The Sacramento Kings have played it slow this offseason. They took the best player available in the draft, regardless of fit. They’ve retained a promising young player, rounded out the depth at center with a cheap veteran, and made a not-so-splashy trade for Tristan Thompson.
While the rest of the league seems to have enjoyed a very frantic offseason, the forecast in Sacramento’s front office has been lightly cloudy with a slight breeze. It’s been a very cool, calm, and collected summer, to say the least. However, sometimes it takes a tsunami to shake things up — and by that, I mean the Tsunami Papi himself, Kelly Oubre.
The situation in Sacramento is sort of fuzzy right now, with Buddy Hield reportedly still being shopped, Marvin Bagley disgruntled as usual, and no real starting-caliber small forward on the roster. Adding an instant offense player like Oubre would electrify the starting lineup and allow Harrison Barnes to shift back to the power forward slot where’s he excelled as a small-ball four.
Oubre struggled last season in Golden State, forced to run a motion-heavy offense that emphasizes setting as many screens as humanly possible and chucking up three-point shots. Oubre was forced to be a different player with the Warriors, and it affected his efficiency mightily.
Fortunately for Sacramento, that means his value has also taken quite a bit of a hit. The Kings could look to pursue Oubre with their Mid Level Exception, which would be a huge steal in my opinion. Alternatively, the Kings could utilize either Hield or Bagley in a sign-and-trade situation to ensure Oubre comes to Sacramento instead of another interested party. Whatever be the case, the Kings likely would not have to break the bank to attain him.
While the Sacramento Kings continue to scour the trade market, they may find Kelly Oubre could make for a surprising quality addition to the rotation.
If Oubre came to Sacramento, he’d be able to slide back more into his natural role of good defense, rebounding, and the occasional isolation scoring. This is how Phoenix utilized the forward in 2019-20, where he posted 18.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.3 steals per game while shooting an acceptable 35.5 percent from deep on a high volume of 5.5 attempts per game.
On paper, a starting lineup of De’Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, Oubre, Barnes, and Richaun Holmes is much more well-adjusted to the modern NBA and allows Sacramento plenty of freedom to mix things up. The Kings do not even necessarily have to trade Hield or Bagley right away or even start Oubre in the first place. If you toss Davion Mitchell into the mix you now have nine starting-caliber players on the Kings fighting for starting spots.
The Kings were clearly seeking a culture change this summer, which is why they went out and got Tristan Thompson and Alex Len. Sacramento has lacked a physicality about themselves on the court for quite some time now, and the only way to rejuvenate that starts in practice. I cannot fathom a better way to do so than to have each player out there fighting for his starting spot each and every day.
Until Sacramento is seen as a highly sought-after free agent destination, it’s on Monte McNair to find reclamation projects and turn them into fine NBA players. He’s done it before with players like Holmes, Cory Joseph, and Terence Davis, maybe the organization can work their magic with Oubre as well.