The word versatility comes to mind when describing the 2021-22 Sacramento Kings roster. One group that provides a lot of that versatility is the new ‘three guard combo’ consisting of De’Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, and Davion Mitchell.
Fox, Haliburton, and Mitchell all bring their own high-level, unique, and improving skills sets. Whether they are ALL on the floor together, in pairs, or individually, the three guard combo will give the Kings coaching staff many potential lineup combinations to work with. The Kings squad is dynamic all around, including a much-improved group of BIGS in SacTown! Richaun Holmes, Tristan Thompson, and the rest of the Kings big man crew will play a large role in the success of the Kings, and their three guard lineup, this season. That variety of options will be pivotal to success, as the Kings attempt to break their 15-year playoff drought.
Outlined ahead will be a few things I am excited to see from the Kings three guard combo AKA the three-headed monster, three guard night … Fox, Haliburton, and Mitchell.
But first … a POLL!
I have said it before, and I will say it again, this Kings squad is VERSATILE. Their roster may not be top-heavy with superstars, but they have a great mix of complementary, and uniquely skilled players.
I think early in the season, the Kings will put out many different lineup combinations. We Kings fans need to have PATIENCE. While the Kings are improving and finding their identity, they may not be able to always ‘set the tone’ on the court. That means they will have to often ‘match’ the lineup the opponent puts on the court.
Though, as they improve as a team and individually, and find their identity … with time and patience … the Kings will be able to dictate the style of basketball being played: big/small, fast/controlled, defensive/offensive, etc. This will force the Kings opponents to match the lineup they put on the floor. Patience is key!
The blooming duo dubbed ‘SacTown 5-0,’ consisting of Tyrese Haliburton and De’Aaron Fox, is going to be the core of what Sacramento builds their team around going forward. And they are becoming one of the most exciting tandems to watch in ALL of the NBA. Even if the Kings do not have any national TV broadcasts …. yet!
That guard-centric construction plan isn’t new to previous Sactown hoops architects. Historically, guard play has been a KEY building block for Kings basketball teams. A list that includes guards Oscar Robertson, Kenny Smith, Reggie Theus, Mitch Richmond, Jason Williams, Mike Bibby, Kevin Martin, Tyreke Evans … maybe even Rajon Rondo, and Isaiah Thomas.
Davion Mitchell was perhaps the STEAL of the 2021 NBA draft. Mitchell was selected by the Kings 9th overall, a selection that Kings fans will have a hard time getting DEFENSIVE about, especially if they LOCKDOWN a playoff spot this season and beyond … (yes, puns heavily intended).
Mitchell adds a NEEDED defensive intensity and mindset to the Sacramento Kings. During the past few seasons, especially 2020-21, the Kings have been one of the worst defensive teams in NBA history. The consistent, inconsistency on defense was one of the main reasons the Kings could not get it together for a playoff/play-in run. The Sacramento Kings ‘culture’ seems to be undergoing a positive change, and I think all Kings fans can get in a defensive stance to that! Hands up!
The addition of Mitchell and the continued maturation of Haliburton will take pressure off of De’Aaron Fox in many ways. As the Kings improve defensively as a team and individually, Fox will not have to expend as much energy defending the opponent’s best guard. This will allow Fox to focus more energy on the offensive end, while still playing solid defense.
Depth and versatility at the guard position will also help De’Aaron Fox stay healthy, this season and beyond. The fewer times that Fox has to ‘take over’ games, the better for the Kings! I love to see Fox dribble behind the back, leaving two bewildered defenders at the top of the key, as he soars through the air for a tough AND 1 layup, crashing to the floor with his Kings teammates rushing over to help him up… Those high-energy plays are fun and necessary for success. Though, the less that Fox has to put his body on the line, the better for the Kings. The NBA season is LONG, and Sacramento will greatly benefit from just staying healthy.
All of this talk of taking pressure off of Fox, and I have not even mentioned Terence Davis and Buddy Hield! The two guards will play a huge role in the success of the Kings, alongside Fox, Haliburton and Mitchell.
The Kings three guard lineup all have the ability to play multiple positions. Fox, Haliburton and Mitchell can all play point guard and also play off the ball AKA shooting guard. Those roles can be changed up from possession to possession, depending on the other team’s lineup, the Kings lineup, and the situation in that specific part of the game.
Fox, Haliburton, and Mitchell all have the capability to score from ‘all three levels’ – near the basket, mid-range and from three point range. Any one of the three can also keep the Kings ‘on track’ when one of the trio needs to go out of the game or take a game off. Keeping these three players fresh, healthy, and progressing will be key to the Sacramento Kings success, short and long term!
Kings Season Opener
The Kings start their 2021-22 NBA season on Wednesday 10/20, in Portland, against Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and the playoff-hungry TrailBlazers. Portland’s elite two guard combo of Lillard and McCollum will give the Kings three guard lineup a ‘playoff level’ test right as the regular season tips off!