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Sacramento Kings Mailbag: Who gets traded on the Kings and for what?

Dec 19, 2022, 9:46 AM

It’s time to open the mailbag!

Welcome back to the Sactown Sports Kings‘ mailbag, where we’ll answer all your questions about the Sacramento Kings. Every week, we’ll rotate hosts to answer your questions, this week, Carmichael Dave answers your questions.

What in your opinion is the biggest weakness for the Sacramento Kings? 
Tom, via the Sactown Sports textline 

Dave: The biggest weakness for the Kings is absolutely interior reserves. They need more backup to Domantas Sabonis. Listen, any team that loses their superstar is going to do not as good. That’s obvious. But if this team loses Domantas Sabonis, no offense to De’Aaron Fox, but that’s Alpha and part of the Omega right there, they can’t afford to lose Domas. Whether it’s to injury, knock on wood or whether it’s to foul trouble, they need somebody to come in and spell them because I don’t think the minutes and the labor he’s being put through is sustainable over an 82-game period. And it’s something that worries me quite a bit. They don’t need a superstar to come in, but they need another big body.

It’s just not working with Richaun Holmes or Alex Len. If Mike Brown and crew can fix that, that’s great. But in the meantime, right now, they’re playing with fire. It would also be nice to have another wing. But Harrison Barnes, in the way this offense is working and defense, is doing a pretty commendable job in his contract year. I would definitely say [General Manager] Monte [McNair] and company are going to be looking for a big income trade deadline.

De’Aaron Fox’s recent struggles show this team needs more talent to compete with the best. Is this a sign to Monte, too, that Harrison Barnes is expendable? If so, who can the Sacramento Kings add to get to another level? 
Richard, via the Sactown Sports textline

Dave: Oh there’s two good questions there. Number one is Harrison Barnes expendable? I think the first answer there is no. But you have to look deeper. I would imagine Monte McNair and that front office know right now whether or not they’re going to resign Harrison Barnes. And if they’re not, they’ve got a very difficult decision.

You want to push for the playoffs. And you certainly don’t want to do anything with this team’s culture right now. And there’s absolutely no doubt that Harrison Barnes is a big part of the nucleus of this culture. And he’s also, he might be the team leader. I think if there’s anyone on this team that everybody looks up to, it might just be Harrison Barnes. So do you really want to mess with the culture?

A lot of fans will remember the Iman Shumpert trade from a few years back, and the Kings kind of reeled after that. There are a lot of questions about Iman’s effect on the court, how it was a little overstated. But it wasn’t overstated off the court, in the locker room. Harrison Barnes has an effect on both. He’s an average, to above-average wing player on a contract year, and he’s having a very decent year on both sides of the ball. But if they’re not going to resign him, they have to make that very difficult decision to perhaps take a tiny step back in order to shore up and get some sort of assets for him for the future.

As far as who’s available right now, that relies on other teams. Kyle Kuzma is a name that’s been thrown around quite a bit. Here’s my issue. Kyle Kuzma is a guy that can absolutely score for you, but is he going to be a consistent defender and is scoring really something this team needs? You might kick the tires on a Jae Crowder, but I don’t know if that’s the guy you want in a starting role. I have a strange feeling unless a huge opportunity comes along, I have a strange feeling that Harrison Barnes might finish out the year with Sacramento.

What game coming up would you flex to showcase the Sacramento Kings to a national audience?
Kathy, via the Kings mailbag email

Dave: Probably the Charlotte [Hornets] game, especially with LaMelo Ball probably playing. Those are always fun, high-scoring games and that’s a game I definitely think on paper favors the Kings and they’ve had a decent run with Charlotte lately. However, one of those Denver [Nuggets] games. They got Denver on a back-to-back and I’ve often called Domantas Sabonis Diet Jokic. You’re talking about probably the two most diverse centers in their games in the NBA when it comes to, in fact you are really, when it comes to centers that are going to flirt with a triple-double almost every night.

Domantas Sabonis isn’t Jokic, but I do think he’s a slightly better defender than Nikola. He’s not the scorer, he’s not the distributor, but when you look at the numbers that are happening this year, he’s not that far off. I think those are the two most well-rounded centers in the NBA. Notice I didn’t say the best. Obviously, Joel Embiid, who’s pretty well-rounded in his own right, is better than Domantas Sabonis, but two guys that run their offenses very well at the big man position, that might be a fun one.

So Charlotte, Charlotte for the viewing pleasure, but you might actually get a better game and a better match-up with the Nuggets debut.

Davion Mitchell is currently averaging 6 points and 2 assists off the bench. There is constant talk of adding big men behind Sabonis but is Davion living up to his potential? Do the Kings need to consider improving the backup point guard position? 
Blake, via the Kings mailbag email

Dave: Remember, Davion Mitchell is in his second, even though he is and was an older rookie. It’s not like he’s 30 years old. I think Davion Mitchell, though inconsistent with his jumper and inconsistent on the offensive end, one thing you can always get out of him is defense. That’s what this team needs. If you’re going to let go of anything on this team to try to balance out what their qualities are, you’re not letting you should not be letting go of defense.

You don’t want to just run teams off the floor because there’s plenty that can compete offensively with this team, especially when their jumpers are off and when they’re not hitting from outside the arc. What I love about Davion Mitchell, what I love about guys like KZ Okpala, is they’re specialists. They can come in, you can put them on somebody and they’re going to do everything they can. They’re the Kings’ best chance at locking that team down, and I still think there’s a lot to come from Davion offensively. Let’s not forget, this is a guy that has perhaps the best work ethic, if not one of the best work ethics in the NBA. He lives, eats and breathes basketball. And you see the flashes. You see that beautiful form, that awesome rotation on the ball when he is hitting from outside.

This is a slasher. This is a guy who’s not a De’Aaron Fox-type quick player, but this is a guy that can definitely break down defenses and dish. I actually think Davion Mitchell’s going to be a starting point guard in this league someday. I don’t know if that’s going to be with Sacramento or not, but I think right now when you have Davion Mitchell and when you have guys like Terence Davis and even Malik Monk that can handle the ball in the backcourt, plus obviously Domantas Sabonis.

I don’t think of all the positions of need you’re always looking to upgrade, but I don’t think that particularly is a position of need. And they teach you always to switch angles in order to make a point. I continue to think that their biggest position of need is obviously a backup big man to Domantas Sabonis.

Thank you for all the questions. Have something you’d like to ask us about the Sacramento Kings? Text us at 916-339-1140 or email us at kingsmailbag@sactownsports.com.

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