Throughout the season, Jason Jones answers readers’ questions about the team in a weekly Twitter mailbag. Tweet your questions with the hashtag #JonesHoldsCourt.
Q: Are we in for another rebuilding season or are we finally gonna try to win? Off-season acquisition priorities? Going after Kawhi?
– Zac Greenbaum, @zacgreenbaum
A: The simple answer is yes, the 2018-19 season will be another rebuilding season.
This version of rebuilding has always taken about two, three or more years and is not about immediate success. It's why Dave Joerger often says he looks forward to seeing how good De'Aaron Fox will be in his third season, not three months from now. It's not that immediate growth is not important, but the reality is that teams as young as the Kings rarely, if ever, make huge leaps in the standings unless one of their young players becomes a star quickly.
Going after a player like Kawhi Leonard would require a trade and hoping he'd want to stay with the Kings beyond next season. The Kings don't have the assets (no fiirst-round draft pick in 2019) or the players to make a deal for a player like that, without giving up someone like Fox.
Even if the Kings did have the ability to make a deal, it would be too risky, given Leonard could leave after the season.
The Kings will be open to adding veterans, but ideally those veterans should be young players who can grow with the team's core (think about the team's pursuit of Otto Porter last summer).
When I spoke to general manager Vlade Divac at the All-Star break, he said the Kings should be better next season, winning 30-plus games and pushing toward playoff contention sooner than later. Essentially, the Kings should be where the Lakers are this season.
That would put the Kings in position to perhaps add an impact player in 2019 to add to their core, or ride the wave of improvement from the team into the future.
Q: Do you think the kings need to sign anyone in the offseason, or should they save all the cap space they can for extending current players down the road?
– Jordan Schauberger, @schaubeezy
A: If the Kings had an inkling to extend an offer sheet to Lakers forward Julius Randle or someone along those lines, that would make sense. He's young and would fill an important role on the team and add some toughness.
If the Kings are going to commit money to a player, it should be a player who can grow with the team or a star (which the Kings aren't going to be landing), like a LeBron James or Paul George.
Other than that, I don't think you'll see any signings like last summer with George Hill or Zach Randolph, where more than one year is committed to a veteran.
Q: What’s Buddy’s ceiling? He’s shown real growth in the 2nd half, willing rebounder, better defensive positioning, and ability to score in bunches.
– thrashby, @thrashby
A: Buddy Hield's growth could be the most important part of this season. He's understanding multiple ways to impact the game, most notably his willingness to be a better passer and his effort on defense.
We all know Hield can score. If he plays around 30 minutes per game, it's not unrealistic to expect Hield to average around 18 points.
Hield averaged 16.1 points in 28.4 minutes over 16 games in March.
His ability to evolve as a defender and playmaker should dictate how long he stays on the floor.
Now for this week's non-Kings questions, there are two WWE questions in honor of Wrestlemania weekend.
Q: On a scale of 10 to 10, how hyped are you for Daniel Bryan's comeback?
– Josh Egbert, @ExtraLrgPopcorn
A: Twelve. It will be a 15 if Bryan turns on Shane McMahon and forms a stable with Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.
Q: Do you think Bobby Roode would be more effective turning heel and becoming the smackdown version of the miz with the US Title?
– Blake Jackson, @jackson_blake
A: I love Roode as a heel. I think his character in the past was always better as a heel. Even without a title, that's the way I want to see Roode go.