3 Pieces the Kings still need to be serious title contenders

Utah Jazz v Sacramento Kings
Utah Jazz v Sacramento Kings / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages
2 of 3

2. Another wing defender

Defense is not the Kings’ strong suit. They finished at the bottom of the league in defensive rating last season, relying on outscoring opponents instead. At this moment, they are 19th, marking a slight improvement. 

Fox already improved a lot as a defender last year and is becoming a true two-way guard, but the biggest revelation on that end of the floor has been Keegan Murray. Last season, teams hunted the rookie to get a favorable matchup. Now, he is guarding Stephen Curry. 

When he is available, the Kings’ defense mostly looks fine. He, Fox, Barnes, and Duarte can usually juggle the toughest defensive assignments on the perimeter. Other times, however, they simply don’t have enough high-level defenders who can also score, and when Murray isn’t available it hurts the Kings. 

These last couple of games, Duarte started in his place but he is just not as effective as Murray has been this season. The only other King who can replicate his size and defensive ability is Kessler Edwards. He had a great game in Minnesota but keeps falling out of the rotation. 

If Mike Brown cannot trust Edwards to have a continuous impact, the Kings need another high-level wing defender. Ideally, it would be a starting caliber player to replace Harrison Barnes, like OG Anunoby, but even just someone who can come off the bench and guard the likes of Kawhi Leonard for 15 minutes would help immensely.