• JaKarr Sampson may never be an NBA All-Star. He may never be a full-time starter. But he can definitely be of value to a team trying to find their identity like the Kings.

    Over the final 25 games of the 2017-18 season, the Kings need to take a hard look at the 24-year-old who makes up one of their two-way contracts. Sampson has proven to be a valuable commodity when on the court for Sacramento, albeit in a limited amount of time.

    The Kings are one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA and Sampson’s main task with the team has been to defend. In the short amount of time on the floor, he’s done just that.

    While the Kings have the third worst defensive rating in the NBA at 111.9 per Basketball Reference, they allow even more points when Sampson is off the floor. The 18-39 Kings allow their opponents a 112.8 offensive rating when he’s off the floor. When Sampson’s out there the team allows a 107.1 offensive rating.

    As previously mentioned Sampson hasn’t played a ton of minutes (he’s been on the floor for the Kings just 186 minutes compared to 2555 minutes off), but he’s had an effect on the game when given the opportunity.

    That’s not the only statistic to back up the claim on Sampson being a proven defensive integer; Sampson and company boast an 11.5 block percentage with him on the court. That number significantly dips to just 5.1 percent when he’s on the bench or not with the team.

    When it comes to blocking in the NBA when almost all players are bouncing like they’re playing on Slamball trampolines, it requires an amount of not only resilience, but disregard for embarrassment.

    Well-known shot-blockers like Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo didn’t back down after being dunked on, and after Zach LaVine ferociously dunked on Sampson, he didn’t let it affect his confidence.

    That’s the style of play a team like Sacramento needs to have.

    “I don’t care about getting dunked on,” Sampson said. “I just care about making the right play and sacrificing my body for the team.” Sampson told Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee.

    Sampson’s per-36 average of 1.7 blocks leads the Kings. The next highest would be Skal Labissiere with a 1.3 average per-36.

    The issue with Sampson getting extended playing time comes with the amount of time he can actually remain with the team. The two-way contracts only allow a player to be up with the team for 45 days of the season. Sampson, who appeared in just seven games stretching from October-to-January, played in six contests for the Kings in just two weeks of February.

    The good thing for Sacramento is that they opened a roster spot when they let go of Georgios Papagiannis. Now the decision is what to do with that roster spot. The Kings, who have been playing with just one true point guard since trading George Hill, may be waiting to see if Frank Mason returns from his heel injury and is able to go.

    Or, they could be content with Bogdan Bogdanovic, who averaged 5.1 assists per game in February as the designated backup point guard, handling the ball in the meantime.

    If the Kings are willing to play the remaining set of games with just one or two point guards, the roster spot would definitely be best used on Sampson. Every team needs a type of junkyard dog with a do-it-all, no-questions-asked attitude and that’s exactly what JaKarr Sampson could be for Sacramento.

Fantasy News

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo
    PF, Milwaukee Bucks

    In a recent fan question session Bucks' GM Jon Horst hinted towards signing Giannis Antetokounmpo to a supermax extension when eligible.

    Horst mentioned that he cannot technically discuss an extension until he is eligible, but said Antetokounmpo will be a Buck for a long time. The Greek Freak will be eligible next summer and is all but sure to get a supermax extension.

    Source: Fox Sports Wisconsin on Twitter

  • Tacko Fall
    C, Boston Celtics

    Tacko Fall (mild knee sprain) is expected to miss one week after a collision in workouts.

    With training camp two weeks away, Fall should be ready to roll by then. He is currently on an Exhibit 10 contract, battling for the final roster spot with Javonte Green (partially guaranteed) and Kaiser Gates (Exhibit 10). Fall is an intriguing talent at 7'7" but is not expected to be fantasy relevant in his first season even if he does make the team with the Celtics already carrying four center eligible players on guaranteed contracts.

    Source: Jared Weiss on Twitter

  • Nicolas Batum
    SG, Charlotte Hornets

    According to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer, Nicolas Batum and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist have been informed that, "The agenda is youth and development."

    The article adds that both players will have a chance to compete for minutes but the Hornets' top priority will be to develop their younger players which bodes well for Dwayne Bacon, Miles Bridges, Devonte Graham, P.J. Washington and Willy Hernangomez. Miles was already putting up near top-100 value to close the season at around 25 minutes per game while the rest of the players could all produce fantasy value if given the minutes so they should at least be put on the watch list to see how the preseason plays out.

    Source: Charlotte Observer

  • Bogdan Bogdanovic
    SG, Sacramento Kings

    Bogdan Bogdanovic finished with 32 points on 10-of-17 shooting and drained seven triples as Serbia topped Czech Republic 90-81 to finish in 5th place.

    Bogdanovic also added four rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block and was certainly one of the most impressive players in the tournament. Although he has the talent to be a successful full-time starter, the 27-year old will likely be relegated to a similar 25-27 minute, off-the-bench role he played last season with Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes and newly added Trevor Ariza also on the wings. Nikola Jokic also did his usual thing this game with seven points, 14 rebounds and seven assists. Boban Marjanovic and Nemanja Bejlica were not really involved in this one, playing only two and eight minutes, respectively.

    Source: FIBA

  • Donovan Mitchell
    SG, Utah Jazz

    Donovan Mitchell scored 16 points with 10 assists as US beat Poland 87-74 on Saturday to finish seventh place in the tournament.

    Mitchell was an efficient 5-of-6 from the field and 4-of-4 from downtown but the bigger story of course was USA's disappointing showing as this was only the second time that they finished outside the top-3 in the FIBA World Cup since 1978. Kemba Walker (neck), Jayson Tatum (ankle) and Marcus Smart (hand/quad/calf) all sat out the final game as they now have two weeks to rest before the start of training camp.

    Source: FIBA

  • Evan Fournier
    SF, Orlando Magic

    Evan Fournier scored 16 points to lead France in their semifinal loss to Argentina by the score of 80-66.

    This was a really poor showing all around in an elimination game by the French team. Fournier scored an inefficient 16 and was joined by Frank Ntilikina's 16 as two of just three French players in double figures.

  • Rudy Gobert
    C, Utah Jazz

    Rudy Gobert was invisible in France's loss to Argentina in the semifinals of the FIBA World Cup, scoring just three points and pulling down 11 rebounds in 29 minutes.

    This just wasn't enough from Gobert, who couldn't impose his will against a weaker Argentina squad on paper. Joining him in the "forgot there was a game" club was Nicolas Batum, who consistently finds a way to do nothing in heavy minutes. Batum's line in this one was a paltry three points (1-of-6 shooting), five boards, one assist and a block.

  • Patty Mills
    PG, San Antonio Spurs

    Patty Mills was the star for Australia, scoring 34 points and hitting four triples against Spain, but Australia fell in double overtime 95-88.

    Mills did as much as he could but he just didn't get enough help from his supporting cast. Joe Ingles couldn't find the basket and only had four points (to go along with 10 rebounds and seven assists). With that off night of shooting from Ingles, the Aussies needed someone like Matthew Dellavedova (six points) or Aron Baynes (six points) to step up.

  • Ricky Rubio
    PG, Phoenix Suns

    Ricky Rubio approached a triple-double in the semi-final win over Australia with 19 points, seven boards and 12 assists in 38 minutes.

    It was another big line for Rubio in the semis, who has been a stalwart for this Spanish run to the finals. He was inefficient from the field (6-of-19) but ran the offense well and should be a factor again in the final game.

  • Marc Gasol
    C, Toronto Raptors

    Marc Gasol carried Spain to the FIBA World Cup Final in a double-OT win over Australia, finishing with 33 points, six rebounds and four assists.

    Gasol had a great outing to lift Spain here and they should have a great shot at winning the title against Argentina. We'll see how this high workload summer affects him going into the new season.