Reason #3: The addition of Sasha Vezenkov
In July, the Kings signed the reigning EuroLeague MVP to a three-year $20 million deal, and it could turn out to be a real steal. Last season, he averaged 17 points on 54.6 percent shooting from the field and 39.8 percent from behind the arc, 7 rebounds, and 1.9 assists.
While his numbers might not be that good in his first NBA season, Vezenkov should still be able to have an immediate impact. At 28, he is mature enough to fit right in and he plays to the Kings’ strengths. The two most important things he will bring are shooting and bench production.
During the last regular season, the Kings’ bench ranked 9th in scoring and soared to first place in the playoffs. Over seven games, the bench averaged 40.3 points. A large part of that was Malik Monk, their go-to scorer off the bench.
Adding another offensive weapon to the bench could make the team even more lethal on the scoring end. Plus, if one of them has a bad night or is injured, the other can pick up the slack and ensure that there is good production coming from the bench every game. A better bench will also make it easier to withstand injuries. The Kings were incredibly healthy last season, but they might not be so lucky again.
Vezenkov’s shooting should allow him to function well in pretty much all lineups. He moves well without the ball, meaning that he should be a good fit next to Sabonis who is an amazing distributor out of the paint as well as next to Fox and Monk, who both like to attack the basket. If Coach Brown plays Vezenkov with Keegan Murray or Kevin Huerter, the Kings’ floor spacing would be elite and allow room for the top scorers to work their magic.
Last but not least, Vezenkov adds a new surprise element that defenses will have to figure out first. Considering that Western Conference contenders will now go after the Kings, a little surprise off the bench could give them an edge.