January 20, 2018, 11:11 pm
The Kings’ season is going about as you had expected it to go. The team is losing a lot, losing their last seven games in fact, and currently sit dead last in the Western Conference. The veterans brought in during the offseason haven’t quite performed as projected, and the youngsters have been given the keys with just over 50 percent of the season behind us.
With the February 8 trade deadline inching closer, the Kings are reportedly open to dealing some of their veterans – Kosta Koufos specifically – while George Hill is receiving interest from the Cavaliers. Both Koufos and Hill, along with the three other veterans on the team (Zach Randolph, Vince Carter and Garrett Temple), won’t bring back much in a trade. That’s just the reality of the situation as they’re either past their prime, under performing or signed to large contracts.
Hood, who is set to be a restricted free agent this offseason, is having a career year in Utah averaging 16.7 points per game on 38.6 percent shooting from three (both career-highs). What makes his 3-point percentage, in particular, even more impressive is the fact that he’s taking 7.0 3-pointers per game and making 2.7 of those attempts – again, both career-highs. And that’s not it either.
Hood is also recording career-highs in field goal attempts (14.5), field goals made (6.0), free throw percentage (86.2) and usage percentage (28.0). His numbers are seemingly up across the board and he’s developed into a reliable scoring option.
Additionally, Hood has gone out of his way over the past two seasons to lay it on the Kings whenever the two teams matchup. In his last three games against the Kings, Hood is averaging 23.6 points on 60.9 percent shooting from the field and 59.0 percent from three. Those are some incredible numbers, and if you felt as though Hood went off on Sacramento every time he played them, you were right. The Kings have had a good look at Hood over the years to say the least.
Oh, and Dave Joerger has an open fondness for him too.
“He’s a heck of a player and keeps getting better and better. He’s a good player.” – Joerger back in 2016.
From the same ESPN piece:
Joerger loved Hood from the moment he emerged as a prospect for the 2014 draft: A long, rangy, high-IQ shooting guard who drained 42 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc at Duke.
It’s probably worth mentioning that Hood won’t come cheap, and acquiring him will likely mean parting ways with a young piece or two. Despite the fact that Hood is set to be a restricted free agent, the Jazz will have a high asking price for the promising young guard.
Why would the Kings part ways with their own youth when they could just target Hood in the offseason? There’s no guarantee that the Kings secure a player of his caliber. For starters, the Jazz would own his rights and could match any offer, and secondly, Hood would have to actually sign with Sacramento which is a long-shot.
Trading for an impending RFA has little-to-no risk. This way, you have the power to match any offer sheet signed by Hood and essentially decide his fate. The Kings need to be adding talent like this and it’ll help them improve not only in the short-term, but in the long-term too.
Is Hood’s injury history a concern? Yes it can be, however, the Kings have a pretty good track record as far as keeping players healthy, so he’d be coming to a place that’s willing to be patient with him and work through those issues. It may end up being that the team has to slowly bring him along too, health wise that is, until he’s 100 percent ready to go. The difference is that the Kings know what they have in Hood and can deploy him when he’s ready, as opposed to a guy like Harry Giles who has yet to play a single minute in the NBA. In this case, Hood’s talent trumps his bumpy injury history and the upside you get in a player like him is too good to pass up.
Parting with one of the Kings’ youth would be a tough pill to swallow, but you’d undoubtedly be getting an upgrade in Hood who’ll be a focal point in Sacramento for years to come. There’s an element of risk involved, just like there is with any trade, but the Kings are at a point where gambling on a player or two could be the difference between never-ending mediocrity, and taking the next step.