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Original Issue

15 SACRAMENTO KINGS

A MODEST PROPOSAL ...

WORK FASTER, PLEASE

Despite last year's selection of point guard De'Aaron Fox, one of the fastest end-to end athletes in the NBA, the Kings finished 2017--18 at the very bottom of the league in pace. This was due in large part to the plodding style of the now-departed George Hill. The backcourt belongs to Fox now, with this year's No. 2 pick, Marvin Bagley, forming the other half of what could be Sacramento's long-term foundation. Fox and Bagley represent the Kings' most realistic shot at relevance since GM Vlade Divac's time in uniform, in the mid 2000s. It's past time for the Kings to shift the focus fully to the kids—and that means turning up the tempo.

Fox, who turns 21 in December, remains the team's best chance at cultivating a star, and he should be ready to take a step forward after logging 27.8 minutes per game as a rookie. He's still working out his jumper and can be mistake-prone, but his ability to attack the paint, force defensive rotations and make plays should provide the connective tissue for Sacramento's various parts. By pairing Fox with Bagley, a dynamic athlete and rebounder who could thrive in the open floor, the Kings have a way forward—and it's a faster one.

STARTING 5

COACH DAVE JOERGER

2017--18 RECORD: 27--55

PREDICTION: Miss playoffs

PG DE'AARON FOX

4.4

APG

SG BUDDY HIELD

43.1

3FG%

SF BOGDAN BOGDANOVIC

11.8

PPG

C WILLIE CAULEY-STEIN

7.0

RPG

21.0

PPG

PF MARVIN BAGLEY III [ROOKIE/COLLEGE STATS]

Bagley led the ACC in scoring in his only season at Duke. Meanwhile, the Kings' leading scorer, Zach Randolph, ranked 57th in the NBA, at 14.5 ppg.

BENCH

SF JUSTIN JACKSON

PF ZACH RANDOLPH

PG YOGI FERRELL [NEW ACQUISITION]

(*) NEW ACQUISITION

(R) ROOKIE/COLLEGE STATS

ENEMY LINES

A RIVAL SCOUT SIZES UP SACRAMENTO

THEY HAVE a ton of young guys who are redundant. Aside from ZACH RANDOLPH, their bigs, wings and guards are all like a farm team.... DE'AARON FOX's speed plays. The health and durability weren't there where you want them to be. His lack of shooting comes into play. His ceiling is still high, but his floor has dropped. There's bust potential.... BUDDY HIELD's ceiling has come down fast. He's shown that he's a specialist rather than a potential star. He can fill it up, get hot for stretches, do a little off the dribble, but he's streaky. I can see him being a sixth man, offensive firepower type if he was playing for a good team.... I thought BOGDAN BOGDANOVIC was their best player last year. He's tough, he's got good feel, he knows how to play and score naturally.... I would have taken Trae Young and Luka Doncˇic´ over [No. 2 pick] MARVIN BAGLEY III. The draft hasn't been kind to them and that's why they are where they are. [But] Bagley has a real chance to win Rookie of the Year. He can put up numbers on a losing team.... Their depth chart is a mess. They might have five centers on the roster. Why? WILLIE CAULEY-STEIN looks like a career backup. He can be productive in stretches and has had every opportunity to emerge as a starting center, but he hasn't done it.... This will be one of the worst defensive teams in the league. None of their best core guys are really plus defenders.... Circle these guys as a trade team. They can take on a bad contract or someone else's mistake and offer some young guys in return. I could see them chasing an Andrew Wiggins or a Blake Griffin.