Sacramento Kings Rookie Update: Duje Dukan

Mar 22, 2015; Omaha, NE, USA; Wisconsin Badgers forward Duje Dukan (13) shoots against Oregon Ducks guard Casey Benson (2) during the first half in the third round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament at CenturyLink Center. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 22, 2015; Omaha, NE, USA; Wisconsin Badgers forward Duje Dukan (13) shoots against Oregon Ducks guard Casey Benson (2) during the first half in the third round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament at CenturyLink Center. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /
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Willie Cauley-Stein has not been the only rookie on the Sacramento Kings roster this season, or at least during parts of this season. The other one has been forward Duje Dukan out of the University of Wisconsin.

So far for Dukan, his rookie season has not been too ideal.

Throughout this season, he has gone back and forth between being on the Kings bench and playing for their D-League team the Reno Bighorns.

Without any minutes recorded at the NBA level (aside from NBA Summer League and preseason), all of his professional experience so far has been through his tenure with the Bighorns.

With that being said, is it time for the Kings to bring back Dukan to the Kings and actually give him some playing time on the court?

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At this point, Dukan has played and started a total of 18 games in his D-League career.

During that time, he has averaged 14.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per game. He has also made 37.4% of his total shots from the court, 34.1% from the perimeter, and 71.7% from the free throw line.

The ideal role for Dukan if he were to be on the Kings roster would be being a stretch four. So when evaluating Dukan’s numbers the main statistics to look for are his points averaged per game, his field goal shooting percentage, and his three-point shooting percentage.

Sep 28, 2015; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings forward Duje Dukan (26) during media day at the Sacramento Kings practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 28, 2015; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings forward Duje Dukan (26) during media day at the Sacramento Kings practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports /

Based on the numbers Dukan is pretty solid in recording points on a gamely basis. In 15 of his 18 total games with Reno he has been able to record double-digit points, and has only finished one game where he scored less than 9 points (per NBA D-League Stats).

Scoring the basketball has not been a problem for Dukan, but his shooting percentages have been a bit inconsistent. In only 8 out of 18 games that Dukan has played he has shot over 40% from the court and in only 10 out of 18 games, he has shot over 35% from the perimeter.

Obviously, it is not too much of a concern because he is only a rookie (24 years of age) and he will have lots of time to become more consistent, but it still doesn’t mean that he can play the role of the stretch four at the level the Kings would expect him to play it at right now.

Overall, Duje Dukan’s time with the Reno Bighorns has been solid, but has he shown enough to finally earn his first minutes on an NBA court? Well, it depends.

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In my opinion, depending on what happens with the Kings in the next couple of weeks will depend on Dukan’s NBA fate for this season.

If Sacramento is struggling down the stretch and their playoffs hopes are close to over, then the Kings might call up Dukan from Reno and give him some time to get his foot in the NBA waters.

However, if the Kings start to play well and potentially make a legit playoff run, then most likely Dukan will not see any playing time or even be called up.

So far it’s hard to evaluate Dukan’s season. Although he has played solid through his D-League season so far it is still unknown whether he can be the Kings solution to the stretch-four void that they have been lacking.