Kings’ box score in win over Spurs shows the future

Willie Cauley-Stein and the Kings strutted their stuff in an impressive win over the Spurs on Monday.

The Sacramento Kings have been the surprise of the league so far this season. Through 14 games, they hold an 8-6 record thanks to a win over the San Antonio Spurs Monday night.

Looking at the box score, it is evident that the Kings spread the ball around with six players in double figures. Looking closer, however, Kings fans may have seen the future of the team for years to come.

De’Aron Fox is a budding star. The second-year point guard out of Kentucky put up 19 points to go along with seven assists in the win. In the modern NBA, having a point guard is everything. An above-average point guard is crucial to a team’s success and Fox is the life force of the Kings. He is the cornerstone of the Kings’ future and he is living up to the expectations that come with being the No. 5 overall pick in 2017.

At the shooting guard position, the Kings have a good problem. They have two players who can play the position at a high level. Overall, Bogdan Bogdanovic is the better player. After missing the first 10 games of the season recovering from an off-season surgery, Bogdanovic is starting to regain his form that helped him land on the All-NBA rookie team in 2017. Against the Spurs he put up 22 points in only 24 minutes. He is currently on a minute restriction, but expect him to work his way back into the starting lineup once he is cleared to go 100 percent.

Starting at the shooting guard position for the Kings to start off the season has been Buddy Hield. Hield is a known shooter, and a streaky shooter at that. Against the Spurs he was only able to drop in 14 points which is below his season average of 18.7. Yes, the season is young, but the Kings have a potential future sixth man of the year candidate in Hield. He could be the scorer of the second unit and drop in around 20 points a game off the bench.

This season’s No. 2 overall draft pick, Marvin Bagley III, has been coming off the bench for the Kings. While some have been critical of that decision,  Bagley has made the most of his minutes. Against the Spurs he had an off night, only putting up seven points but he was able to grab six rebounds. Bagley will eventually become a starter, with his athleticism giving him the ability to play any of the three front court positions. An ideal lineup would see Bagley play the small forward position as a double-double machine.

After being sent down to the G-League, Harry Giles had himself a game at the NBA level. He was able to put up 12 points and snag 6 rebounds in just over 15 minutes. Giles is a big X-factor for the Kings. If he can play at a high level, the Kings could potentially have a starting five that is average to above average at every position. Giles will still take a little while to develop, with his big issue coming with foul trouble.

He ended the game against the Spurs with 5 fouls, most of them coming from being overly-aggressive on switches and swiping for the ball after he had been beaten off the block. Patience is key with Giles, but if there is one thing Kings fans have shown over the past decade, they are willing to be patient.

Finally, Willie Cauley-Stein has seemed to find his game in his fourth season. Against the Spurs he posted a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Cauley-Stein has always been an above-average center in terms of athleticism, but consistency has been Cauley-Stein’s achilles heel. Through 14 games he is averaging 16.5 points a game to go along with 8.6 rebounds a game. This is also a contract year for Cauley-Stein, so an extra motivating factor has definitely contributed to his production. With the Kings having around $60 million in cap space this upcoming off season, Cauley-Stein is looking for a pay day. If he shows consistency, then he is likely to get it as the Kings look towards the long-term future of their team.

A starting five of Fox, Bogdanovic, Bagley, Giles and Cauley-Stein with Hield serving as a sixth man looks like a solid team if they all continue to develop on their current trajectory. With all of those players except for Bogdanovic playing on rookie deals, the Kings will have to be smart with their money in order to keep everyone happy and in Sacramento for the long-term. For the first time in a long time, the Kings have a future in place and a team to talk about.