Sacramento Kings: Who Gets The Minutes In A Crowded Frontcourt?

Marvin Bagley Sacramento Kings (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
Marvin Bagley Sacramento Kings (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Who gets the minutes in a crowded Sacramento Kings frontcourt? The battle for playing time begins in the preseason.

The Sacramento Kings have wrapped up their preseason mini-series in India, and there may be more questions than answers following the exhibitions. One of those questions is what to do about the log jam in the frontcourt.

During the offseason, the Kings parted ways with a couple of members of their frontcourt, but replaced them with players to better fit their system. In doing so, they may have inadvertently created an issue with minutes allocation.

A Log Jam Up Front

During the games in India, head coach Luke Walton gave playing time to nearly every player on the Kings roster. That included every frontcourt member, save for Harry Giles, who missed the trip for seemingly undisclosed reasons.

The first of the two games featured what is assumed to be the regular-season rotation, while more fringe players were featured in the second contest. Wenyen Gabriel, Caleb Swanigan, and Tyler Lydon all received an ample amount of playing time, though none of them are expected to crack Sacramento’s regular-season rotation.

That leaves five players to fight over the 96 available frontcourt minutes: Marvin Bagley, Dewayne Dedmon, Nemanja Bjelica, Harry Giles, and Richaun Holmes.

So who is the odd man out? Or are there two?

Who Gets The Minutes?

The two players that are virtual locks are Bagley and Dedmon. The duo started both games in India and are the most talented of the bunch. Although it is unclear which player will start at center and which at power forward, the jobs of both seem secure for now.

Dedmon should average roughly the same amount of minutes this season as he did last year in Atlanta when he played 25 per game, and may even see a slight increase. Bagley will certainly receive more playing time than he did during his rookie campaign when he also averaged 25. Look for the duo to play a combined 60 minutes per game this season.

That leaves about 36 minutes to be distributed between Bjelica, Holmes, and Giles.

Holmes made a solid case for himself in India despite appearing in only one of the contests. In 20 minutes, he scored ten points and pulled down four rebounds while adding two blocked shots and two steals. His plus/minus was +14.

Bjelica played well in both games, scoring a combined 19 points on 5 of 10 shooting. The franchise is familiar with his strengths and style of play, which may might give him a slight upper hand when it comes to playing time.

That leaves Giles, who was unable to showcase any of his offseason progression during the India games.

Giles vs. Holmes

Giles is somewhat of an enigma for Kings fans at this point. He is supremely talented and shows admiration for the city of Sacramento, a combination that has made him a fan favorite. But the signing of Holmes in the offseason put question marks around Giles’ minutes as well as his role on the team.

The ceiling for Giles is obviously higher than that of Holmes, but the latter has more experience. Holmes has 226 career games under his belt compared to Giles’ 58, and even has minimal playoff minutes from his time in Philadelphia. He has a good motor and plays with intensity, something that Sacramento lacked at the position last season.

That’s not to say that Giles doesn’t play with intensity, as well. But having missed the opening games of the preseason, he begins his chase for minutes behind the 8-ball. It will be up to the third-year pro to make up the difference during training camp, which will be one of the focal points for the Kings throughout the preseason.

Next. Three Predictions For Marvin Bagley. dark

The Sacramento Kings won’t play again until Thursday, October 10th, and it is unclear whether or not Giles will participate in that contest.