Initial Post-Draft Depth Chart for Sacramento Kings
As the dust settles in Brooklyn, though, this piece provides an overview on how the DeMarcus Cousins-led Kings roster is constructed heading into the coming stages of the offseason.
Per HoopsHype, at $66.5 million, Sacramento is already over the projected salary cap of around $63 million while still needing to re-sign a key player.
How much the Kings front office is ready to spend in free agency will be observed shortly, but post-draft, Sacramento is expected to feature a formidable starting lineup.
Note: * signifies projected starter.
On Roster (1): Ray McCallum
Likely Re-Sign (1): Isaiah Thomas*
Isaiah Thomas' rookie contract has expired, and Sacramento must re-sign its 20-point scorer. Thomas has consistently improved over three seasons, but his appeal fluctuates almost daily.
He had career-high scoring and assist outputs, but he also committed 3.0 turnovers per game and his small stature will always be looked upon as a negative.
Granted, the day prior to the draft, the front office extended a qualifying offer to Thomas, per Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee. This means the Kings have the right to match any offer to retain Thomas, which they certainly should do.
Behind him sits Ray McCallum, who experienced some rough moments throughout his rookie campaign. But Sacramento wasn't expecting too much from him anyway, so his development will be a bigger story in 2014-15.
On Roster (3): Ben McLemore*, Nik Stauskas, Jason Terry
Though Ben McLemore was the focus of some draft-day scuttlebutt, Sacramento ultimately held on to the promising young guard.
But that didn't stop management from adding some solid competition. The Kings may have reached for Nik Stauskas at No. 8 overall, but the team added a flat-out sniper.
According to Zach Harper of CBS Sports, the Michigan product was the best three-point shooter in this year's draft—which was not a surprising accolade. His effective field-goal percentage (eFG) on contested catch-and-shoot attempts was 67.9, and that, however, is absolutely stunning.
Veteran journeyman Jason Terry caps the three-man group, but Sacramento should be looking to trade him to provide McLemore and Stauskas more playing time while freeing up some cap space.
On Roster (3): Rudy Gay*, Travis Outlaw, Quincy Acy
Just before draft day, midseason acquisition Rudy Gay exercised his $19.3 million player option for the 2014-15 season.
Bleacher Report's Josh Martin says the team must "determine what, exactly, Gay is worth to them, financially and otherwise" because his actual "worth" is about half of the hefty contract.
Fan favorite Travis Outlaw just had his most productive season in the Northwest and is under contract for one more year. His 17-minute-per-night role is adequate, considering his biggest asset is providing a spark off the bench.
The Kings hold a team option on Quincy Acy, whose performance as a deep rotation player is worth the measly $1 million he would be due.
On Roster (3): Reggie Evans*, Derrick Williams, Carl Landry
Power forward is easily the weakest position on Sacramento's roster. Between Thomas, Gay and Cousins, the Kings are capable of scoring all over the floor, and the draft selection of Stauskas supplies the much-needed three-point element.
So this is where Sacramento needs defense. However, the Kings did not find it here last season.
Hip and knee injuries sidelined Carl Landry for a total of 64 games. Reggie Evans is a superb rebounder, but he's not a defensive force. Lastly, Derrick Williams is more of an offensive complement than any sort of defender.
All three players have potentially important niches, but none are extremely valuable to Sacramento.
On Roster (2): DeMarcus Cousins*, Jason Thompson
"Prior to the season, the conversation about Cousins involved the "P" word—potential. Now it involves a different "P" word—production," said Bleacher Report's Sim Risso.
The former first-round pick set career marks in points, rebounds, assists, blocks and field-goal percentage, tied his personal best in steals and posted an outstanding 26.1 player efficiency rating.
Yeah, he's pretty good.
On the other hand, Jason Thompson's career has seen better days, and he aired his frustration with James Ham of Cowbell Kingdom.
"Hands down man, that's saying the least," Thompson said. "Just for the amount of shots, the type of rotations that we had—offensively and defensively. It just wasn't even a fun year for me."
And with a near-$25 million contract that expires in 2017, the Kings must consider if a frustrated, 7.1-point, 6.4-rebound per game center is worth the price. But that's a decision best suited to be addressed following the 2014-15 campaign, lest Sacramento's post situation be a complete disaster behind Cousins.