The eight Kings headed to Las Vegas who will be on next season’s roster shouldn’t be judged on if they can win a summer league championship. What’s more telling of their competitive futures are the strides they make, beginning with Friday’s game against Phoenix.
Here’s what to watch for each of those players in summer league to gauge their progress.
The highly touted rookie point guard is viewed as a future star, but the biggest question about Fox before the draft was whether his jump shot was NBA ready. He shot just 24.6 percent from 3-point range in college; it would be a good sign if he shoots better than that from the deeper NBA 3-point line.
Giles’ health will be continually scrutinized, but the Kings have expressed no concerns over his past knee injuries. Sacramento needs to see more signs the rookie forward from Duke has returned to the form that made him one of the top high school prospects in the country.
The second-year shooting guard from Oklahoma averaged 15.1 points in 25 games with the Kings last season. It would be a bonus if he can show improved ball-handling, because opponents will try to take away his jump shot and make him create off the dribble.
The rookie from North Carolina is the only small forward on the roster, though the Kings are likely to add a veteran before the start of the season. He’ll have to show how he operates in a more physical NBA game, where opponents are certain to try to rough him up.
Labissiere showed flashes of offense, but his biggest issue as a rookie was he was too small to handle some of the monsters in the paint. The forward-center must show he’s stronger and can deal with the physical play.
Frank Mason III
The Kings believe Mason, the team’s only rookie who played four college seasons, is ready to contribute in the regular season. The point guard will need to be a leader and help direct his younger teammates while he’s finding his own way.
The big man from Greece arrived at summer league last year injured and out of shape. He made strides physically over the course of the season. Now it’s time to start showing what he can do with his improved conditioning and skill.
One of the Kings’ three draft picks last year, the shooting guard played in only 22 games, none after the All-Star break, due to a hamstring injury. He’s healthy now, so summer league will be a chance for him to show he can play small forward, where he might find some minutes next season.
NBA Summer League
The Kings will play at least five games in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. After three preliminary round games, the 24 teams will be seeded in a tournament, with the championship July 17.
Game 1: Friday, July 7, vs. Phoenix, 7:30 p.m., Thomas & Mack Center, ESPN2
Game 2: Sunday, July 9, vs. Memphis, 7 p.m., Cox Pavilion, NBA
Game 3: Monday, July 10, vs. L.A. Lakers, 7:30 p.m., Thomas & Mack Center, NSCA