The Sacramento Kings Are Short On Veterans This Season

SACRAMENTO, CA - JANUARY 11: Zach Randolph #50 and Kosta Koufos #41 of the Sacramento Kings (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
SACRAMENTO, CA - JANUARY 11: Zach Randolph #50 and Kosta Koufos #41 of the Sacramento Kings (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images) /

After a series of trades and free agency departures, the Sacramento Kings have a short list of veteran players for the upcoming season.

For the 2018-2019 season, the Sacramento Kings will start with just a couple of veterans on their active roster. Zach Randolph is the old man of the group entering his 17th season in the NBA. Z-Bo was the team’s leader on offense last year as he led the team in points with an average of 14.5 a night.

The next person in the veteran group is Kosta Koufos who is entering his tenth year in the league. Kosta is the Kings’ best guy when it comes to defending the interior, and during this summer, he has continued to make improvements on offense. Kosta will never be called fancy or explosive by anyone, but he is a consistent player who can help his team win without question. Kosta is a role player that every team would love to have on their roster.

Last of the veteran group would be Iman Shumpert with seven years of NBA experience. Out of all the veterans, Iman might be the one who is the biggest question mark for Sacramento. Shumpert could be the veteran who gets the most playing time with his ability to play small forward as well as two-guard. The fact that Shumpert is only 28-years old could be the perfect age to be the leader of the core group of players that the Kings hope to ride on into the future.

Ben McLemore is entering his sixth season in the NBA but has not established himself as a solid player who could be considered a veteran. And Nemanja Bjelica is 30-years old but has only three seasons of NBA action playing with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

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Can the veterans get the job done?

As long as the purple and white keep the veterans that they have on their roster, they will be fine.  With one of the youngest rosters in the NBA, the Kings have their veterans at all positions to help anyone on the team who might need mentoring.

Koufos is a center, Z-Bo is a power forward, and Shumpert is a guard who can also play the wing. Every team in the NBA has to have veterans and role players. The three veterans Sacramento have can produce if the youngsters do struggle during the year. All of these veterans can step in and show them how to get the job done on the court. Z-Bo and Kosta have played on Joerger’s teams before coming to Sacramento. Both these guys know what Joerger wants from his players.

Shumpert and Koufos can play as many minutes as Joerger needs them to play. Randolph played a lot of minutes last year but did get rest between games to let the younger players get experience. I still believe Z-Bo can play 20 minutes a game if needed.

Do any of the veterans get traded this season?

If I was a gambler, I would bet some of the Kings’ veterans will be gone by the end of the year. Before the trade deadline, all of these veterans could be appealing to a team who is making a serious run at the playoffs.

Zach is the most likely to be traded as he is nearing the end of his career. Kosta and Iman both could be valuable to many playoff-contending teams as well. Taking on expiring contracts is one great commodity for the Kings to have.

This is the best way for the home team to get a first-round pick in next year’s draft. Since they do not have a first-round pick, it would be a great way for Vlade Divac to make amends for that awful salary-dump trade that he made with the Philadelphia 76ers years back.

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Final thoughts 

For the Kings’ rebuild to succeed, they need to have some of their young guys become solid NBA players. Joerger also has to count on a couple of them to be elite as well. But with that being said, a veteran presence can be key for the team’s young guys to make strides.

For the last few years, Koufos and Randolph have proven to be great veterans for the Kings, and Shumpert seems like he will fit in great as well. So if they can continue to be great mentors while also becoming on-the-court assets when called upon, the Kings are pretty much set on veteran players at the moment.