Sacramento Kings

Here is the big question facing each Kings player this season

Here’s a look at the Kings’ 2018-19 roster, with one “big question” for each player:

Marvin Bagley III

Position: F

Jersey No.: 35

Height/weight: 6-11, 234

Experience: Rookie

Before NBA: Duke

Key 2017-18 stat: Bagley tied for third in the NCAA in double-doubles last year with 22 in 33 games. He averaged 21.0 points and 11.1 rebounds with the Blue Devils.

The big question: On a roster loaded with big men, what will the rookie’s role be? Coach Dave Joerger has praised Bagley’s energy and could give the No. 2 overall pick time at all three frontcourt positions.

Nemanja Bjelica

Position: F

Jersey No.: 88

Height/weight: 6-10, 234

Experience: 3 years

Before NBA: Fenerbahçe (Turkey)

Key 2017-18 stat: Bjelica made 41.5 percent of his 3-pointers last season, including a 6-of-9 game against the Boston Celtics when he scored 30 points. The only current King who had a better percentage was Buddy Hield (43.1).

The big question: Bjelica was the Kings’ highest-profile signing this offseason. Will his outside shooting keep defenses honest while helping to open the lanes for the point guards?

Bogdan Bogdanovic

Position: SG

Jersey No.: 8

Height/weight: 6-6, 205

Experience: 1 year

Before NBA: Fenerbahçe (Turkey)

Key 2017-18 stat: The guard had eight 20-point games and displayed his skills in winning the MVP of the Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star Weekend.

The big question: How’s his health? Bogdanovic, expected to be the starting shooting guard, has had two procedures done on his left knee since April. He was given a four- to six-week recovery timeline after the Sept. 24 procedure, but he’s already been seen shooting around at the training facility.

Willie Cauley-Stein

Position: C

Jersey No.: 00

Height/weight: 7-0, 240

Experience: 3 years

Before NBA: Kentucky

Key 2017-18 stat: Cauley-Stein sets career highs in scoring (12.8) and rebounding (7.0) while recording 11 20-point games and 12 double-doubles.

The big question: Can he be consistent on both ends of the floor? In a contract year for the center, he’ll need to provide steady play if wants to get paid and stay in Sacramento after this season.

Yogi Ferrell

Position: PG-SG

Jersey No.: 3

Height/weight: 6-0, 180

Experience: 2 years

Before NBA: Indiana

Key 2017-18 stat: He was one of 26 NBA players last season to appear in all 82 regular-season games.

The big question: Playmaker or scorer? He has point guard size, but can score in bunches when he gets hot, including a 32-point game as a rookie with the Dallas Mavericks. He hit six 3-pointers and scored 26 points in the Kings’ preseason victory over the Phoenix Suns on Oct. 1.

De’Aaron Fox

Position: PG

Jersey No.: 5

Height/weight: 6-3, 175

Experience: 1 year

Before NBA: Kentucky

Key 2017-18 stat: Fox showed he can be clutch with two game-winners and forcing overtime twice with late-game shots.

The big question: Can he cement his role as the team leader? Coach Dave Joerger has called Fox the “franchise guy” and says the team’s plan to push the pace and space the floor best suits his skill set.

Wenyen Gabriel

Position: F

Jersey No.: 32

Height/weight: 6-9, 205

Experience: Rookie

Before NBA: Kentucky

Key 2017-18 stat: Gabriel averaged 6.8 points and 5.4 rebounds in 37 games for the Wildcats. His only double-double (16 points, 12 rebounds) came in an NCAA Tournament win over Buffalo.

The big question: With all the size on the Kings, how often will Gabriel wear the Sacramento uniform? He’s the only player the Kings have on a two-way contract, meaning he’ll mostly play in the G League. He can spend up to 45 days with the parent club.

Harry Giles III

Position: F-C

Jersey No.: 20

Height/weight: 6-10, 240

Experience: Rookie

Before NBA: Duke

Key 2017-18 stat: Giles was drafted 20th overall in 2017, but was held out of action last season to recover from knee injuries.

The big question: The organization has openly discussed how impressed they are with Giles despite him not taking the floor for a full year. Will he be able to live up to the hype?

Buddy Hield

Position: SG

Jersey No.: 24

Height/weight: 6-4, 214

Experience: 2 years

Before NBA: Oklahoma

Key 2017-18 stat: He led the Kings in 3-pointers made (176) and percentage (43.1).

The big question: Can Hield flirt with a 20-point average? He led all qualified Kings in scoring at 13.5 ppg last season (Zach Randolph averaged a point more but only played 59 games) and will likely be counted on for buckets, even if he continues to come off the bench.

Justin Jackson

Position: F

Jersey No.: 25

Height/weight: 6-8, 210

Experience: 1 year

Before NBA: North Carolina

Key 2017-18 stat: In a season that included a short G League stint, Jackson started the final 35 games for the Kings and 41 overall.

The big question: Can he own the three spot? At 6-foot-8, Jackson is the only player on the Kings’ roster built like a textbook small forward. Bogdanovic (6-6) could get some run there when he returns, as well as some of the bigs if Joerger brings back his experimental “four sevens” lineup — as in, 7-footers.

Kosta Koufos

Position: C

Jersey No.: 41

Height/weight: 7-0, 245

Experience: 10 years

Before NBA: Ohio State

Key 2017-18 stat: He was fourth on the team in games played (71) and even though he had just 12 starts, he was third on the team in rebounds (6.6).

The big question: How much will he play? The Kings are focusing on improving the young players, and a hamstring injury has kept Koufos off the floor in the preseason. The added minutes for guys like Bagley, Cauley-Stein and Giles could push Koufos farther down the rotation.

Skal Labissiere

Position: F

Jersey No.: 7

Height/weight: 6-11, 235

Experience: 2 years

Before NBA: Kentucky

Key 2017-18 stat: Labissiere only started 28 games, but he reached double figures 24 times.

The big question: Will a stronger physique lead to stronger play? Labissiere said he added nearly 20 pounds in the offseason and says the strength will help with down-low scoring.

Frank Mason III

Position: PG

Jersey No.: 10

Height/weight: 5-11, 190

Experience: 1 year

Before NBA: Kansas

Key 2017-18 stat: Mason was third on the Kings in free-throw attempts (2.2 average) despite starting twice and missing 30 games.

The big question: Will a solid offseason continue into 2018-19? Mason led the Las Vegas summer league in assist average (8.0 apg) and shined in a Team USA in a World Cup qualifying victory.

Ben McLemore

Position: SG

Jersey No.: 23

Height/weight: 6-5, 195

Experience: 5 years

Before NBA: Kansas

Key 2017-18 stat: After four seasons with Sacramento, he played his only campaign with the Memphis Grizzlies and had career lows in games played (65) and scoring (7.5 ppg).

The big question: Will the return to a familiar scene prove valuable? He’s not expected to be a big part of the rotation, but sometimes a change of scenery (and a second chance) can work wonders.

Zach Randolph

Position: F

Jersey No.: 50

Height/weight: 6-9, 250

Experience: 17 years

Before NBA: Michigan State

Key 2017-18 stat: The veteran had the highest scoring average on the team (14.5 ppg) but only played 59 games.

The big question: In what role will Randolph be most valuable to the Kings? The team’s highest-paid player and elder statesman did not play in the preseason and missed 11 of last season’s final 12 as the Kings went to a youth movement. Randolph could again spend more time as a mentor than on the court.

Iman Shumpert

Position: SG

Jersey No.: 9

Height/weight: 6-5, 215

Experience: 7 years

Before NBA: Georgia Tech

Key 2017-18 stat: The veteran was acquired in a February deal from the Cleveland Cavaliers, but did not log a minute for the Kings.

The big question: Will players follow his lead? Shumpert, who’s displayed an upbeat demeanor in training camp and preseason, saw his first action in a Kings uniform Thursday in a preseason loss to Utah. If the team emulates his attitude, it could make things fun on the court. Oh, and a healthy Shumpert could provide help at shooting guard and small forward.

Noel Harris: 916-321-1602, @SacBeeNoel
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