How Many True Centers Will the Kings Carry?

SACRAMENTO, CA - FEBRUARY 24: Domantas Sabonis #10 and Alex Len #25 of the Sacramento Kings stand for the national anthem of the game against the Denver Nuggets on February 24, 2022 at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

It’s been apparent that the Kings are making a concerted effort to avoid being forced to search for answers at the backup 5 role as they did far too many times for their liking a season ago, but now it’s transcended a mere effort. They’re doing everything possible.  

Last week, Sacramento added 35 year-old and three-time champion JaVale McGee to the mix among Alex Len, Nerlens Noel, Neemias Queta, and Skal Labissiere. 

Len’s got a guaranteed standard contract, so unless something goes horribly wrong, he’ll make the roster and be at Mike Brown’s disposal behind Domantas Sabonis and alongside Trey Lyles, who is the highly valuable small ball center option. 

Noel, Queta, and Labissiere are going to be competing, and now McGee joins them. 

But unlike the Skal signing that did begin driving home the point that the Kings are trying to prevent last season’s issues at the position, McGee’s signing offers a legitimate threat to Noel. 

While intriguing in some ways, neither Labissiere nor Queta can present the same ability to compete unless they’ve made superhero adjustments to their game, which is not likely. 

With this McGee signing, there’s now a more reasonable argument that the Kings could carry four true centers. Conventionally speaking, one would assume it’d be three—Sabonis, Len, and probably Noel—but McGee, unlike the rawer Queta and still unproven Labissiere, does make it possible that they carry four true centers. 

Without much of a focus on adding a third point guard, this amplifies the possibility. 

Still, it wouldn’t be surprising if it were still going to be three. In that case, it just raises the stakes for what will be a battle between Noel and McGee, which is evidently a far more compelling competition than anything including the other two. 

To be fair to Queta, he has more of a chance than Labissiere, who’ll have to bring a shooting element that most would refuse to bet on emerging. But even so, Queta does not command the same trust as the two veteran players. 

In terms of the team’s depth—which has been excavated nicely in a somewhat subtle way this offseason—a Noel-McGee battle further enhances it. Two proven guys competing will evoke the best performance and motivation from both of them, and the final roster will be better because of it. 

Furthermore, having true centers—whether it’s three or four—that Mike Brown can trust will be a necessity should Sasha Vezenkov not supply an instant impact early on, or at all, this season. Having Vezenkov in the rotation allows for Lyles to play that small 5 and those rewards speak for themself, but because the defense remains a question at this juncture, having a deep lot of centers will be vital as Lyles would be slotted more exclusively at the 4 position. 

So not only in reference to the “searching” coach Brown had to do much of last season regarding the backup 5, the Kings are ensuring they have all the weapons they can garner in order to have all possible solutions at their disposal. 

All sorts of things can happen during an NBA season, and the Kings are certainly taking the proper precautions to be ready for anything.

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Kings Talk

Kings Talk – A Cap City Crown Podcast on the Sacramento Kings

Kings Talk: Episode 67

On this episode of Kings Talk presented by Cap City Crown, Tony and John discuss who has the best shot at winning the third backup center role, Mike Brown’s first real interview of the offseason, […]

The post Kings Talk: Episode 67 appeared first on Cap City Crown.

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21 days ago

I could see them having 4, especially if Sasha doesn’t pan out for some reason, or they just want Javale as that experienced vet in a Delly type of role. Not sure he would be happy with that, as I know he was unhappy with his role and minutes in Dallas last year. Unfortunately approaching 36, I think his last good season may have been 21-22 for the Suns. If he can’t crack the Mavericks big man rotation, which is nothing to write home about…that’s probably not the best sign.