Over the next couple of months, I will be a writing a series of articles exploring the depth charts of NBA teams, and more specifically, where the rookies from the 2011 draft fit into those depth charts. Thanks to MTD for the idea. Also, for the sake of my sanity, I will be writing as if there will actually be a season this year.
Many NBA teams were content to sit back, conduct their drafts, and wait for the lockout to begin. The Sacramento Kings, however, took a proactive approach and decided to re-tool their roster before league business was shut down. First, they bolstered their already talented front court by acquiring J.J. Hickson from the Cleveland Cavaliers. Then, rather than keeping the seventh overall pick, Sacramento packaged it along with starting point guard Beno Udrih in a three-team trade that brought back John Salmons for his second tour of duty with the club as well as the 10th overall pick.
#10 - Jimmer Fredette
- Position: Guard
- Measurables: 6'2" 196 lbs
- 2012-2011 Statistics: 28.9 ppg, 45.2 fg%, 39.6 3fg%, 89.4 ft%, 4.3 apg, 3.5 topg, 53.8 mpg
Jimmer is taking his range to Sacramento, a move that many foresaw the moment the Kings moved down a couple of spots in the draft. Fredette enters the NBA after leading the NCAA in scoring, and no one is questioning his ability to stroke the ball.
Jimmer Fredette Strengths and Weaknesses video courtesy of Draft Express:
After an injury-plagued sophomore season, Tyreke Evans is looking to return to his 2010 Rookie of the Year form. Evans is the primary option on offense and as he goes so do the Kings.
Eugene "Pooh" Jeter impressed the Kings in the Summer League and training camp last year, and made the team as a reserve point guard.
Marcus Thornton was a mid-season acquisition from New Orleans who lit up the scoreboard to the tune of 21.3 ppg in his 27 games in Sacramento. He is one of the top free agents on the market and should receive plenty of offers. He is restricted, however, and the Kings have the right to match any offer sheet. There's a slight chance some desperate team could offer him more than the Kings are willing to fork over, but all signs point to the talented young scorer sticking in Sac-Town.
Both John Salmons and Francisco Garcia are primarily small forwards, although one or both could receive some spot minutes at the two.
Fredette's place on the roster: With Beno Udrih starting at the point guard spot, Tyreke Evans spent much of his court time as a ball-dominant shooting guard. With Fredette unlikely to be ready to handle the starting point guard duties from day one, it will be up to Evans to take up that mantle with a re-signed Thornton starting alongside him at the off-guard position.
Under that scenario, Fredette would begin his career as the first guard off the bench. He'll be counted on to provide a scoring spark for the second unit. However, if the former Cougar can show the poise and court vision necessary to run the point (and perhaps play a little defense), he could find himself in the starting line-up before too long. This is undoubtedly how Sacramento is hoping it plays out, as it would allow Evans to and Thornton to slide over to their best positions.
Expectation: Fredette begins as a reserve, but whether it's through injury, his performance, or the Kings' desire to see just what they have in the rookie, he will start at some point. 10-12 ppg and 2-4 apg in 23-25 mpg.
#35 - Tyler Honeycutt
- Position: Small Forward
- Measurables: 6'8" 187 lbs
- 2010-2011 Statistics: 12.8 ppg, 40.6 fg%, 36.2 3fg%, 73.6 ft%, 7.2 rpg, 2.8 apg, 3 topg, 2 bpg, 35 mpg
Sacramento used their first of two second round picks in the 2011 NBA Draft on the long and talented swingman from UCLA, Tyler Honeycutt.
Tyler Honeycutt Strengths and Weaknesses video courtesy of Draft Express:
SAC Small Forward Depth Chart: John Salmons (SG/SF), Francisco Garcia (SG/SF), Donte Greene (F)
John Salmons is replacing Omri Casspi(traded for J.J. Hickson) as the starting small forward. The Kings are well aware of what Salmons brings to the table and will be counting on his scoring to take some pressure off of Tyreke Evans.
Francisco Garcia has been with the Kings for a while and his veteran experience is a valuable asset to have on such a young team.
Donte Greene is the NBA's human Swiss-army knife, capable of playing virtually any position and fulfilling any role the Kings ask of him.
Honeycutt's place on the roster: There will not be many minutes available for Honeycutt in his rookie season. Unless he can really impress the coaches in practice, expect to see him in garbage time only.
Expectation: 1-3 ppg and 1-3 rpg in 3-5 mpg.
#60 - Isaiah Thomas
- Position: Point Guard
- Measurables: 5'11" 187 lbs
- 2010-2011 Statistics: 16.8 ppg, 44.5 fg%, 34.9 3fg%, 71.9 ft%, 6.1 apg, 3.5 rpg, 1.3 spg, 3 topg
With the final pick in the draft, the Sacramento Kings made the diminutive Isaiah Thomas the NBA's2011 Mr. Irrelevant. The Kings lack of depth at point guard is a good sign for the former Washington Husky.
Isaiah thomas highlight video courtesy foxsports on Youtube:
SAC Point Guard Depth Chart: Tyreke Evans (PG/SG), Pooh Jeter (PG, FA)
The guard rotation has already been discussed above. One move that has happened this offseason spells good news for Thomas, however. Pooh Jeter has signed with a team overseas, and in all likelihood will not be returning to Sacramento.
Thomas' place on the roster: Sacramento's point guard rotation will be very similar to the one they used last year, with Jimmer Fredette replacing Beno Udrih and Thomas filling Pooh Jeter's role as a garbage time player and third string point guard.
Expectation: Thomas makes the squad and mirrors Pooh Jeter's role and production. 2-4 ppg and 1-3 apg in 7-9 mpg.