Sacramento Kings 2023-24 season preview: Trey Lyles
Sep 26, 2023, 11:26 AM | Updated: 11:28 am
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
It’s about that time.
If you’ve been counting down the days until Sacramento Kings basketball returns, we are less than two weeks away from October 8th’s preseason opener in Vancouver, Canada.
As we prepare for another season of NBA action in the 916, it’s time to dive into this Kings roster and break down each player that will be on the opening night roster.
Today, we’ll look at returning forward Trey Lyles, who is back in Sacramento after signing a two-year, $16 million contract during the opening hours of free agency.
As the Kings prepared to enter the offseason in May, all 15 players met with the media for an end-of-season press conference. During Lyles’ presser, the 27-year-old made it clear that he wanted to return to Sacramento, a place that made the forward feel at home.
“100 percent,” Lyles said when asked if he wanted to be back with the Kings in 2023-24.
“This is the most at home I’ve felt with any team that I’ve been on. These guys are like brothers to me. One through 15, everybody gets along, so this is definitely an atmosphere and somewhere that I want to stay.”
Now that Lyles has inked a two-year contract to remain in Sacramento, how does he fit into the equation for this upcoming season?
How did Trey Lyles perform during the 2022-23 season?
Over 74 games in 2022-23, Lyles averaged 7.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 0.9 assists per game while shooting 46 percent from the field and 36 percent from three-point range over 16.9 minutes per appearance.
Lyles brought Sacramento stability at the backup four position while playing spot minutes at the small-ball five, an aspect of his game that he displayed during Games 6 and 7 of the NBA Playoffs against the Golden State Warriors.
A young Kings team needed experience in its rotation, and Lyles–a player who has been a part of three playoff runs with Utah, Denver, and now Sacramento–fit the bill in that regard.
Not only did Lyles bring a veteran presence, but the Kentucky product became a fan favorite due to his notable hustle and ability to make the right play.
Trey Lyles’ strengths & weaknesses
Lyles has a strong basketball IQ, turning the ball over just 0.4 times per game while playing like a starting-caliber forward off the bench (did not start one game over 74 appearances).
In today’s NBA, games are often won and lost on the perimeter. Lyles has proven that he can knock down the long ball during his NBA career, as the eight-year veteran holds a 34.2 percent average from beyond the arc during his time in the league.
Over two seasons with Sacramento, Lyles has seen his marksmanship ability develop even further.
- 2015-21 with Utah, Denver, and San Antonio: 34% 3PT on 2.6 attempts per game
- 2021-23 with Sacramento: 36% 3PT on 3.1 attempts per game
Another one of Lyles’ strengths is his ability to play multiple positions, something that can come in handy for Kings head coach Mike Brown when he navigates opposing lineups and head-to-head matchups.
While Lyles is primarily used as a power forward, Brown will likely call on the 6’9 forward to slide over the center position when Sacramento faces small-ball lineups like Golden State.
Scoring the basketball around the rim is another one of Lyles’ strengths, as the forward shot 69 percent on 120 attempts near the rim during the 2022-23 season.
As is the case for all players on the Kings roster not named Davion Mitchell, Lyles’ defense will be an area that needs to improve in 2023-24.
Lyles posted a career-worst 116 defensive rating in 2022-23, although his teammates weren’t much better during a season that saw Sacramento finish with the fifth-worst team defensive rating in the NBA.
The Kings don’t need Lyles to make an All-Defensive First Team type of impact, but forward progress in becoming a better defender is needed from each player on the roster.
What to expect from Trey Lyles in 2023-24
As for what fans can expect from Lyles during the upcoming season, you can bank on seeing the returning forward as a key part of Mike Brown’s rotation.
Lyles, whose $8 million salary ranks seventh on the Kings’ roster, is likely to be one of the first players off the bench in 2023-24.
Expect Lyles to log minutes behind Keegan Murray and Harrison Barnes at the power forward position, with minutes also coming at the five in specific matchups that feature small-ball lineups.
After playing 16.9 minutes per game in 2022-23, it’s possible Lyles sees a slight dip in playing time if rookie forward Sasha Vezenkov can get comfortable with the NBA game speed, but it’s expected that number 41 will be an integral piece in the blueprint for this upcoming season.
Sacramento Kings 2023-24 Preseason Schedule
- Sunday, October 8th – Sacramento Kings @ Toronto Raptors – 5 PM PST (Preseason Opener)
- Wednesday, October 11th – Sacramento Kings @ Los Angeles Lakers – 7 PM PST (in Anaheim, CA)
- Sunday, October 15th – Sacramento Kings vs. Golden State Warriors – 7 PM PST
- Wednesday, October 18th – Sacramento Kings @ Golden State Warriors – 7 PM PST
- Thursday, October 19th – Sacramento Kings vs. Utah Jazz – 7 PM PST
Sacramento Kings 2023-24 Regular Season Schedule
- Tuesday, October 24th – NBA regular season begins
- Wednesday, October 25th – Sacramento Kings @ Utah Jazz – 6 PM (Season Opener)
- Friday, October 27th – Sacramento Kings vs. Golden State Warriors – 7 PM (Home Opener)