Trail Blazers
C.J. McCollum has withdrawn his name from the Team USA training camp and 2019 FIBA World Cup.
Following the trend, McCollumn is the fourth player to withdraw his name this week in order to focus on the upcoming season. The original 20 invites are now down to 16 with the final 12-man roster expected to be announced on August 17.
Source: Chris Haynes on Twitter
July 20, 2019, 12:51 pmFrank MasonPG, Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks have agreed on a two-way contract with Frank Mason III.
Mason did not get much opportunity with the Kings last year and sat out all of Summer League with a sore hip. He projects to spend most of his time in the G-League and called up only if Eric Bledsoe or George Hill need to miss time. The Bucks recently signed Cameron Reynolds to a two-way deal and still have Bonzie Colson on one from last season so they are one over the limit. They still have an empty roster even after signing Kyle Korver so maybe one of their two-ways gets a standard deal instead. Otherwise, one of them will need to be waived.
Source: Shams Charania on Twitter
July 20, 2019, 12:25 pmKyle KorverSF, Milwaukee Bucks
Kyle Korver has agreed to a one-year deal with the Bucks per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
This is not the worst landing spot for Korver but he will strictly be a backup and entering his 17th season, he should not be relevant in standard leagues. He was able to knock down 2.1 triples per game in only 20.1 minutes last season so he may have value as a specialist in super-deep leagues however.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter
July 20, 2019, 11:49 amChris PaulPG, Oklahoma City Thunder
Chris Paul has reportedly settled on the idea of starting the season for the Thunder.
Although Oklahoma City and Miami did not have formal discussions regarding a Chris Paul trade according to Brian Windhorst, the Thunder were willing to discuss giving back the Heat some picks but the Heat would have also wanted Paul to decline his $44 million player option in 2021-2022, which is not going to happen. The Heat want to remain flexible in the next big free agent class of 2021 and adding Paul on his current deal would take that away. Paul's usage rate will likely increase on the Thunder but keep in mind that he has missed at least 21 games in each of the three seasons before drafting him as the 9-time All-Star enters his 15th season in the league.
July 20, 2019, 11:20 amEric GordonSG, Houston Rockets
Eric Gordon withdraws from Team USA training camp for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
Gordon is the third player to withdraw this week after James Harden and Anthony Davis. The original training camp list of 20 is now down to 17 and the official 12-team roster will be announced on August 17.
Source: Shams Charanis on Twitter
July 19, 2019, 9:59 pmLuke KornetPF-C, Chicago Bulls
The Bulls have officially announced the signings of Luke Kornet and Shaquille Harrison.
Kornet can provide threes and blocks as a backup big for the Bulls. He is currently behind Lauri Markkanen, Thaddeus Young and Wendell Carter Jr. but may be able to carve out some minutes for deep-league owners. Harrison will be fighting for minutes with the Bulls' plethora of point guards at the moment. If he can find some minutes during the season, he can be a source of steals as a player to stream or for deep leagues.
July 19, 2019, 9:24 pmRondae Hollis-JeffersonSF, Toronto Raptors
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson has signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Raptors.
Hollis-Jefferson's deal was originally reported as a minimum contract however it is now a $2.5 million contract which comes out of the Raptors' non-taxpayer mid-level. He will likely play some minutes behind Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka. He is capable of defending multiple positions and might be able to provide some deep-league value in rebounds, steals and blocks.
Source: Jeff Siegel on Twitter