Since Vivek Ranadive became the majority owner of the Sacramento Kings there has been one task that the new regime has failed to achieve, finding the ideal starting shooting guard.
The Kings do not need a James Harden or Klay Thompson for the team to fulfill this task, although I wouldn’t say no to either of them. The ideal two for the purple and white is simply a player that can contribute positively on both ends of the floor. But it has been easier said than done for the front office.
In 2013, the Kings hoped their two-guard needs were fulfilled when they drafted Ben McLemore out of the University of Kansas. Coming out of college, McLemore was a star prospect due to his potential to be a three-point marksman and an elite defender at the professional level.
So far, McLemore has fell victim to the notion that potential doesn’t necessarily show results immediately. In his three-year career in the pros, McLemore has displayed wild inconsistency as a scorer and has been a lackadaisical defender at best.
The Kings then drafted Nik Stauskas and signed Marco Belinelli going forward. Both had reputations for being efficient shooters from beyond the arc, but for some reason, they couldn’t even hit water if they fell off a boat.
The lack of production at the two-guard spot has stymied the Kings since the Ranadive era’s existence, but that rut may come to an end due to Arron Afflalo who signed a 2-year contract with the Kings this previous summer.
Mar 19, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; New York Knicks guard Arron Afflalo (4) shoots over Washington Wizards center Nene Hilario (42) during the first half at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Afflalo has shown throughout his 9-year career that he can be a reliable starting two-guard for the Sacramento Kings. Offensively, the former UCLA Bruin has averaged 11.6 points per game while shooting 45.2% from the floor, 38.5% from the perimeter, and 82% from the charity stripe. All great numbers
Afflalo has also displayed the capability to defend at a solid level as well. Although the 30-year old did dip a little bit defensively last season with the New York Knicks, he is still a dramatic upgrade to the perimeter defense for a Kings team that was ranked dead last in points allowed per game in their previous year.
So far in the preseason, Afflalo has made a good first impression with the Kings. In the three games he has played in, Afflalo is averaging 8.6 points while shooting 61.1% from the court and 57.1% from the perimeter.
To see a sample size of Afflalo with the Kings, check out the video posted below by Cowbell Kingdom.
Bottom line, Afflalo was a good pickup for the Kings and should be the ideal shooting guard for the team this season. If for some peculiar reason he doesn’t pan out while wearing purple, I will concede to the fact that there has been a curse swirling around the shooting guards that play for the Sacramento Kings.