3 Things Kings fans should be watching during training camp

De'Aaron Fox, Harrison Barnes, Domantas Sabonis, Sacramento Kings. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
De'Aaron Fox, Harrison Barnes, Domantas Sabonis, Sacramento Kings. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports /
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JaVale McGee, Dallas Mavericks
Dallas Mavericks, JaVale McGee (Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports) /

#2: How do JaVale McGee and Alex Len look?

Depth at the center position is incredibly important for the Kings. Domantas Sabonis does not spend much time on the bench, so the Kings don’t necessarily need their backup big to work any miracles. They do need reliable size, rebounding, and clean defense in those minutes, however.

Last season, Coach Brown struggled to find that on his bench, experimenting with Richard Holmes, Chimezie Menu, Alex Len, and eventually Trey Lyles. Lyles did a good job as the small ball five, but, as the name suggests, the Kings were incredibly undersized with him at the center spot.

Now, Sacramento will be starting training camp and the new season with JaVale McGee and Alex Len as their possible backup bigs. How they look will be very important, as both are coming off down years.

Len recorded 1.2 points and 2.3 rebounds in an average of 6.2 minutes over 26 games, and McGee put up 4.4 points and 2.5 rebounds in 8.5 minutes over 42 games with the Mavericks. For both, those numbers marked a steep decline compared to their previous seasons but especially for McGee.

The Mavericks originally signed him to a three-year deal to be their starting center. After only seven games he fell out of the rotation, however, and was waived after just one season. Considering that he is 35 years old, the question is whether this can be ascribed simply to a bad fit or if the three-time champion is aging out of playing meaningful basketball.

Just in 2021-22 with the Suns, McGee produced exactly what the Kings would need from him, averaging 9.2 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks in 15.8 minutes per game. The same goes for Len, who averaged 6 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 1.2 assists for the Kings in 2021-22.

Training camp will be the first indication as to which version of each player the Kings will get. Even though both are just on one-year minimum contracts, the Kings need at least one of them to click.

If all fails or the matchup allows it, Lyles will be ready to step in as the backup five, but against many of the taller teams in the league that would put the team at a disadvantage. We saw last season how much Sacramento struggled, for example, against the Raptors’ collection of long, athletic wings.