In Cory Joseph, the Sacramento Kings hope that they have found a point guard who can lock up some of the NBA’s premier guards, something the team has struggled with in past years.
Cory Joseph will be the best point guard defender to don a Sacramento Kings uniform since former Sixth Man of the Year winner Bobby Jackson. With a combination of quick hands and a tendency to jump in passing lanes, Joseph makes life difficult for point guards around the NBA.
There is not any doubt that the Kings overpaid Joseph yearly at $37.20M over the next three years with a third-year partial guarantee. Part of that is likely the “Sacramento tax,” while another part is likely getting Joseph to agree to a reduced role than he has had in past years.
The backup point guard spot was an issue the Kings needed to address entering this past offseason. Last year, the Kings often got torched anytime De’Aaron Fox was called to the bench. Obviously, Fox is what makes the Kings go and is the face of the franchise. But what happens in the 15-18 minutes when he is not on the court can often determine the outcome of the game.
The Kings lost a lot of games last year because they were a trainwreck when Fox was on the bench. Whether it was Frank Mason’s lack of verve on offense or Yogi Ferrell’s inability to guard his man, it was an issue that persisted throughout the season.
According to Basketball-Reference, the team had a net rating of +1.1 when Fox was on the court versus a net rating of -4.6 when he was off it, a pretty large disparity.
The team hopes Joseph will help quell some of those issues in his first year in Sacramento. Here are my predictions on how his first season will fare.