January 23, 2018, 9:58 pm
The 2017-18 season for the Kings will be judged on the young player’s development rather than the team’s win total, but after eight straight losses the team desperately needed to turn things around. Sacramento managed to do both Tuesday night in a 105-99 win over the Magic.
The Kings ended up sitting three of their veterans on the second night of a back-to-back, but the team was lucky to have Garrett Temple active against the Magic. Temple hasn’t enjoyed the success he did last season in Sacramento, but he was clearly the top player for the Kings in the win. Temple scored a career-high 34 points, and did so while shooting just 17 shots. Temple did a great job of not forcing anything offensively and also managed to control the pace while he was on the floor.
The Kings were able to finish the first quarter with a small lead, but there was some reason to be concerned. Evan Fournier was able to get whatever he wanted to open the game, scoring 12 points in the first quarter alone and 16 points in the opening half. Fournier isn’t the most athletic player, but he does have a high skill level that enables him to find his way into the paint as well as score from the perimeter.
For Aaron Gordon, a player that tends to use his size and athleticism to do his damage, the first half was not all positive. Gordon was able to make his presence felt on the defensive end of the floor, but he was out of control on a regular basis and the Kings did a good job of making him pay for it. Gordon finished the first half with five turnovers.
Temple may have been the player of the game against the Magic, but Willie Cauley-Stein made a sizeable impact as well, bouncing back nicely after a tough game Monday night in Charlotte. He finished with a much more efficient line offensively after going 5-for-20 the night before, but the bigger surprise was his activity on defense. Cauley-Stein hasn’t been able to make much of an impact as a rim protector this season, but tonight was a different story. Cauley-Stein finished with five blocks, and generally did a good job of making his presence felt in the paint like he did on the play below:
The Kings had some work to do heading into the fourth, but Temple’s 19 points in the final quarter sealed the deal for Sacramento. Sacramento can breathe easy knowing that they were able to put an end to their losing streak, but the team will need to prepare for a much tougher game Thursday night in Miami.
- The choice to start Cauley-Stein at power forward was mildly surprising, but Joerger’s decision to start Skal Labissiere at center was interesting to say the least. He did well as the team’s starting center, and his skill set may make that his best fit moving forward. Labissiere is probably the team’s best rim-protector at this point, and he’s able to cause problems on both ends of the floor when he gets into the paint. He will need to find a way to defends larger centers to stay at the position long term, but the potential is there for him to do it.
- De’Aaron Fox exited early with abdominal tightness, and while he was originally listed as questionable it was later announced that he would not return. It is unclear if this will have any long-term impact on his availability.
- Malachi Richardson’s stat line wouldn’t lead you to believe that he had much of an impact, but he really made his presence felt on defense when he was on the court. Richardson does a great job staying in front of his man defensively and he’s also one of the better off-ball defenders on the roster.
Richardson’s ceiling may not compare to some of the other young players on the roster, but his defensive versatility and shooting could open up minutes for him in the second half of the season.
July 12, 2020, 6:22 pmPaul GeorgeSF, Los Angeles Clippers
While Paul George missed the first 11 games of the season due to his shoulder injuries, he was able to rebound and post a top-30 fantasy season.
That's not quite what we've come to expect from George, who was routinely taken in the top-15 before word of his shoulder troubles got out, but considering how badly the issue could've turned out, it's not a bad result at all. George's steals plummeted to 1.3 per game after two straight campaigns of at least two thefts per contest, but some of that can also be explained by a decline of nearly eight minutes per game. The other big issue was George's points falling to 21.0, down from 28.0 with OKC last year. That might not be a huge issue, however, as George was already an elite fantasy player and had never scored more than 23.7 points per game prior to that season. We've seen that George can co-exist with a high-usage superstar before and he should be able to return to more normal levels going forward as long as his health permits. A strong postseason would help PG's fantasy stock, but it's not like he was primed to be falling far in next year's drafts.
July 12, 2020, 6:15 pmMontrezl HarrellPF, Los Angeles Clippers
Montrezl Harrell took a small step back in 2019-20, finishing with top-100 value while averaging 18.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, 0.6 steals and 1.1 blocks while shooting a career-low 58.0% from the field in 27.8 mpg.
The minutes, points and rebounds were all career-highs, but Harrell slipped about two rounds in the fantasy rankings because of declines in field goal percentage, steals and blocks. Those are really the building blocks of his fantasy appeal, and while he's still a big boost to FG% (and managed a career-best but still-bad .658 from the line), Trez needs those defensive numbers to tick back up in order to maximize his potential. This was the first time in Harrell's career where his per-minute blocks declined substantially, so hopefully it's just a blip and he can get back to top-75 output.
July 12, 2020, 6:04 pmLou WilliamsSG, Los Angeles Clippers
After posting top-80/100 (8/9-cat) value in 2018-19, Lou Williams took a back seat to the Clippers' new star duo and finished the 2019-20 campaign with top-90/150 value.
Williams has emerged as a solid source of points, threes and assists off the bench — three stats that require lots of usage. As predicted, his usage fell from 32.4 to 28.3. Lou Will may be the game's premier sixth man but he simply wasn't tasked with as much heavy lifting this year, even though he increased his minutes from last season and still managed a respectable 18.6 points. Williams' threes and assists actually rose in lockstep with his moderate increase in playing time, but his percentages dipped slightly and his turnovers bumped from 2.4 to 2.9 per contest. It was far from a disaster, but Williams let down 9-cat GMs. The fact that the rest of his numbers remained stable should provide hope for the future.
July 12, 2020, 5:21 pmJaMychal GreenPF, Los Angeles Clippers
JaMychal Green delivered top-250/230 (8/9-cat) fantasy value in 55 games, averaging 6.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, 0.5 steals, 0.4 blocks and a personal-best 1.3 3-pointers per game while shooting .414 from the field.
Green is the latest big man to try and evolve his game, as 3.7 of his 5.5 nightly shots were from beyond the arc. To his credit he's been above .333 in each of the five seasons where he's been shooting the triple with regularity, with this season's mark serving as his median. Unfortunately that's dragged down his field goal percentage overall, as his .414 conversion rate goes down as a career-low. After Green was a surprising borderline standard-league play last year, a massive swing in the percentages (.483 to .414 FG, .792 to .727 FT) caused his tumble down the rankings. He's a deep-league option going forward, but not one to get particularly excited about.
July 12, 2020, 5:15 pmReggie JacksonPG, Los Angeles Clippers
Reggie Jackson missed 42 games with back problems and then was waived by the Pistons before latching on with the Clippers in a dreadful 2019-20 season.
Jackson's days as an NBA starter are likely finished, as the Pistons found a very cool trade market for their former PG of the future despite his expiring contract. He was okay for deep-league use in fantasy, returning top-180/205 value (8/9-cat) thanks to 4.4 dimes and 2.0 triples per game, but that's generally a stat set that needs minutes to shine. Jackson averaged just 19.4 mpg after inking with the Clippers and would need far more than that on his next team to be worth a late-round selection in 12-team formats.
July 12, 2020, 4:58 pmRodney McGruderSG, Los Angeles Clippers
Rodney McGruder was a top-400 value in the 2019-20 fantasy season.
McGruder saw action in 50 games with the Clippers but is at the tail end of the rotation and doesn't do much to warrant attention in fantasy. He averaged 0.4 triples (on an ugly .278 mark from deep) as well as 2.6 rebounds and 0.5 steals, but there isn't much to mine out of this situation until you're looking for depth in 30-team formats. It's a long cry from McGruder's must-start run as a key member of Miami's rotation, though that only lasted for a handful of weeks anyway. Simpler times.
July 12, 2020, 4:00 pmJohnathan MotleyPF, Los Angeles Clippers
Johnathan Motley averaged a career-low 3.2 mpg in 2019-20, playing in just 13 games with the Clippers.
Motley is on a two-way deal and was never expected to be an important part of the Clippers rotation, but this is the third straight season in which his playing time has decreased. To be fair, Motley's 16.0 mpg as a rookie was inflated by silly-season numbers in Dallas, including a season finale in which he played the entire game. Regardless, the big man was a top-450 fantasy play and isn't worth considering in next season's drafts.
July 12, 2020, 3:57 pmAmir CoffeyPF, Los Angeles Clippers
Amir Coffey didn't make many impressions in his rookie season, logging 7.5 mpg in 13 appearances.
Coffey scratched together top-475 value in that time. He was able to set career-highs across the board in a garbage time bonanza against the Cavs in February but expectations were low for a rookie on a title contender. Coffey is unlikely to be a fantasy option next year.
July 12, 2020, 3:47 pmTerance MannPG, Los Angeles Clippers
Terance Mann had a promising season with the Clippers before it was cut short due to a right hand injury.
Mann played 35 games with the Clippers this season and even started multiple games for them this season. He averaged just 1.6 points, 0.9 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 7.7 minutes for the Clippers and will likely stay with their G-League affiliate through the offseason. Heading into next year's drafts he shouldn't be considered.
July 12, 2020, 2:55 pmMfiondu KabengeleC, Los Angeles Clippers
Mfiondu Kabengele didn't spend much time with the Clippers NBA team this season but played heavy minutes with their G League affiliate, the Agua Caliente Clippers.
He was the Caliente Clippers' third highest scorer with 18.7 points per game and contributed heavily to their 22 wins this season. In 31.3 minutes, Kabengele put up 9.3 rebounds and 1.9 blocks while also shooting 32.7 percent from beyond the arc. The 6'9" 250-lb big man only played 12 games with the LA Clippers, so his fantasy value was basically nonexistent. However, he has potential to make a splash next season if the Clippers continue to lack length heading into next year.