3 Kings Players That Should Get Coal From Santa

Sacramento Kings Marvin Bagley (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
Sacramento Kings Marvin Bagley (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /

Santa is going to have to pack a little bit of extra coal this year when he visits the houses of these three Sacramento Kings players.

After what had been a rollercoaster start to the season for the Sacramento Kings, the wheels have begun to come off of the track.

Losers of 5 of their last 6 games, the Kings find themselves slipping further and further away from the elusive .500 mark having lost to less-than-mediocre teams over the last couple of weeks. Even the return of their franchise player couldn’t stop the bleeding that started with the loss to the Knicks on December 13th. The holiday season will likely end with the Kings five or more games under .500.

So who is to blame for the woes in Sacramento? Which players deserve to receive coal in their stockings from Basketball Santa?

Buddy Hield

The player that was supposed to benefit the most from De’Aaron Fox’s return from injury was Buddy Hield. He would no longer be expected to be a creator or be the Kings’ primary ball-handler in crunch time. He could simply focus on moving without the ball and catching and shooting, which is when Hield is at his best.

But Hield has all but disappeared with Fox back in the lineup. Over the last four games, Hield is averaging 9.7 points per game, after averaging 25.8 in his previous 11 contests. He has gone ice cold from deep, making just 8 of his last 36 three-point attempts.

His minutes are down as well since Fox’s return, playing more than 30 minutes just once in the four games. In the King’s most recent game, coach Luke Walton opted to bench Hield for the entirety of the 4th quarter. In that final frame, the Kings outscored the Rockets 25-16 and at one point had trimmed a 21-point deficit down to 6.

Santa should be bringing Hield a stocking full of coal, but hopefully, Hield’s shooting touch is under the tree as well.

Harrison Barnes

The only player on the Kings roster that might be struggling more than Hield is Harrison Barnes.

Typically one of Sacramento’s most reliable and consistent players, Barnes has been the opposite of those things for essentially the entirety of December. Outside of his 25 point performance against the Grizzlies on the 21st, he is shooting 37.7% from the field and 23% from three-point range for the month.

The wing position is seemingly the one that the Kings are thinnest at, considering the lack of point production from backup Trevor Ariza. Sacramento also relies heavily on Barnes in certain situations, a player who can get buckets and draw fouls when others go cold.

But lately, the small forward position has become somewhat of a black hole, and is an area that can certainly contribute to the Kings’ recent struggles on the court.

Marvin Bagley

Oh, Marvin.

It seems as though the days of imagining Marvin Bagley as a 20/10 guy are going to be put on hold for the time being.

After a promising rookie season, Bagley seems to have regressed a bit. His numbers are down across the board including his minutes, and he struggles at times on both ends of the floor. His shot attempts and usage rates have actually risen, but his percentages are lower everywhere but the free-throw line.

The bitter icing on top of this cake of disappointment is the fact that Luka Doncic took the league, and national media, by storm while Bagley nursed a thumb fracture that took seven weeks to rehabilitate.

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Bagley’s return from injury was supposed to be an early Christmas present for the Sacramento Kings. Instead, he’s just been a lump of coal at the bottom of our stockings.