Stockton Kings acquire returning player rights to James Akinjo

Sep 15, 2023, 11:11 AM

James Akinjo #11 of the Baylor Bears talks with head coach Scott Drew in the first half of the game...

FORT WORTH, TEXAS - MARCH 17: James Akinjo #11 of the Baylor Bears talks with head coach Scott Drew in the first half of the game against the Norfolk State Spartans during the first round of the 2022 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Dickies Arena on March 17, 2022 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

As the season approaches, the Stockton Kings are continuing to build out their G-League roster. On Thursday, Stockton acquired the returning player rights to guard James Akinjo from the Westchester Knicks in exchange for the returning player rights to Alex O’Connell and Jeriah Horne.

Akinjo is a 22-year-old 6’1″ guard who went undrafted in the 2022 NBA Draft after spending four years in college. He played for Georgetown from 2018-20 and Arizona in 2020-21 before finishing his collegiate campaign with Baylor. The guard averaged 30+ minutes with each school and started all but one of his 98 showings.

During his year at Baylor, where he was teammates with Jeremy Sochan and Kendall Brown, Akinjo ranked first on the team in assists per game (5.8), second in points per game (13.5), and first in minutes per game (33.1). He was named to the first-team All-Conference in the Big 12 due to his stellar play as a floor general for the 27-7 Bears.

During the 2022 NBA Draft process, the Sacramento Kings brought James Akinjo in for a workout.

After going undrafted in 2022, Akinjo spent last season in the G-League with the Worchester Knicks. Throughout his 38 games played, he averaged 14.5 points, 8.0 assists, and 3.4 rebounds in 31 minutes per game. Knocking down 36.9 percent from beyond the arc on 4.9 attempts per game is impressive, but just 42.3 percent on 13 total field goal attempts could show a potential shortcoming.

Standing at roughly 6’1″ can make for some tough finishing around the basket, and Akinjo’s two-point percentage had been cause for concern throughout his collegiate career as well.

With Jordan Ford being upgraded to a two-way contract and DJ Steward traded to the Maine Red Claws in exchange for Skal Labissiere, Stockton was in need of another point guard. As two-way players Keon Ellis and Jalen Slawson continue to develop their games with Stockton, it’s crucial for them and others to have a capable floor general and put them in relevant situations to work on their games.

In exchange for the rights to James Akinjo, the rights to O’Connell and Horne are headed to Worchester. O’Connell was an intriguing high-flyer who managed to knock down shots from beyond the arc at a 37.9 percent clip last season and Horne was a sharpshooter from range himself (37.1 three-point percentage).

As they continue to build out their roster, the Stockton Kings will need to find additional spacing to make up for those losses. Between two-way players Ford, Ellis, and Slawson and the recently acquired returning player rights to Labissiere and Akinjo, they have been active in finding the players for new head coach Lindsey Harding.

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