Who will be the best player on the Sacramento Kings this season?

SACRAMENTO, CA - MARCH 19: Buddy Hield #24, De'Aaron Fox #5 and Willie Cauley-Stein #00 of the Sacramento Kings face the Detroit Pistons on March 19, 2018 at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
SACRAMENTO, CA - MARCH 19: Buddy Hield #24, De'Aaron Fox #5 and Willie Cauley-Stein #00 of the Sacramento Kings face the Detroit Pistons on March 19, 2018 at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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The Sacramento Kings don’t have a number one guy, but does anyone on the roster have an inside track at becoming their top guy?

Last season, ex-Kings guard George Hill came into the year as the Sacramento Kings best player. Whether or not that’s a compliment to Hill or an indictment of the roster is not the point.

George Hill is gone and has been since a mid-season trade to the Cleveland Cavaliers, so who takes the role as the Kings best player? Well, there’s a few contenders, most notably: De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Willie Cauley-Stein. So who’s got the edge?

For the sake of argument, rookies are not being considered so don’t expect to see Harry Giles or Marvin Bagley III mentioned here. Veteran players who don’t figure to see heavy playing time also won’t be considered, sorry Zach Randolph.

Which leaves us with the top young players on the roster with a near-guarantee of extensive playing time that were mentioned above. So, between the quartet of Bogdan Bogdanovic, Buddy Hield, De’Aaron Fox and Willie Cauley-Stein who takes over as that guy?

We’ll jump into Bogdanovic’s case first. Bogi is coming off of a campaign that saw him average a respectable 11.8 points, 2.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists on a 44.6/39.2/84.0 shooting split.

Those numbers are solid for a role player, not so much for somebody looking to be the Kings no. 1 option. Bogdan is third among in points per game among those listed, third is rebounds and second in assists. Those number fall pretty well in line with the role he projects to play in the NBA, with that being a solid third or fourth option on a potential playoff team.

Bogdanovic is approaching his prime and he’s about to hit his ceiling if he already hasn’t. Regardless, he won’t be the Sacramento Kings best player this season, or in the foreseeable future. It also doesn’t help that he recently went down with a knee injury that required surgery, putting his availability for the beginning of the season in doubt.

De’Aaron Fox is next up and he just might be the player with the most to gain or lose in the upcoming season. If he takes the next step in his development, he could easily be the Kings leading man. He could also falter and struggle with efficiency again, something that could force him to the bench in certain situations.

Last season, Fox averaged 11.6 points, 2.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists on a shooting split of 41.2/30.7/72.3. If you think those shooting percentages look bad, you’d be right. Per BBallIndex’s player grading system, Fox rated as a ‘C’ or worse in all categories, save for interior defense, among NBA guards with at least 1500 minutes played last season.

Yeah, that’s, uh, not great. With that said, Fox was a rookie last season on a team that won 27 games. It’s not inconceivable that he figures everything out this season but it’s hard to envision him turning into a completely different player over the course of one offseason.

Willie Cauley-Stein is one player who has a legitimate chance at becoming the best player on the Sacramento Kings. He posted 12.8 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists last season on 50.2 percent shooting from the field.

Admittedly, I’m higher on Cauley-Stein than most but he has all the tools to succeed in today’s NBA, it’s just a matter of putting it all together. He’s also heading into a contract year and going to be pushed by Harry Giles all season. Think that might be motivation enough?

If Cauley-Stein doesn’t make it work this season, it could very likely be his last in California’s capital city as well, so the motivating factors are there. Whether or not it make a difference though, is a major question mark. I did a breakdown of Willie Cauley-Stein’s game last month so I won’t spend too much time on him here. If you’d like to check that out it’s linked here.

Lastly, and likely the favorite is the Buddy Hield. Buddy is coming off a season where he emerged as one of the best three-point shooters in the NBA. That alone means a lot, but he’s not a one-trick pony.

Last season, Hield scored 13.5 points per game on 44.6 percent shooting from the field. Not eye-popping numbers, but solid numbers for a player who spent most of his time shuttling from the bench to the starting lineup.

Hield is without a doubt Sacramento’s best scorer. Last season he finished second only to Zach Randolph last season and will certainly improve upon his 13.5 ppg with a more consistent role this season.

If Hield is able to maintain his stellar three-point percentage and improve upon his two-point field goal percentage, he could start to resemble the player team owner Vivek Ranadive envisioned when he traded DeMarcus Cousins for him (among others) back in 2017.

So who takes over the Sacramento Kings this year? The safe bet is probably Buddy Hield but Willie Cauley-Stein could also come in and be the guy. Could De’Aaron Fox take that next step? Or will one of the Kings rookies emerge out of nowhere?

light. Related Story. Can Willie Cauley-Stein put it together this season?

At this point, it’s hard to tell but training camp is quickly approaching and once players start to take the court in preseason and regular season contests, we’ll start to get a much clearer picture.