Kings Free Agency Target Profile: Nikola Mirotic
Welcome to KHTK’s Kings free agency profiles! Here we’ll be breaking down some of the top players the Kings should target in free agency, analyzing their career numbers, fit with the Kings and potential downsides. We’ll also assign a priority score to each player, signifying how strongly the Kings should consider pursuing a given free agent.
It looked like the Bucks might’ve officially locked up the Eastern Conference when they added Mirotic in a deal at this year’s deadline. He’s a career 35.9 percent three-point shooter at 6’10”, and he started working as an effective rebounder, averaging 7.4 boards over the last two seasons.
He started his career in Chicago, but was traded to New Orleans and then to Milwaukee before hitting the free agent market. Despite bouncing to three teams in five NBA seasons, the 28-year-old should be a commodity this summer since he can slot in at both forward spots, pull down rebounds and work as a reliable spot up shooter on the perimeter.
Another forward doesn’t necessarily check a dire need for Sacramento. Harrison Barnes is expected to return, and Marvin Bagley and Harry Giles will get a bulk of the minutes at the power forward spot.
Mirotic makes a ton of sense as a depth piece who can linger around the three-point line and take some of the shot-making onus off the Kings’ young players. Teams would be forced to keep a defender on Mirotic at the three-point line, and his size gives the Kings an ability to create an easily-exploitable mismatch.
His rebounding improved quite a bit the last two seasons as well. That’s an area he can help Sacramento despite not playing a traditional center or power forward role.
Putting Mirotic at the power forward spot in a small ball lineup allows the Kings to keep Harrison Barnes at small forward — which is something they didn’t do last season. Harry Giles can fill in as the small ball power forward as well, but he’s unable to space the floor the way Mirotic can at this point.
A 36 percent three-point shooter who pulls down 6.5 rebounds per game would give the Kings some really nice, versatile depth.
Mirotic got played off the floor by the Raptors in the Eastern Conference Finals. He hit just six of his 31 three pointers (20 percent), and earned only nine minutes in Game 5, and didn’t play at all in Game 6.
He isn’t abhorrent defensively, but he can be exploited on that end by quicker ball handlers. There are also some issues with his offensive playmaking ability. Mirotic can’t do much on that end of the floor if his three-point shot isn’t falling. That makes him a little bit of a gamble for Sacramento, especially if they get into a bidding war.
Sacramento shouldn’t spend a ton of time trying to improve their wing depth until they figure out their backup point guard and center situations. However, they should absolutely make a move for him if Mirotic is still around a few days into free agency and the market isn’t turning up the kind of deal he’s looking for.
Priority score: 2/10