Throughout the season, Jason Jones answers readers’ questions about the team in a weekly Twitter mailbag. Tweet your questions with the hashtag #JonesHoldsCourt.
Q: With Bogdan Bogdanovic’s versatility, it seems he can play point guard, shooting guard and small forward with ease, so why haven’t we seen a starting unit that includes him, Buddy Hield and De’Aaron Fox? Is Buddy best as a bench scorer to help balance the rotation? Also, where do Iman Shumpert and Bruno Caboclo fit in? Will they play?
David F-W, @LowBrassDude93
A: Coach Dave Joerger has mentioned a few times one of the problems with the Kings is a lack of size at small forward, which is a problem with that lineup. If the Kings are playing a team with a big small forward, you’re asking Bogdanovic or Hield would be playing at a distinct size advantage. For example, I doubt Joerger would want to ask Hield or Bogdanovic to defend the Timberwolves’ Andrew Wiggins on Monday.
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Hield has been a much more efficient shooter off the bench than as a starter. He’s shooting 46 percent in 44 games as a reserve entering Saturday and 37.9 percent in 12 games as a starter. Some scouts and coaches believe Hield might be best as an off-the-bench scorer in the future, but he is just in his second season. I like that role for Hield, but he has to get consistent minutes to flourish.
I’d be surprised to see Shumpert and Caboclo play much, if at all, this season. Shumpert is still recovering from injuries, so there’s no rush to get him on the court and take minutes from Hield, Bogdanovic or Justin Jackson.
The Kings are committed to evaluating Jackson and Skal Labissiere, so there won’t be much opportunity for Caboclo, barring injury.
Q: Is there any way to (tell) if general manager Vlade Vlade and coach Dave Joerger are truly on the same page?
Brian Hudson, @radiohudson
A: Aside from both being under contract through 2020, the way Joerger has coached the Kings is a sign he and Divac are aligned.
The front office has asked Joerger to do something that’s not easy. Most coaches would like to play an eight or nine-man rotation. Joerger had been asked to play 10 or 11 players to try to evaluate all of the youngsters.
That created some tension, especially for veterans who wanted to play more. There were games where veterans got off to a good start (such as George Hill at Washington) but then didn’t play in the second quarter because of the commitment to the long-term plan.
Divac does not get into the details of Joerger’s job, like deciding the rotation. But they do work in concert, which was the case regarding when to send players to the G League.
Q: What does Kings management think of Willie Cauley-Stein? To me, he’s shown growth but he’s so up and down, and I’m not sure he’s the defensive anchor the Kings were hoping for either.
A: Cauley-Stein has shown growth, in part because the Kings have a much better grasp of his abilities. Divac had said he’d like to see Cauley-Stein become a consistent double-double machine, but those expectations seem to be tempered.
Cauley-Stein is not a physical, brawler type in the paint, and he’s looked better this season at power forward.
The Kings can go into the offseason knowing that if Arizona center Deandre Ayton is available in the draft they can comfortably draft a center, should they decide to go that route.
Cauley-Stein believes his “breakout” season will come next year. So there remains a lot to be seen from him, too.
Now for this week’s non-Kings question:
Q: What’s your favorite cold weather city to go for a game?
Robert Alvis, @robertalvis
A: That’s easy – Brooklyn.
You have to love a city where you can purchase Notorious B.I.G. gear at the game (which I did this season). The arena isn’t necessarily my favorite, but everything else about Brooklyn is worth it.
Honorable mentions to Chicago, Washington and Philadelphia.