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Kings Positional Breakdown: SF

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Filed under Analysis, Big Post, Hoops.

Kings Positional Breakdown: SF

With Training Camp around the corner, get an overview of Sacramento’s depth at small forward, which features a standout newcomer and two talented incumbents.

Following the offseason acquisition of defensive ace Luc Mbah a Moute, the Kings will enter 2013-14 with three players who’ve proven to be key contributors at small forward. In addition to strong defense, Sacramento’s depth and talent at the position is balanced with outside scoring, playmaking and versatility.

Kings Small Forwards – 2012-13 Statistics
Player

PPG

RPG

APG

SPG

Luc Mbah a Moute*

6.7

4.4

1.5

0.7

Travis Outlaw

5.3

1.6

0.6

0.3

John Salmons

8.8

2.7

3.0

0.7

*Played with Milwaukee Bucks

Mbah a Moute – acquired via trade from the Bucks on July 12 – has emerged into an elite wing defender, embracing the nightly challenge of guarding opposing teams’ top scorers.

“It’s just what I do best,” says No. 33. “It’s what I’m hoping to bring to this team – that defensive presence. (I’m) somebody who can go out there, give 110 percent every night (and) play defense at the highest (level).”

Contributing beyond box score statistics, the 6-foot-8 forward has drawn praise from some of the League’s top players and coaches for his high basketball IQ, scrupulous film study and positional versatility.

“(Luc has) shown over his many years in the NBA his ability to guard (point guards) through (power forwards) at times,” says Kings Head Coach Michael Malone. “I love his defensive versatility, I love the kind of kid he is and I think he’ll be a great addition for our locker room, our team and our community as a whole.”

The UCLA product has also continued to evolve into a bigger offensive threat, connecting on a career-high 35.1 percent from behind the arc during the 2012-13 regular season and averaging 8.3 points per game while matched up against LeBron James in the Playoffs.

Incumbent starter John Salmons – one of Sacramento’s most reliable performers and respected veteran leaders – scored in double-figures 28 times last year, twice notching a season-high 23 points.

A strong passer and playmaker, the University of Miami product ranked third on the team in assists (3.0), and led all Kings small forwards in nearly every statistical category last season, including points (672), rebounds (207) and steals (51).

Salmons – who drilled 99 triples at an efficient 37.1-percent clip in 2012-13 – averaged 15.8 points and 3.6 assists while connecting on 67.9 percent from downtown during a terrific five-game stretch from Feb. 24 to March 3.

Vital reserve Travis Outlaw has the physical tools – including length, quickness and athleticism – and diligent work ethic to make a difference on both ends of the court. While he’s played limited minutes, the high-flying forward has made highlight-reel plays at the rim while contesting shots and closing out on perimeter shooters on the defensive side of the floor.

A proven scorer throughout his career, No. 25 ranked sixth on the Kings in points per 36 minutes (16.2) in 2012-13, pouring in a season-high 17 points in the regular-season finale against the Clippers on April 17.

Entering the 2013-14 season, Sacramento has three skilled small forwards possessing size, versatility and defensive instincts to make a substantial impact.

Fan Take

Which Kings small forward would you like to see earn the starting role by Oct. 30?

  • Douwe van Veen

    There are some sentences that make me chuckle:

    ‘three players who’ve proven to be key contributors at small forward’

    Salmons was good on the Bulls, and decent here, but to call him key…I don’t know, Outlaw is nowhere near key.

    ‘A strong passer and playmaker, the University of Miami product ranked third on the team in assists (3.0)’

    Strong passer AND playmaker with 3.0(!) assists :’)

    I’d like to see Luc start. I still believe Johnny can be important for this team with his defense and his decent one-on-one skills.

    • Chis

      Salmons is a strong passer and playmaker he moves the ball and trys to find the open man. His 3.0 assists per game doesn’t mean he isn’t. stats don’t tell everything.

  • Alberto V

    Outlaw did well when he actually saw floor time

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