The Kings have a shooting guard problem. More specifically, a starting shooting guard problem.
There hasn’t been an answer all season. And coach Dave Joerger is reluctant to disrupt the chemistry of the second unit by starting his most consistent shooting guard, Garrett Temple.
“The analytics say that Arron Afflalo wasn’t great at the starting shooting guard spot,” Joerger said. “The analytics say Ben McLemore has not been great at the shooting guard spot. At some point or another it’s not the people, it’s the group.”
The Kings signed Afflalo in the offseason to start at shooting guard. He’s averaging 8.0 points on 40.5 percent shooting in 18 starts this season.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
McLemore has started nine games at shooting guard. He was averaging 5.6 points on 34 percent shooting entering Saturday’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies at Golden 1 Center.
Temple has shot just 35.3 percent in three starts but averaged 14.0 points and 5.0 assists.
Joerger still prefers to bring Temple off the bench because the second unit plays well together.
“I think what we can do with our group coming off the bench, it’s a different look, it’s a different group, it’s an energizing group,” Joerger said. “And it’s better to, in my mind, to leave those guys there and match some of the starters with them as the game goes on.”
Joerger has few other options at starting shooting guard.
With Afflalo missing his third consecutive game with a strained right elbow, McLemore remained the starting shooting guard.
The only other guard Joerger could try without disrupting the continuity of his second unit might be rookie Malachi Richardson.
Losing Lawson – Guard Ty Lawson left the game in the second quarter after an inadvertent head-to-head contact with Memphis guard Tony Allen.
X-Rays were inconclusive. Lawson was scheduled for a CAT scan to rule out a facial fracture.
Without Lawson, Temple backed up Darren Collison at point guard.
Still out – Rudy Gay (strained right hip flexor) was out again. It was his second consecutive game and eighth in the last nine that Gay has missed with the injury.
Gay is listed as day-to-day. He’s second on the Kings at 18.5 points per game.