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Now that the Sacramento Kings own the worst record in the Western Conference (13-30) through 43 games, the franchise is finally ready for the youth movement to take over.
Kings coach Dave Joerger told reporters Monday after the team’s loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder the plan is for veterans George Hill, Garrett Temple, Kosta Koufos, Vince Carter and Zach Randolph to rotate in and out of the lineup over the final 40 games, giving the young guys on the team more playing time.
“Going forward, what I’m going to do is, we’re going to play a rotation where two of our five veterans are going to be out every night,” Joerger said. “It’s an opportunity for some other guys to get some minutes as we go throughout the course of the season. I’ve got it laid out. I’ve got about five or six games laid out and every week I’ll go out again because you want to communicate with those guys when they’re not going to play. Other guys, they’ve got to be ready. If you’re in the first three years of your contract, you can expect to play a little, or a lot, or none, but you should be ready to play.”
When Hill signed a three-year, $57 million free agent deal with the Kings in the offseason, the point guard was under the impression the team was going to be competitive and that he was brought in to help stabilize the backcourt and be a mentor to rookie De’Aaron Fox.
The Salt Lake Tribune, however, reported in December the Kings’ veterans were rounded up early in the year and told the philosophy has shifted — that Sacramento’s front office isn’t interested in winning and is more concerned with acquiring a top-five draft pick instead.
Expect players such as Fox, Willie Cauley-Stein, Buddy Hield, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Frank Mason III to be the main contributors for the Kings the rest of the year. The organization wants to develop its young assets so there is not a repeat of this season.