May 15, 2018, 11:32 pm
2017-18 averages: 65 G | 35 GS | 24.8 MP | 8.4 PTS | 2.3 REB | 1.9 AST | 0.9 STL | 0.4 BLK | 1.2 TOV | 41.8 FG% | 39.2 3P% | 76.9 FT% |
With four promising perimeter players and George Hill all being added to the roster this summer, Garrett Temple seemed destined for a much smaller role in the Kings’ rotation this past season. Maybe not right away, but over time it was easy to think that Bogdan Bogdanovic and Buddy Hield would slowly but surely eat away at his minutes.
Despite the circumstances, Temple ended up starting 35 games for the Kings, while also finishing with 24.8 minutes per game – the second highest total of his career. Early struggles and an eventual trade for George Hill helped Temple maintain his spot in the rotation, but his versatility was equally important in his fight for minutes.
Ever since joining the Kings in the summer of 2016, Garrett Temple has been the most consistently-impactful defender on the roster. Temple took a slight step back defensively this past year, but his ability to take on tough assignments for some of the team’s younger players was a boost for Sacrametno’s rebuilding efforts. Players like De’Aaron Fox, Hield and Bogdanovic will need to learn how to defend against the elite guards in the Western Conference, but having Temple to take the pressure off when they need it is a good thing this early in their development.
Offensively, Temple’s ability to make the right play without needing to dominate the ball made him an ideal fit. Temple’s shooting ability also helped space the floor, making him easy to slide in next to any of the Kings’ young guards. Temple wasn’t quite as good as he was in the 2016-17 season, but he was able to score a career-high 34 points against the Magic:
Off the court, Temple’s maturity and his presence in the community make him a great role model for the team’s younger players. Sacramento was actively searching for veteran mentors last summer, and by all accounts Temple filled that role perfectly.
Heading into the summer, Temple’s future with the Kings remains uncertain. The team’s backcourt could be even more crowded next season, and he has a players option for $8 million that he may not want to exercise. His versatility makes him a good fit for the Kings, but at 32 he may be looking to move on to a contender.
Not only that, but Temple could find himself with plenty of potential suitors this summer. There won’t be too much salary cap space available, but players that can shoot and defend multiple positions are highly valued in the modern NBA.
Temple still may choose to opt in at $8 million and hope for a better opportunity in the summer of 2019. Minutes will be tougher to find on the Kings next season, but if he chooses to stay the team will still value his contributions on the court as well as the example he sets off of it.