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Predicting The Sacramento Kings’ Starting Five

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Point Guard

(USA Today – Russ Isabella)

George Hill will enter the season as the starter at point guard and will, most likely stay there all year long. However, De’Aaron Fox is without a doubt the point guard of the future in Sacramento. The Kings will capitalize on low expectations and allow Fox to develop at his own pace. He’ll still a lot of playing time and don’t be surprised if his minutes are similar to Hill’s. Hill will be there to mentor, but Fox will be given the opportunity to fail and succeed on the court. The rookie will get many chances to run the team from the point position, but also expect to see him play off the ball next to Hill. Frank Mason will get some minutes as well, but he’ll spend a good amount of time in Reno this season.

Shooting Guard

(AP Photo – Darren Abate)

Buddy Hield, a centerpiece of the Demarcus Cousins trade, has all but been handed the keys to the starting two spot. Owner Vivek Ranadive has been very open about his admiration for the Oklahoma product, and Hield posted good numbers during his time with Sacramento last season. As such, Hield will give every opportunity to prove his worth at the starting shooting guard. However, this position is arguably the Kings’ deepest spot and will carry a lot of intrigues during training camp and into the start of the season. Malachi Richardson, Garrett Temple, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Vince Carter have all spent time at two guard, so expect all of these players to get a crack at it. It’s also very likely they’ll be on the court at the same time in three and four guard situations.

Small Forward

(AP Photo – Charlie Neibergall)

As mentioned above, the Kings have versatility at the wing positions. Out of all the potentials for starting small forward, I expect Bogdanovic to be the starter come opening night. Sacramento gave him the largest rookie contract ever because he’s a proven player who’s ready to play right now. Bogdanovic has the ability to see playing time all over the court, but expect him to start at the three spot and receive more minutes than the rest of the Kings’ rookies. Temple is a proven vet who played very well for Sacramento last year, so he should also get a strong look at this spot. Justin Jackson is the only true small forward on the roster and is another rookie who seems NBA ready. He should find his way onto the court a lot, either here or at power forward in smaller situations. Vince Carter is the old man on the block, but he can still play hard and will likely see similar minutes to what he played in Memphis last season.

Power Forward

(AP Photo – Brandon Dill)

I make this prediction with the most apprehension, because of the pending legal situation. That being said, I expect Zach Randolph to be the starting power forward in Sacramento this season. Skal Labissiere was exciting for the Kings near the end of last year, but he’s still very raw and could benefit from some more time on the bench. Randolph shouldn’t have any trouble stepping into the Kings’ system because of his time with Dave Joerger in Memphis. I do see this being the position with most play off the bench because of Randolph’s age and Labissiere’s potential and development. Willie Cauley-Stein and Kosta Koufos may also slide to this spot in larger situations. Harry Giles, the oft-injured rookie out of Duke, is intrigue here because of his potential, but I expect him to spend a fair amount of the season in Reno.

Center

(AP Photo – Rich Pedroncelli)

Center is the easiest position to predict even without Cousins in town. After Cousins was shipped off to New Orleans, Cauley-Stein cemented his place in the middle. He flashed several glimpses of the huge athletic presence he could for this Kings team that has lacked defensive intensity for a long time. Expect Joerger to put his trust in Cauley-Stein here and he may receive more minutes than any of the other starters. Koufos will still see some time at this spot. His minutes will be less this year not only because of Cauley-Stein jumping ahead of him but because of the amount of small ball Sacramento is likely to play this season. Georgios Papagiannis will see some limited minutes here, but he’s another prospect who’ll likely find more playing time in Reno.

About Jordan Schauberger

Jordan is a Sports Journalism student at American River College. He is a passionate NBA fan and unironically supports the Kings. #SacramentoProud

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