The Sacramento Kings need to add depth at the point guard position. This article examines if Xavier Munford is the player to improve their roster.
The Sacramento Kings are a point guard short especially with the impending suspension of Darren Collison. The guard needs to be able to play an 8 to 15 minute per game role at the start of the season. A current free agent option is Xavier Munford. Below are some highlights from Munford’s D-League campaign last season to give you a taste of what he brings to the court.
Why the Kings Should Target Munford
Xavier Munford will bring positive perimeter defense to Sacramento. In his brief NBA stint last season, Munford averaged 0.9 steals in only 17.4 minutes per game over 14 games with the Grizzlies. He also produced positive defensive win shares in that time. Munford has the youth and athleticism to guard NBA point guards, which would fill a need for the current Kings roster.
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Munford dominated the D-League last season. He was a D-League All-Star. Munford produced 4.2 rebounds, 6.4 assists, 1.0 steal, 0.4 blocks, and 20.4 points in 33.7 minutes per game on 49.0% from the field and 81.1% from the line for the Bakersfield Jam last season. Given that he is just 24 years old and still improving, he could be working his way into a successful rotation point guard on an NBA team.
Mister Munford can knock down a triple. Munford knocked down 1.3 per game last season on 39.1% in the NBA. If you flip over to the D-League, he nailed 1.7 per game on 41.2%. Munford will force the defense to respect his range and space the floor for the Kings, a definite positive for a team in need of 3 point production.
Why the Kings Should Pass on Munford
He only managed to play 14 games last season on a depleted Memphis Grizzlies team. During the stretch run, the Grizzlies were decimated with injuries, yet it took till 14 games remaining to add Munford. He only played 17.4 minutes per game even on their depleted roster. Borrowing a term from baseball, this could be a 4-A player, not good enough for the majors, but too good for the minors. Time will tell.
Munford lacks NBA experience. I think it is very hard for an inexperienced player to come in and try to run the offense in a small role. Mistakes easily pile up on them and if they get frustrated they can get into a funk that is hard to break out of. Munford last season averaged 1.6 assists and 1.1 turnovers per game in the NBA, for example. All NBA stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference and all D-League stats courtesy of RealGM. With only 14 games on NBA experience, Munford could struggle to lead the offense in only 8 to 15 minutes per game.
Xavier Munford fills the three biggest needs for the Kings. He can make 3’s at a high percentage, he can play defense, and he plays point guard. The concerns are his lack of experience and he may not quite be an NBA talent.
If I am the Kings, I would take a shot on Munford on a minimum contract. Maybe, you catch lightning in a bottle and have a young serviceable rotation point guard. If it does not work out, you could stash Munford in Reno where he will probably dominate and help the Bighorns have a successful season. It is a signing with upside and not much downside. Take the plunge Kings.