The Sacramento Kings signed Garrett Temple in free agency to a contract of 3 years and $24 million. This article examines if the Kings spent wisely.
On July 3rd, 2016, Garrett Temple agreed to a contract of 3 years and $24 million with the Sacramento Kings. Temple is a 6’6 combo guard who can play a bit of small forward. Below is a highlight video from last season, so you can get a glimpse at the newest Kings on-court skill.
Now let us examine Garrett Temple’s on-court game further to see if the Kings spent wisely.
Offensive Skills and Production
Garrett Temple’s traditional offensive stats are not going to make the Kings stand up and cheer. For his career, he averages 0.6 3’s, 0.4 offensive rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.8 turnovers, and 4.5 points on 39.3% from the field and 70.0% from the line in 16.3 minutes per game. Not much noteworthy in that stat line, but let us examine last season’s numbers where Temple got a little bit more playing time with the Wizards.
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In his age 29 season, Temple averaged 1.1 3’s, 0.5 offensive rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.8 turnovers, and 7.3 points on 39.8% from the field and 72.8% from the line in 24.4 minutes per game. Still nothing eye-popping, so let us examine what Temple does well on the offensive end of the floor.
Temple can knock down the corner 3 pointers. He is a 37.8% corner 3-point shooter for his career. Last season, he knocked down the corner 3 at 36.4%. It will take an effective offensive game plan to get Temple open in the corner, but he can certainly help the Kings by knocking down that shot.
Defensive Skills and Production
The traditional defensive stats do not leap off the page either. Temple has career averages of 1.4 defensive rebounds, 0.7 steals, and 0.2 blocks in 16.3 minutes per game. That steal rate is good, but not elite. The numbers are not atrocious, but they aren’t spectacular. Now let us look at how Temple fared last season in more minutes.
In the 2015-2016 NBA season, Temple averaged 2.2 defensive rebounds, 0.9 steals, and 0.2 blocks in 24.4 minutes per game. The numbers are serviceable, yet unspectacular for a bench combo guard. Now let us examine what Temple excels at on the defensive end.
Temple has the ability to guard multiple positions and he is a smart crafty defender. Temple can guard any player 1 through 3. That is a valuable trait with the NBA going smaller and the need for players to be able to guard multiple positions. Temple, also, uses his NBA knowledge and abilities to be a pesky on-ball defender.
Now let us examine the advanced metrics to see how Garrett Temple stacks up. For his career, Temple has averaged negative 2.2 offensive box score plus/minus and a positive 0.7 defensive box score plus/minus. His career value over replacement player (VORP) is 0.7. Just viewing last season, Temple earned a negative 1.0 offensive box score plus/minus, a positive 0.1 on defense, and a 0.5 VORP.
Now let us examine win shares to get a different perspective on Temple’s advanced metrics. Last season, Temple earned 1.0 offensive win shares, 1.7 defensive win shares, and win shares per 48 of 0.066 (0.100 is league average). For his career, he has totaled a negative 0.1 offensive win share and positive 5.9 defensive win shares leading to a career win shares per 48 of 0.055. All stats and advanced metrics courtesy of Basketball-Reference.
Injuries are an important factor in any player’s contract because you cannot produce on the court if you are not healthy enough to play. Garrett Temple has been healthy the past few seasons. According to Fox Sports, Temple had a sore hamstring in March 2015 and no other reported injuries in his recent career. There is nothing to worry about in the injuries department.
Alright, let us review what we have found out so far. Temple produces unspectacular offensive numbers, but he can nail a corner 3-pointer with the best of them. Temple is a crafty defender who can guard multiple positions. The advanced metrics rate him as more valuable than a replacement player, but below league average. If you view his injury history, there are basically no injuries to speak of.
So, is Temple worth 3 years and $24 million to the Kings?
My answer is yes and the most important reason I haven’t even discussed yet.
Temple brings a 3-point touch and perimeter defense that the Kings desperately need, so I like the signing from that standpoint. He will also bring leadership to the locker room and that may be the Kings biggest need of all. Check out this article by my colleague Ben Mehic on what Temple brought to the Washington Wizards locker room. It is a truly great piece and worth the read. If he brings that to Sacramento, his contract will be a steal in the current NBA cap climate. Good work on this one Kings.