Sacramento Kings: Contentious Free-Agent Signings Leading The Way

(Photo by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images) /

In the absence of Richaun Holmes, Dewayne Dedmon was resurrected and Trevor Ariza was an influential factor in the Sacramento Kings coming out victorious.

After losing 9 of their prior 11 games, Richaun Holmes going down with a shoulder injury struck fear in many Sacramento Kings fans’ hearts with Marvin Bagley already unavailable and Dewayne Dedmon recently being listed as inactive after publicly requesting a trade. Dedmon and Trevor Ariza were needed in Phoenix and were instrumental in Sacramento coming out victorious, playing 19 uninterrupted minutes to close the game.

Harry Giles was gifted his first NBA start in the absence of Holmes and started well alongside Nemanja Bjelicia, notching himself eight points and six rebounds in the first half of play. Defensively, however, Giles was thoroughly bullied by Deandre Ayton in the post — partially due to a fear of fouling.

Dedmon checked into the game with roughly four and a half minutes remaining in the first quarter and I could not have been more anxious. I feel like the only person in Sacramento that still has faith in Dedmon being serviceable and am grasping any sliver of hope in him regaining good spirits and becoming apart of the rotation. The showing in Phoenix was a promising start to that.

By halftime, Dedmon had played solid interior defense, knocked down a three, and logged 3 rebounds. But most importantly, he certainly looked like a serviceable NBA big man. The following half is where both Dedmon and Ariza’s influence was apparent to everyone watching.

After what was a tied game at 53 at halftime, Phoenix came out in the third and tallied 27 points by the time Sacramento had six. The score was now 59-80, 21 points in favor of the Suns.

A lineup of Cory JosephJustin James – Trevor Ariza – Harrison Barnes – Dewayne Dedmon scored 19 points in the closing five minutes of the third and held a streaking Phoenix team to seven.

Trevor Ariza, whose shot has started to fall the past two games, appears rejuvenated on the defensive end. The 15-year veteran has an unmistakably high defensive I.Q., but his effort level has been in question this season and his hands were as active in this one as Sacramento has seen all year.

You can observe the difference that playing engaged defensive talents in Ariza and Dedmon can make on any given night excellently in the play below.

The defense of rookie James deserves appreciation as well and has been undervalued when he is presented an opportunity.

Cory Joseph and De’Aaron Fox have begun to play more and more minutes together, partially due to Buddy Hield being horrific defensively all season long. That was no different in Phoenix and credit to Luke Walton for not hesitating to sit Hield.

Hield struggled to guard De’Anthony Melton of Memphis and stood no chance being matched up against Devin Booker. Hield was a -25 in a nine-point win and played just 3 seconds throughout the rest of the game after being benched with 6:17 remaining in the third. It ended as the second-lowest minute total for Hield all season, second to an early embarrassment in Utah that I was lucky enough to witness.

It literally does not get more straightforward than the layup Booker got in this play. The last thing Sacramento needed was for Booker to see the ball go through the hoop on some free buckets and feeling good about himself.

Sacramento’s bench trio of Ariza (+32), Dedmon (+33), and Joseph (+34) were phenomenal defensively and supplied the Kings with the bench depth that they anticipated to have heading into the season.

Next. Dewayne Dedmon Handled His Trade Request Perfectly. dark

The signings of Dewayne Dedmon and Trevor Ariza have been criticized often, but they may have just needed some time to come around.