Throughout the season, Jason Jones answers readers’ questions about the team in a weekly Twitter mailbag. Tweet your questions with the hashtag #JonesHoldsCourt.
Q: Should Joerger play Jakarr over Skal based on defense? I think Jakarr is better on “D” but in fairness Jakarr has not played long enough to see if energy stays with more playing time?
– John Kelly, @johhnyauburn
A: Kings coach Dave Joerger would like to play JaKarr Sampson, but he’s a two-way player. That limits him to 45 days with the Kings while the rest of his time has to be spent with the Reno Bighorns.
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The Kings need a player with Sampson’s size (6-foot-9, 207 pounds) to help with their problems defending dominant wing players, but they don’t have an open roster spot that would allow them to convert Sampson to a regular NBA contract. The Kings took away that flexibility when they signed Vince Carter.
As for Sampson’s energy, that wouldn’t change. That’s the kind of player he’s always been, and the Kings need players who can bring that kind of energy.
The only way the Kings could get more time for Sampson this season would be to unload one of their 15 guaranteed deals.
Back to Skal Labissiere. He likely wouldn’t defend the players Sampson can defend. One reason Labissiere’s minutes began to decrease was because of concerns over his perimeter defense. And a lot of nights Labissiere lacks the strength to defend strong post players.
Q: What’s your take on Malachi Richardson? Think that he can produce in the NBA, long-term? If so, what does his ceiling look like?
– Joe Buck, @jbuck
A: I liked what I saw from Richardson when he played last season. He was a shooting guard with good size that wasn’t afraid to take his shot when it was available. He also had the benefit of being a young player on a team surrounded by veterans, so there wasn’t too much put on him.
Richardson can be a player in the league, but he needs opportunity, and so much has changed since his rookie season. An abundance of young guards, including Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bodganovic, have joined the roster.
Finding minutes at small forward hasn’t been easy either with Garrett Temple, Carter and Bogdanovic playing there, too. The Kings also drafted Justin Jackson.
Barring an injury or two, Richardson might not be able to test his ceiling unless he finds a new team. He’s had a lot of bad luck with injuries, and considering the investment made in Bogdanovic and that Hield came as part of the DeMarcus Cousins trade and is playing well, it will be hard for Richardson to get on the court.
Q: Do Kings fans need to share condolences with Mr. Hill? I feel many are disappointed without understanding situation
– Owen T. Merlock, @terra4m3r
A: Yes, but asking fans to have sympathy for a player? Good luck with that. George Hill has missed two games this season for personal reasons to deal with off-the-court issues. When Hill said his tweet following the loss at Milwaukee had to do in part with some bad news he’d received from back home, that’s 100 percent true. Just because Hill didn’t want his personal matters shared publicly does not mean he is not affected and that doesn’t also affect his play. Athletes, for some reason, aren’t expected to be distracted by personal issues when they are work.
Q: I think if @buddyhield learned to draw a foul once in a while when going to the basket, it would transform his game. Your thoughts?
– Dewayne Mashburn, @MabuNation
A: I agree, but that would require Hield to change how he plays, because 75.8 percent of Hield’s shots are either catch-and-shoot or pull-up jumpers.
Hield doesn’t dribble enough to create his shots, and that affects his ability to get to the line. He’s attempted 37.1 percent of his shots with no dribble and 30.1 percent on one or two dribbles.
If Hield, who shoots 88 percent from the free-throw line, could drive and create contact, he’d probably be a player who could average 20 points. His ballhandling and ability to create off the dribble were considered areas to work on as he entered the league and something he said he’s worked on.
Hield averages just one free throw a game and hasn’t even shot a free throw in his last four games. For a player who touches the ball as much he does, that’s amazing.
And for this week’s non-Kings question:
Q: What are your top 5 chicken n waffles places outside of Roscoe’s/in away cities?
– charles matthews fan, @jmoneylai4
A: Five? I have a solid four and I can go five deep by the end of the season.
1. Lolo’s in Phoenix: Great food, drinks and plenty of other food options (like shrimp and grits), not to mention you can order red Kool-Aid.
2. Chicago’s Home of Chicken and Waffles: They turn a waffle into a funnel cake-like dessert treat. Can’t beat that.
3: Kuzzo’s in Detroit: Ate there for the first time this season and it was outstanding.
4. Maxine’s in Indianapolis: The smells of the sweet potato waffle, butter and syrup combined – heavenly.