Kings swing for DeRozan: Will he thrive as scorer in Sacramento?

Kings swing for DeRozan

Kings swing for DeRozan: Will he thrive as scorer in Sacramento?:

Kings swing for DeRozan
How will the acquisition of DeMar DeRozan change the Sacramento Kings? Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Saturday night that the Sacramento Kings are acquiring free agent DeMar DeRozan in a three-year, $74 million sign-and-trade deal involving the Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs. As part of the deal, Harrison Barnes and an unprotected 2031 pick swap will go to the Spurs, while Chris Duarte, two second-round picks and cash will go to the Bulls.

The Kings have been looking to add another star player to a core that includes De’Aaron FoxDomantas SabonisKeegan Murray and Malik Monk after missing the playoffs last season. This trade carries significant fantasy basketball and betting implications. But will it make the Kings a true contender in the Western Conference? Let’s take a closer look. — Eric Moody

Fantasy value: Can DeRozan thrive as a scorer in Sacramento?

The six-time All-Star, who turns 35 next month, is coming off an impressive three-year run with the Bulls, during which DeRozan averaged 25.5 PPG. A big part of that scoring came from the midrange area. DeRozan has been the most prolific scorer on midrange attempts during that span, and the margin between him and the second-highest volume scorer, Kevin Durant, is wide. Last season, he averaged 24.0 PPG, 4.3 RPG, and 5.3 APG. DeRozan also finished second in Clutch Player of the Year voting, behind Stephen Curry. Also, he led the league in total minutes played last season at age 34, making him the oldest player to achieve this feat. DeRozan has not missed more than 11 games in a season since 2012.

Earlier in his career, DeRozan spent most of his time at shooting guard before transitioning to small forward over the past five years. He will remain a top fantasy option with the Kings, particularly in points leagues versus category formats. However, he won’t help the Kings address their need for size, length, and defense, which is crucial since Sacramento has ranked in the bottom half of the league in points allowed per 100 possessions over that time frame. — Moody

Betting implications: Are the Kings legitimate contenders in 2024-25?

In 2023, the Kings made the playoffs for the first time since the 2005-2006 season. However, last season, Sacramento landed in the play-in tournament and lost to the New Orleans Pelicans in the matchup for the No. 8 seed. Although the Kings were desperate for someone other than Fox to run the offense and create shots in a high-level playoff setting, I can’t shake the feeling that DeRozan’s addition is more about satisfying an ownership group looking to recapture the magic from the 2022-2023 season. Let me explain.

Sacramento has ranked in the top half of the league in points scored per 100 possessions over the last two seasons. The Kings’ mantra is to play at a fast pace and outscore opponents while playing mediocre defense. While DeRozan does give the Kings a legitimate third option behind Fox and Sabonis, the reality is that defense is the greater concern here.

The problem is DeRozan isn’t great on defense, and he can’t make much of an impact on offense when he doesn’t have the ball. The Kings already have a lot of ball-handling with Fox and Monk, both of whom command high usage rates. Additionally, the Kings run a lot of their offense through Domantas Sabonis. Their system emphasizes movement, both off the ball and with their players, but DeRozan is a bit of a ball-stopper. While he is a solid playmaker when he has the ball, Fox and Monk are also not known for their exceptional defense.

Furthermore, the Kings don’t have a high-end rim protector, and let’s be real, Sabonis is an offense-first big. The loss of Barnes, especially on the defensive end, will be felt by the Kings. Although Keon Ellis emerged as an excellent defender late last season, with DeRozan in town, will Ellis even be provided enough minutes to make an impact?

Even though it’s a cliché, the phrase “defense wins championships” holds true in the NBA. While adding a talented player like DeRozan might seem like a great move on the surface, the Kings’ defensive woes will be tough to overcome in a stacked Western Conference. Until Sacramento addresses these issues, it’s hard to take them seriously as a contender for the conference title (+3300 at ESPN BET) or the NBA championship (+7500). However, DeRozan does raise the Kings’ regular season floor in terms of win total, given that Sacramento now have two top clutch performers in DeRozan (+20000 to win regular season MVP) and Fox. This also makes betting on the Kings to win the Pacific Division (+370) an intriguing wager. — Moody

Pacific Division Odds:

Author: naruv

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *