Sacramento Kings: Young Core Needs To Impress This Season

By Karim Akbar
Kelley L Cox – USA TODAY Sports

Do the job right, you stay. Fail to defend, rebound or play team basketball and you’re out when it comes to head coach Mike Malone‘s philosophies. As a result, Malone may have some company sitting next to him on the bench this season. The Sacramento Kings feature one of the younger rosters in the NBA. Sacramento also has a roster of players who hate to defend and pass on offense. But some Kings have been around the block before, and therefore will have to develop faster than the rest.

One of those players has to be Jimmer Fredette. At his golf fundraiser he told reporters he’s ready for the new season. “I’m looking forward to some new faces on the team with a new owner and coach, and there still may be some moves before the season starts. Things are moving forward.” Fredette said. If Jimmer wants to move forward and not move on from Sacramento, he will have to impress coaches with the limited minutes he sees.

Those minutes are hard to come by, because the Kings are loaded at the guard position. The Kings were actively listening to offers for Jimmer this season to make room, with some speculating the Cleveland Cavaliers would bite. That didn’t happen and, as a result, the Kings backcourt is at capacity.

Rookies Ben McLemore and Ray McCallum all figure to rank higher than Fredette on the depth chart going into the preseason. Isaiah Thomas, who may find himself replaced at starter by Greivis Vazquez, will likely play more than Jimmer as well, and that’s all before mentioning Marcus Thornton. All of these guards must produce and develop this coming season.

DeMarcus Cousins, in comparison, has really been hitting the conditioning this offseason and looks motivated to perform as a high level. His presence and production will be key for a team struggling to identify itself under a new coach and front office. Adding Carl Landry and Luc Mbah A Moute gives the Kings a solid albeit low pool of veteran talent. Is Cousins ready to shoulder that load? Is DeMarcus ready to be the face of the franchise?

He must be, he has to be. The Kings need all the help they can get, from every last player on the roster.

Karim Akbar is a Sacramento Kings writer for Follow him on Twitter @Kuhreem , “Like” his RantSports page on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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