Sacramento Kings Offseason Outlook: Which Players Should Be Re-Signed?

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Toney Douglas has made his presence known, and has been a very valuable asset to the Kings since arriving in the February trade involving Thomas Robinson and Francisco Garcia for Patrick Patterson, Toney Douglas, and Cole Aldrich. While all the players who came to the Kings have both shown individual improvement and helped the team improve; they have also made cases to remain with the team. Both Douglas and Aldrich will be restricted free agents this year, while Patterson will be a restricted free agent in 2014.

Both Douglas and Aldrich have shown marked improvement on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor. Douglas has become a very reliable defender and has taken valuable minutes away from Jimmer Fredette and Isaiah Thomas in late game situations when the Kings need Douglas’s defense. Aldrich has been able to help the Kings with his size and his ability to make opposing players take harder shots when they try to drive to the basket and run into his 6-11 frame.

The Kings should think very hard about the type of defensive mentality Toney Doulas brings to the team, as well as his obvious ability to score when given the opportunity. Douglas almost instantly changes the mentality of his teammates when he’s on the floor. Douglas lives for the challenge and opportunity of defending the opposing teams best player. Douglas brings the defensive mentality to the Kings that has been missing since Doug Christie. Douglas is an essential piece to the Kings puzzle.

Cole Alrich has not seen many minutes early in his career, but since he has joined the Kings he has seen an increase in his playing time and has made the best of it. Aldrich would be a nice addition to the team, but only at the right price. His size and ability to play defense and rebound would help the Kings in several ways.

Sacramento has made several decisions to add back court players in recent years, and has potentially crowded its own back court while also creating a very tough situation for its young players to grow. The Kings management has been anything but stellar for the duration of its current roster. Both Jason Thompson and Tyreke Evans are the longest tenured Kings and have never seen a glimpse of consistency from management in their NBA career. The Kings have a primarily young roster and have several players who have only played for the Kings. While some of the players lack of improvement can be attributed to poor management, it does not change the Kings players current status.

March 24, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings point guard Isaiah Thomas (22) controls the ball against the Golden State Warriors during the first quarter at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE

The Kings have an overloaded backcourt, and have several players coming off the bench who could be starting. The Kings haven’t managed to find their way with Isaiah Thomas running the point and Marcus Thornton coming off the bench. Tyreke Evans has seen his shooting improve, while trying to establish a consistent role on the team since the Kings drafted Isaiah Thomas.

Thomas has had his fair share of troubles, as he has had to compete for his starting role in both of his seasons. However, Thomas has failed to grow into the point guard the Kings need him to be. Thomas has shown he has the ability to be a starting point guard in this league but lacks the natural ability and maturity to be a consistent fixture in this league. Thomas is a shoot first point guard who has had 27 games this season where he has failed to record more than 2 assists, 16 of which he failed to record over a single assist.

Thomas has shown he is clearly a capable scorer who can create his own opportunities to score, and has the ability to score in bunches. Thomas can be a very talented player with a prominent role, but not as a starting point guard. Thomas’ numbers don’t lie. From an averages per game stand point, he averages slightly more points off the bench and almost the same amount of assists. Thomas averages .51 points and 1.44 assists per minute as a starter, while averaging .52 points and 1.37 assists per minute coming off the bench. Thomas could resemble players like J.R. Smith who are bench players capable of taking over games late.

The Kings will need to re-evaluate Thomas’s value to the team, and should entertain possible trades. The Kings will face many problems moving Thomas however because of his low salary. Thomas is set to make approximately $300,000 this year and $830,000, in the last year of his contract. If Thomas is a potential trade candidate, then expect other Kings players to also be in the mix to even out salaries and allow for potential trades.