“DeRozan’s Kings Takeover: Is This the NBA’s Next Big Dynasty?”

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In a sign-and trade deal worth $74 million over three years, the Sacramento Kings acquire free agent DeMar DeRozan from the Chicago Bulls. As part of this deal, Harrison Barnes will be traded to the Spurs along with an unprotected pick in 2031. Chris Duarte will also receive two second-round draft picks as well as cash.

After missing out on the playoffs in last season, the Kings were looking to add a star player to their core of De’Aaron Fox Domantas Sabonis Keegan Murrry Malik Monk HTML This trade has significant fantasy basketball implications. Will it make the Kings a contender in the Western Conference though? Take a closer inspection. — Eric Moody

Fantasy value: Will DeRozan flourish as a goal scorer in Sacramento

DeRozan, who will be 35 in a month, has just completed a three-year stint with the Bulls during which he averaged 25.5 points per game. This scoring was largely due to the midrange. DeRozan is the most prolific midrange scorer during this time span. The gap between him and Kevin Durant who ranks second in volume scoring is large. He averaged 24.0 points per game, 4.3 rebounds, and 5.3 assists last season. DeRozan finished second behind Stephen Curry in the voting for Clutch Players of the Year. DeRozan was the oldest player in the league to lead the league’s total minutes played during the last season. DeRozan is the only player to have missed no more than 11 games during a season.

DeRozan was a shooting guard for most of his early career before he switched to small forward in the last five years. DeRozan will continue to be a top fantasy player for the Kings, especially in point leagues as opposed to category formats. He won’t address the Kings’ need for length, size and defense. This is important because Sacramento has been in the bottom half in points per 100 possessions during that time period.

What are the betting implications for 2024-25: Will the Kings be legitimate contenders?

The Kings will make the playoffs in 2023 for the first since 2005-2006. Last season, Sacramento was in the play-in tourney and lost against the New Orleans Pelicans for the No. 8 seed. DeRozan is a great addition to the Kings. Although they were looking for someone to replace Fox as the offensive coordinator and to create shots in high-level postseason settings, I have the impression that DeRozan was added to satisfy an ownership group who wanted to recapture magic of the 2022-2023 campaign. Let me explain.

Sacramento ranked among the top half in the league for points per 100 possessions in each of the past two seasons. The Kings’ mantra is that they play fast and score more than their opponents, while still playing mediocre defensively. DeRozan gives the Kings a third option after Fox and Sabonis but the Kings’ main concern is defense.

DeRozan’s problem is that he’s not great at defense and can’t do much on offense without the ball. Fox and Monk are already a good ball handler for the Kings, as they both get a high usage rate. The Kings also run much of their offense via Domantas Sabonis. The Kings’ system is built around movement both on and off the ball, but DeRozan can be a bit of an obstruction. Fox and Monk, while he’s a good playmaker with the ball, aren’t known for having exceptional defensive skills.

The Kings also don’t own a rim protector of high quality, and let’s face it, Sabonis’s first priority is to score. Barnes’ loss will be felt, particularly on the defensive side. Keon Ellis was a great defender in the last few months of last season. With DeRozan now on board, will Ellis be given enough time to have an impact? 

The phrase “defense is the key to winning championships” in the NBA holds true, even though it may be cliche. Although adding DeRozan to the Kings might appear like a good move, their defensive problems will be difficult to overcome in the Western Conference. Sacramento’s defensive woes will be hard to overcome in a stacked Western Conference. DeRozan raises the Kings’ win total for the regular season, as Sacramento has two of its best clutch players in DeRozan and Fox (+20000 to be named regular season MVP). It is also interesting to bet on the Kings winning the Pacific Division (+370).

NBA Other Moves:

Klay Thompson Dallas Mavericks Thompson left the Warriors to join a Mavericks team that desperately needed a 3-point shooter. The Mavericks used two former wings during the regular season – Tim Hardaway, Jr. Derrick Jones Jr. In a total of 50+ minutes of play, they averaged 23.0 points per game on a combined 8.9 of 18.9 (42.9%) field goal percentage and 3.8 out of 10.7 (35.5%) 3P% from behind the arch. Thompson’s improved shooting efficiency should allow him to achieve a similar level of scoring and 3-point shooting within 60% of the minutes. Thompson will be able to get more shots in Dallas by playing off Luka Donic and Kyrie Irvin’s playmaking and gravity. This is better than what he had in Golden State. Thompson will be able to get more corner looks in Dallas, instead of being forced to play off the move.

Thompson was projected to be around 130th on my way too early rankings when he was with the Warriors. The move will likely push him back up to my top 100 as a good starting flex option.

The logic behind this move is clear. The Warriors replaced Klay Thompson with the player who’s offensive style is most similar to his. Thompson averaged 17.9 points per game with the Warriors in last season. He shot 6.4 out of 14.7 (43.2%) FGs and 3.5 out of 9.0 (38% 3P%) from deep. Hield’s career averages are 43.4 FG%, and 30.0% 3P%. These shots are very similar to what he would get from the Warriors. Thompson was a starter for most of the season but came off the bench by the end. Last season, Hield did the same thing, starting and sitting on the bench, for the Indiana Pacers as well as the Philadelphia 76ers. Thompson played less minutes last year (25.7 MPG), but he averaged 31.0 PPG and 16.8 PPG the previous season.

Hield’s availability is a distinct advantage over Thompson. Hield’s durability is a big factor in his fantasy projections. Hield was projected to be a borderline fantasy player in the top 130 rankings before the move. This move puts him just outside the top 100, and he is now in serious contention for a flex starting spot in most fantasy basketball leagues.

Harrison Barnes San Antonio Spurs : Barnes, a 12-year veteran, has a proven track record of scoring both inside and out. Barnes is the second veteran to join the Spurs in the offseason. He’ll likely be working with Chris Paul, to help Victor Wembanyama learn how to play winning basketball. Barnes is not certain whether he’ll start or be a bench player, but it’s likely he’ll score more per minute playing off Wembanyama than he did when he was on the Kings team that had a lot of perimeter scorers.

Barnes was ranked 141st by me in my incredibly early rankings. With this move, Barnes could move into the 110-130 range. The variability is due to his uncertain role. Later in the off-season, we should have a better understanding of his role.

 Martin alternated between starting for the Heat and coming off of the bench over the past two seasons. This season, he appears to be slated as the fifth starter with the 76ers. He’d be a 3-and-D player on a 76ers team that features three scorers who are highly-used. His numbers would probably match those of the 10.4 PPG he averaged last season, along with 5.5 RPG, 2.5 APG, and 1.4 3-pointers.

Martin was ranked 182nd by my way-too early rankings prior to his move. This put him outside the range of most fantasy leagues, except the deepest ones. His upside may push him up to the top 150 and into late-round fantasy draft consideration if he becomes a full-time Philadelphia starter. — Andre Snellings

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