Who Gets the Crown? Jason Thompson vs Carl Landry


"In the third installment of our “Who Gets the Crown?” series, A Royal Pain writer Rafe Wong takes a look at Jason Thompson and Carl Landry, two veteran members of the power forward rotation. What should the Kings do with them moving forward? Let’s find out."

Ever since Vivek Ranadive bought the keys to the Sacramento Kings castle, things have been in a state of flux. Whether it is trading for top-notch players like Rudy Gay, or replacing head coach after head coach until you find George Karl, it’s rarely boring

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It seems that this trend of change will continue in the offseason, as it is rumored that the Kings are planning a another major overhaul after failing to reach the 30-win mark for the seventh straight year.

This week, the “A Royal Pain” crew has selected certain players to pit against each other, and pick a side. Today’s battle will be between longest-tenured King Jason Thompson, and veteran Carl Landry. The main rotation players of what has been the Kings weakest position for quite a while, power forward.

Honestly, I wouldn’t mind if both players were moved this offseason, not because of their overall talent, but because their strengths and skills are not quite what the Kings need going forward. But for the sake of this article, one must be granted the crown.

One of the factors that has to come with the decision of who gets anointed the crown is analyzing how their game fits with this roster.

In the case for Thompson, the potential to have a solid role on this team is there. I envision Jason as a clean-up guy that is willing to do the dirty-work. Playing lock-down defense, fighting for rebounds, showing tenacious effort running the floor, etc. Every team has room for a guy like that, and Thompson could be that guy for Sacramento. The knock for Thompson is that he has been inconsistent under George Karl and needs to be more reliable in fulfilling his role.

When analyzing Landry, there is no doubt that Carl is good player in his own way. Unfortunately however, the reality is that his skill set has absolutely no fit into the Kings new and revamped offense.

The Kings system has dramatically changed since the beginning of the season. In the beginning, the offense was executing at a slower pace, but since George Karl has taken over, the pace has increased considerably.

If this article was written at the beginning of the season, I would have chosen Landry in a heartbeat. We saw at a glance that Landry is at his best when the offense runs at a slower pace because posting up and being patient when selecting his shots is his forte. But the run-and-gun offense is taking away a lot of Landry’s strengths, and the things that make him productive.

Landry would be the ideal fit for the Kings if Michael Malone (who ran the slower paced offense) was still the head coach, but because George Karl is now in charge with a new perspective on how the team should play, it has limited Landry’s game immensely.

When looking at the basketball side of both players, it shows neither has really proven to solidify a spot on this roster for next season.

Another factor that comes into play is knowing which player has the most value in terms of the business side of things. What is interesting is that when looking at this aspect of both players, no one seems to have an advantage over the other.

Both Thompson and Landry’s contracts last through the 2016-2017 season, with each getting paid between 6-7 million annually. Both of these players are probably going to be hard for Kings management to move based on the length and value of their contracts.

One scenario that I can imagine is packaging a trade consisting of either Thompson or Landry with a top 10 pick, (if we get it) plus another player on the roster. Other than that, there seems to be no realistic options on the table.

Because there is no advantage when looking at the business side between Thompson and Landry, my decision on who deserves the crown solely depends on their game on the court. Jason Thompson deserves the crown in this matchup because he has a better chance of succeeding in the Kings system than Landry based on how both have played so far under Coach Karl.

Even though Thompson deserves the crown, it would not be the end of the world if either one, or both, end up departing from Sacramento.

Both players are costly in terms of their contract, and both do not fit well playing alongside franchise player DeMarcus Cousins. If either Thompson or Landry end up moving this summer, it would be huge for the Kings because they would gain more cap room, which would give them more leeway to find players that are better suited with the team going forward. It would be tough, but not impossible.

We got rid of Marcus Thornton’s contract right?