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Gabe Vincent Off To A Hot Start For The Stockton kings

Dakota Schmidt writes about how Stockton Kings guard Gabe Vincent is off to a hot start to the 2019-20 G League season

Grand Rapids Drive v Stockton Kings Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/NBAE via Getty Images

Last season, the Stockton Kings stood out as one of the premier forces in the G League by going 30-20 during the regular season, which placed them as the third-best team in the Western Conference behind the Oklahoma City Blue and Rio Grande Valley Vipers. That success was due to the mixture of veterans (Kalin Lucas, Marcus & Troy Williams, Daniel Ochefu) and rookies like Cam Reynolds, Wenyen Gabriel, and Taren Sullivan.

One player that wasn’t able to consistently contribute to that success was former UC Santa Barbara guard Gabe Vincent. Although he had some solid games with the team, inefficiency persisted throughout the season. That fact is evident from his numbers as the 6’3 guard averaged 8.7 points, 2.6 assists and 2.3 rebounds on 38% from the field and 29% from beyond the arc on 4.3 attempts per game. Those rough shooting averages ultimately allowed him to maintain a rough 47% True Shooting Percentage.

While some young players might get down and lose self-confidence after that rough year, that doesn’t seem to be the case with how Vincent has started his 2019-20 season. After the first four games of the year, he’s currently averaging 21.2 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1.5 steals on 45% from the field and 46% from beyond the arc. That solid production has boosted his True Shooting Percentage up to 65%.

Is that tremendous efficiency a product of a small sample size? Absolutely. Because despite those spectacular numbers, Vincent has had a few rough games. An example of that is where he put up where he had 14 points on 4-12 from the field, 2-6 from 3 and 2-2 from the FT line (both shots were worth two points) in a November 8th win over the Santa Cruz Warriors.

To make a full 180-degree turn, Vincent has used this young 2019-20 season to put up some of the best performances in his basketball career. One of those came in a November 15th matchup against the Memphis Hustle. In only 32 minutes, the 6’3 guard put up 34 points and 2 assists on 10-17 from the field, 7-13 from beyond the arc and 3-3 from the free throw line. Dating back to his run with UC-Santa Barbara, that performance represented the best scoring performance that he’s ever had.

As evident from those stats, a lot of that production came from beyond the arc. At least in that game and his November 13th performance against the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Vincent’s approach from the three-point line seems a lot more relaxed than how it was last year. Whether it’s receiving hand-offs, working off-the-dribble or catch-and-shoot, the 6’3 guard’s shot looks great as it’s quick, smooth and has a high release point.

In addition to being a great perimeter shooter during the first few games of the season, the guard has shown a knack of using a solid first step to get by perimeter defenders and step-backs to nail mid-range jumpers. Those tools have pushed the Kings to be 22 points per 100 possessions better when he’s on the court (113.3 points per 100) compared to when he’s sitting on the sidelines (91 points per 100). The closest player to matching that vast difference is Sacramento two-way rookie DaQuan Jeffries, who has pushed Stockton to be six points better when he’s playing (108.2 points per 100) compared to when he’s on the bench (102.3 points per 100).

During the first week of the 2019-20 season, Vincent has been one of the biggest standouts. Although that volume and efficiency will probably taper off as the year continues, the heights that have already been reached makes it clear that the 6’3 guard has improved since his rookie year with the Stockton Kings. Those progressions and his overall confidence has pushed the UC-Santa Barbara alum to stand as one of the G League players to watch for the rest of the 2019-20 G League campaign.