Kings Camp Battle: Who Eats Minutes Behind Afflalo at SG? - NBC Bay Area

Kings Camp Battle: Who Eats Minutes Behind Afflalo at SG?

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    Kings camp battle: Who eats minutes behind Afflalo at SG?

    The Sacramento Kings have struggled to find a veteran shooting guard for a while. Marcus Thornton, Ben McLemore, Nik Stauskas and Marco Belinelli were given plenty of opportunity to lock it down over the last few seasons, but none have had the track record of success that newcomer Arron Afflalo brings to the table.

    Afflalo played in 71 games last season with the Knicks, starting 57 for New York. He instantly improves the position, but at nearly 31, coach Dave Joerger will likely use plenty of players at the position to keep Afflalo fresh.

    This position has been a black hole for Sacramento. After Afflalo, there is talent, but a lot of question marks.

    Ben McLemore
    2015-16 stats: 7.8 points, 1.2 assists, 2.2 rebounds, .8 steals, 21.2 minutes

    Sacramento has been waiting for the light bulb to go on for the former No. 7 overall selection, but time is running out. McLemore, 23, is still young enough to develop, but he'll need to show major improvement if he hopes to get a qualifying offer next season from the Kings.

    Like plenty of other Kings players, McLemore has struggled through chaos and coaching changes. Joerger is his fourth coach in four seasons in the league and the previous three never figured out how to turn McLemore's enormous potential into anything other than modest production.

    He has the tools to be a very solid two-way player, but the Kings need consistency from McLemore or he will find himself on the outside of a crowded backcourt.

    Malachi Richardson
    **2015-16 College stats: 13.4 points, 2.1 assists, 4.3 rebounds, 1.2 steals, 34.4 minutes

    Long and athletic, Richardson has the ability to play either the two or the three. But at 20-years-old and with only one year of college basketball under his belt, he might find donning a uniform a taller task than guarding an NBA player on the perimeter.

    Richardson has no conscience as a shooter, which isn't a bad thing. He also played a zone defense at Syracuse, which always hurts the transition to the NBA. The Kings will work on his shot selection and help develop his body during his rookie season, but barring a trade, he'll have a tough time beating out the group in front of him without an incredible camp.

    Buy a commuter car rookie, you're going to need it for those long drives to Reno.

    Garrett Temple
    2015-16 stats: 7.3 points, 1.3 assists, 2.6 rebounds, .9 steals, 24.4 minutes

    Temple will play a variety of positions for the Kings, but this spot might yield the most minutes. He has great size for the position and he plays defense, which is something that Joerger will appreciate.

    He's nothing more than a placeholder for a younger player at this position, but that player might not even be on the Kings roster yet. While McLemore has crazy athleticism and Richardson has all kinds of scoring abilities, Temple will earn crunch time minutes with his versatility and high basketball IQ.

    Temple was brought in for his ability to play, but also for his mature approach to younger players. He'll steal playing time from the young guys, while helping them develop behind the scenes.

    Lamar Patterson
    2015-16 stats: 2.4 points, 1.1 assists, 1.4 rebounds, .3 steals, 11.6 minutes

    The Kings scooped up Patterson after he was waived by Atlanta in July, assuming his one-year, partially guaranteed contract. The 25-year-old is a bit of an unknown coming into camp. He's only played 395 minutes in the league after being taken in the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft.

    He has good size and athleticism, but with Afflalo, McLemore, Richardson and Temple sitting in front of him, he will need a crazy camp, followed by a trade to make the roster.

    Prediction

    It's shocking that McLemore is still on the roster, but if he is on opening night, he very well could eat up the minutes backing up Afflalo. He's still young enough to mold and he might look nice in a speed backcourt off the bench with veteran Ty Lawson. He might not play more than 15-18 minutes a night, but he's started 190 games in his three-year career and he shot over 36 percent from behind the arc last season.

    Temple is going to play all over. Richardson is going to play a lot in Reno and Patterson is a long shot to make the roster. If Lawson returns to form, expect Collison to steal minutes at this position as well and don't count out Matt Barnes from entering this discussion if injuries hit.

    There's depth and versatility at the shooting guard for the first time in a while in Sacramento, which should help the win column.