Who Is The Best Player on the Sacramento Kings?
On September 1st, Bleacher Report posted an article in which a “Mamba Challenge” is issued to the best player on all 30 NBA teams. For the Sacramento Kings, B/R writer, Maurice Peebles, issued Kings’ point guard, George Hill, the challenge of improving Sacramento’s offense. This got me thinking, who is the Kings’ best player?
As Peebles pointed out, it can’t be De’Aaron Fox as he’s a rookie. Buddy Hield? He hasn’t shown enough to prove he’s the best player. Skal Labissiere? He’s absolutely oozing potential and played great last year, but he only averaged 8 points per contest. This leaves two realistic choices…
The Case For George Hill:
George Hill is a veteran and a productive one at that. After averaging 16.9 points and 4.2 assists per game for the Jazz last year, both statistics would’ve been top three on the Kings last season. Not to mention he is the highest paid player for Sacramento as he will be earning $57 million over the next three years.
It’s hard to argue against Hill being the best player in Sacramento. With most of the team young and inexperienced, Hill has little competition for the title by default. The trio of Hield, Fox, and Labbisseire could all have equally strong cases after this season, but as it stands now, there’s only one true competitor…
A Case For Willie Cauley-Stein:
Willie Cauley-Stein is an uber talented big from Kentucky, he was largely an after thought for Sacramento, until the team traded DeMarcus Cousins. Following the Cousins trade, Cauley-Stein’s per game numbers exploded. For a more detailed breakdown click here. Most notably, however, he jumped to over 12 points and 8 rebounds per contest over the second half of the season. This jump showed just how much potential Cauley-Stein has.
In Peebles’ article, he lamented how WCS doesn’t get enough blocks (0.6 blocks per game before Cousins trade, 0.9 blocks after), which is more than a fair criticism and is something Cauley-Stein must work on in order to become an elite NBA center. However, what he displayed post All-Star break cannot be discounted.
A Final Word:
George Hill is, for all intents and purposes, the Kings’ best player heading into the 2017-2018 season. With that being said, Cauley-Stein is right at his heels.
If Cauley-Stein can build on his breakout second half from last season, by this time next year he will be Sacramento’s best player. On the other hand, it’s entirely possible Skal takes his game to new heights and overtakes both WCS and Hill. Same goes for prized first round picks De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield.
Regardless of who’s the best player for the Kings right now, it will no doubt be interesting to see which of the five, if any, truly cement themselves as the Kings number one guy.