The Sacramento Kings had a breakout season in 2022-23 with their first trip to the playoffs in 17 years and will look to carry that momentum into the offseason. Monte McNair and company aren’t just looking to maintain the success from the drought-breaking year but to build on it into next season and beyond.
One of the many key moves Monte made last year en route to his Executive of the Year award was signing Malik Monk and Matthew Dellavedova in Free Agency. Monk was the Kings 6th man off the bench and Delly provided a great veteran presence while filling in as the 3rd string Point Guard as needed due to injuries. Monte makes key, calculated moves at the right time, and surely will look to do the same in the coming weeks.
Free Agents have rarely flocked to Sacramento, but the best offense in NBA history and the allure of The Beam may be enough to change that and bring in marquee players via Free Agency. Let’s take a ‘By the Numbers’ look at who are some of the best options on the Wing.
5. Harrison Barnes – 30 Years Old – Unrestricted Free Agent
If the Kings are unable to bring in a clear upgrade over Barnes, it should be an easy decision to bring him back. Most people will remember the missed shot in the playoffs, but Barnes was a key contributor all season to help get Sacramento back to the playoffs. His 5.0 FTAs per game ranked 33rd in the NBA last year and paired very well with Fox and Sabonis’ abilities to get to the line. The three of them averaged 16.5 attempts per game and were the main reason the Kings were 5th in the NBA in Free Throw Attempts.
That along with his ability to score inside (67.3% in the Restricted Area) and shoot from deep (37.4%) is still extremely valuable to any team. He leaves a little to be desired with Rebounding, Assists, and Defense, but is a consummate pro who was one of 10 players to play 82 games last year.
4. Khris Middleton – 31 Years Old – $40,396,552 Player Option
Khris Middleton definitely falls in both the ‘risky’ and ‘long-shot’ categories, but I believe he would be a huge get for the Kings if they can lure him over. Middleton had a down year returning from injury, averaging 15.9 Points on 43.6/31.5/90.2% shooting splits. It’s his lowest FG% and 2nd lowest 3P% of his 11-year career. The injuries might have gotten to him, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he bounced back at least closer to his career averages of 17 Points, 4.8 Rebounds, and 3.8 Assists on 45.7/38.8/88.2% splits after a full offseason.
While Middleton only shot 31.5% from deep, he made his Wide-Open 3’s at a 40.0% clip, which is nothing to scoff at, but only 1.2 per game. The Kings offense generated 19.3 Wide-Open 3PA’s per game last season, 3rd most in the NBA. Middleton’s great looks would surely go up in a Kings uniform.
Middleton also relies heavily on self-creation to get his looks. The Kings working him into their free-flowing offense could be just what Middleton needs to get back on track, while also adding a much-needed player who can get their own shot when they need it to the Kings roster.
3. Kelly Oubre Jr. – 29 Years Old – Unrestricted Free Agent
Kelly Oubre Jr. may not have the shooting prowess that others on this list possess, but he makes up for his lack of shooting with length and athleticism, standing at 6’7” with a 7’3” wingspan. The Kings coaching staff loves deflections, and there are few better at garnering them than Oubre. He was tied for 7th in the league with 3.2 deflections per game last year.
Sacramento was at their best last season when they were getting steals, as shown by their 16-2 record in the Regular Season when they recorded 10 or more Steals. Oubre could help them get disruptive on defense and lead to more easy buckets. The question is can he be reigned in a little on the offensive side of the ball? Mike Brown is one of the best at holding people accountable, so I’d imagine if he thinks he can do it, I’m all in. The two of them spent the 2020-21 season together on the Warriors.
2. Jerami Grant – 29 Years Old – Unrestricted Free Agent
Grant comes in at the #2 slot only because he’s a few years older than the player in the #1 slot, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t make as big of an impact. As one of the premier wings on the Free Agent market, he’ll be expensive, but provides a scoring punch that few other Free Agents can match. He averaged 20.5 Points last season on 47.5% from the field and a career-high 40.1% from beyond the arc.
One of his greatest assets is his ability to knock down the Wide-Open 3, which he converted at a 48.4% clip, especially in the aforementioned Kings offense. Sacramento constantly had the disadvantage in the ‘length’ battle last season, but Grant’s 7’3” wingspan paired with Keegan’s 6’11” would be a great wing duo.
1. Cam Johnson – 27 Years Old – Restricted Free Agent
Cam Johnson enjoyed a breakout year splitting time with the Suns and the Nets last season, averaging career highs with 15.5 Points, 4.4 Rebounds, 1.9 Assists, 1.2 Steals, and 47.0% shooting from the field. He also continued his torrid shooting from beyond the arc at a 40.4% clip and a nice 84.2% from the free throw line. That type of shooting paired with his above-average defense would be a perfect addition to the Kings starting lineup.
Sacramento had the best offense in the NBA last year, but their 36.9% from beyond the arc ranked 9th in the league. They led the league in 2P% at 58.6%, but imagine if their 3P% jumped just up to 38%. Somehow this offense can get better, and Johnson’s shooting may just take them to the next level.
As mentioned before, the Kings love deflections, and Cam had a very nice 2.5 per game. The Suns were a much better defensive team with him on the court, as their Defensive Rating improved by 8.2 points when he played compared to when he sat. I don’t know if Cam would be a game-changer on defense, but I think he could be a very capable team defender.
Johnson won’t come cheap and is a Restricted Free Agent, but the offseason is where dreams are meant to be dreamt. The Kings need all the wing help they can get, and Cam definitely fits the mold of what they are looking for to improve on both sides of the ball.