Tyrese Haliburton was the featured guest on this week’s episode of “The Old Man and the Three” with JJ Redick and Tommy Alter and the Kings guard spoke highly of Sacramento’s newest acquisition Davion Mitchell, the No. 9 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.
Though the two haven’t shared the court beyond open workouts, Haliburton was able to watch Mitchell lead the Kings to a Summer League victory in Las Vegas last month and he’s excited about the potential of the team’s back court:
“I’m really interested and really excited about it. I think, at first, the instant reaction by a lot of people was, ‘Why would the Kings take another guard? They already have two guards along with Buddy [Hield] and Terence Davis?’ I see a fit because they are bringing in another guy who is very defensive-minded. I think he was the National Defensive Player of the Year last year in college basketball.”
Last year before the two shared a plethora of injury bouts, resulting in neither player getting to finish the season. With the 30th-ranked defense in the league, you can see that players and brass understand the importance of making a stamp on D this season.
Despite initial draft doubts on Mitchell amongst Kings fans, a three-guard rotation is a notion that people have come around to and Haliburton shared his thoughts on the vision that might be in store:
“I think if you keep bringing in more guys that are about the right things — they want to win, are proven winners and talented guys — it is going to help. I’m really excited about it. I think by guarding [Fox and Mitchell] and playing alongside them in my limited time with Davion in runs, I would say they both have a really quick twitch and are really fast to get up and down. I like to run as well so I definitely see a fit with those two.”
Training camp is just three weeks away and the conversation in every NBA city shifts from possible roster adjustments, to the 15 to 17 guys who are under contract and ready to get after it.
In Sacramento, that likely means moving on from dreams of Ben Simmons stepping on the court in a Kings uniform and the reality of the up hill battle ahead.
Barring a late barrage of trades, the Kings will walk into the 2021-22 season with an unbalanced roster and a few holes. If we were grading the entirety of the offseason, general manager Monte McNair would probably receive an incomplete, although it’s not for lack of trying.
You can see the plan that he had in place and even understand some of his moves, if you know the lens in which he was working with. The plan was and still is moving forward to be ready when that one major piece becomes available. McNair has assets and the potential to strike at any time, he just needs the right dance partner.
How do the Kings move forward from here? How do they reconcile with the players that are clearly on the trade block and move forward? Is there a path to snapping the sacramento king franchise’s 15-year playoff drought, or is the this team once again destined for disappointment?
If the Kings don’t make another move between now and the start of the season on Oct. 20, head coach Luke Walton is going to have to get creative. His roster is much deeper than the group that represented the Kings to start the 2020-21 season, but that really isn’t saying much. The team that started last season for the Kings was as flawed as any in the last 15 years of futility.