Sacramento Kings: NBA season preview, roster and schedule 2018

The Kings are all-in on their youth movement, but with so much inexperience on their roster, they seem headed for the bottom of the West.


Offseason Recap

Arrivals: De’Aaron Fox, George Hill, Zach Randolph, Vince Carter, Justin Jackson, Harry Giles, Frank Mason, Bogdan Bogdanovic

Departures: Arron Afflalo, Darren Collison, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, Rudy Gay, Ty Lawson, Ben McLemore, Anthony Tolliver

The youth movement the Kings started when they traded away DeMarcus Cousins last season continued in a big way this offseason. They allowed a mass exodus by opting not to re-sign any of their veteran free agents. 

And during the draft, they added four more rookies to what was already an extremely young and inexperienced lineup. That includes No. 5 overall pick, De’Aaron Fox, who figures to be the team’s potential franchise point guard. They also agreed to a deal to bring over former first-round pick Bogdan Bogdanovic from Europe in the largest ever rookie contract.

Sacramento also looked to address the experience imbalance in their roster by signing rugged veterans in Zach Randolph, Vince Carter, and George Hill in free agency to serve as mentors to the team’s youngsters. 

Projected Depth Chart

C – Kosta Koufos / Willie Cauley-Stein / Georgios Papagiannis

PF – Zach Randolph / Skal Labissiere / Harry Giles

SF – Justin Jackson / Bogdan Bogdanovic / Vince Carter

SG – Buddy Hield / Garrett Temple / Malachi Richardson

PG – George Hill / De’Aaron Fox / Frank Mason III

Strengths

The Kings did precious few things well last season. One positive was getting to the foul line at a top-ten rate, but most of that was helped by Cousins and his double-digit foul shot attempts when he was still on the team. With Boogie and his prodigious offensive skills gone, so is Sacramento’s biggest strength.

Their on-ball defense at the point guard position should be one of the better ones in the league, though. When healthy, Hill can be one of the better point guard defenders in the league due to his size and length, while Fox projects to be an above-average defender with his elite athleticism and strong effort levels.

Apart from that, though, it’s hard to see what else this team can do consistently well. 

Weaknesses

The Kings were in the 20s in both offensive (21st) and defensive (25th) efficiency last season. After adding even more inexperienced rookies, they don’t figure to be much better in either category.

They will be hamstrung offensively by a continued lack of shooting, especially at the power forward and center spots. They don’t have anyone who can effectively stretch the floor in those positions and provide more spacing for Fox. The rookie’s shot is still suspect and his efficiency might dip if he’s consistently forced to become a jump shooter.

Unless Hield makes a significant jump or Bogdanovic and Fox take a surprisingly quick time settling into the NBA as rookies, the Kings will also struggle to create anything off the dribble on a consistent basis.

Meanwhile, their overall defense will remain an issue. Power forward will again be a particularly vulnerable position as they don’t have an alternative to replace Randolph or Labissiere if they struggle against more perimeter-based fours.

And, of course, the general lack of experience will likely cost this team on multiple occasions over the course of the season. No matter how well they’re coached, a team composed of nine first or second-year players will still make mistakes on both ends of the floor, and all those mistakes will eventually add up to a lot of losses.

Player to Watch – De’Aaron Fox

As a college prospect, Fox had nearly as good a case to be the top pick in the Draft in place of either Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball. Fox had elite speed and athleticism at the point guard position, not to mention the aforementioned defensive potential, as well as excellent intangibles. He’s a very hard worker and a fierce competitor.

The big knock on him, though, was his shot, and in this modern NBA where shooting is of such importance, it was and is a significant issue he has to overcome. He was a horrific jump shooter in his one year in college even though his shooting form didn’t look that bad. 

That iffy jump shot could prevent him from reaching true star potential. That’s why it’s so important for him to show at least some progress in his rookie year. No one will truly be sure about that shot for at least a couple of years, but until then, Fox should play with consistent effort and intensity all season long. He should also make a good number of eye-popping plays with his standout athleticism.

2017/18 Schedule

1 Oct 18, 2017 vs. Houston Rockets    

2 Oct 20, 2017 @ Dallas Mavericks    

3 Oct 21, 2017 @ Denver Nuggets    

4 Oct 23, 2017 @ Phoenix Suns    

5 Oct 26, 2017 vs. New Orleans Pelicans    

6 Oct 29, 2017 vs. Washington Wizards    

7 Oct 31, 2017 @ Indiana Pacers    

8 Nov 1, 2017 @ Boston Celtics    

9 Nov 4, 2017 @ Detroit Pistons    

10 Nov 7, 2017 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder    

11 Nov 9, 2017 vs. Philadelphia 76ers    

12 Nov 11, 2017 @ New York Knicks    

13 Nov 13, 2017 @ Washington Wizards    

14 Nov 15, 2017 @ Atlanta Hawks    

15 Nov 17, 2017 vs. Portland Trail Blazers    

16 Nov 18, 2017 @ Portland Trail Blazers    

17 Nov 20, 2017 vs. Denver Nuggets    

18 Nov 22, 2017 vs. Los Angeles Lakers    

19 Nov 25, 2017 vs. Los Angeles Clippers    

20 Nov 27, 2017 @ Golden State Warriors    

21 Nov 28, 2017 vs. Milwaukee Bucks    

22 Dec 1, 2017 @ Chicago Bulls    

23 Dec 2, 2017 @ Milwaukee Bucks    

24 Dec 6, 2017 @ Cleveland Cavaliers    

25 Dec 8, 2017 @ New Orleans Pelicans    

26 Dec 10, 2017 vs. Toronto Raptors    

27 Dec 12, 2017 vs. Phoenix Suns    

28 Dec 14, 2017 @ Minnesota Timberwolves    

29 Dec 17, 2017 @ Toronto Raptors    

30 Dec 19, 2017 @ Philadelphia 76ers    

31 Dec 20, 2017 @ Brooklyn Nets    

32 Dec 23, 2017 vs. San Antonio Spurs    

33 Dec 26, 2017 @ Los Angeles Clippers    

34 Dec 27, 2017 vs. Cleveland Cavaliers    

35 Dec 29, 2017 vs. Phoenix Suns    

36 Dec 31, 2017 vs. Memphis Grizzlies    

37 Jan 2, 2018 vs. Charlotte Hornets    

38 Jan 6, 2018 vs. Denver Nuggets    

39 Jan 8, 2018 vs. San Antonio Spurs    

40 Jan 9, 2018 @ Los Angeles Lakers    

41 Jan 11, 2018 vs. Los Angeles Clippers    

42 Jan 13, 2018 @ Los Angeles Clippers    

43 Jan 15, 2018 @ Oklahoma City Thunder    

44 Jan 17, 2018 vs. Utah Jazz    

45 Jan 19, 2018 @ Memphis Grizzlies    

46 Jan 22, 2018 @ Charlotte Hornets    

47 Jan 23, 2018 @ Orlando Magic    

48 Jan 25, 2018 @ Miami Heat    

49 Jan 28, 2018 @ San Antonio Spurs    

50 Jan 30, 2018 @ New Orleans Pelicans    

51 Feb 2, 2018 vs. Golden State Warriors    

52 Feb 3, 2018 vs. Dallas Mavericks    

53 Feb 5, 2018 vs. Chicago Bulls    

54 Feb 9, 2018 vs. Portland Trail Blazers    

55 Feb 11, 2018 @ Minnesota Timberwolves    

56 Feb 13, 2018 @ Dallas Mavericks    

57 Feb 14, 2018 @ Houston Rockets    

58 Feb 22, 2018 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder    

59 Feb 24, 2018 vs. Los Angeles Lakers    

60 Feb 26, 2018 vs. Minnesota Timberwolves    

61 Feb 27, 2018 @ Portland Trail Blazers    

62 Mar 1, 2018 vs. Brooklyn Nets    

63 Mar 3, 2018 vs. Utah Jazz    

64 Mar 4, 2018 vs. New York Knicks    

65 Mar 7, 2018 vs. New Orleans Pelicans    

66 Mar 9, 2018 vs. Orlando Magic    

67 Mar 11, 2018 @ Denver Nuggets    

68 Mar 12, 2018 @ Oklahoma City Thunder    

69 Mar 14, 2018 vs. Miami Heat    

70 Mar 16, 2018 @ Golden State Warriors    

71 Mar 17, 2018 @ Utah Jazz    

72 Mar 19, 2018 vs. Detroit Pistons    

73 Mar 22, 2018 vs. Atlanta Hawks    

74 Mar 25, 2018 vs. Boston Celtics    

75 Mar 27, 2018 vs. Dallas Mavericks    

76 Mar 29, 2018 vs. Indiana Pacers    

77 Mar 31, 2018 vs. Golden State Warriors    

78 Apr 1, 2018 @ Los Angeles Lakers    

79 Apr 3, 2018 @ Phoenix Suns    

80 Apr 6, 2018 @ Memphis Grizzlies    

81 Apr 9, 2018 @ San Antonio Spurs    

82 Apr 11, 2018 vs. Houston Rockets

Prediction

It’ll be a long season in Sacramento. While their kids will get to play and gain experience, they will not experience winning too many games. That doesn’t appear to be the plan this season, anyway, so it’s all good. The Kings finish with the worst record in the West at 26-56.

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