Reviewing Kings trade with Hawks to add shooting in Huerter originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area
ok so that is what Monte McNair was up to.
The Kings’ most mysterious move in the young off-season was: choose to wing Donte DiVincenzo. not expandable a qualifying offer and let him walk in freely, where he later found a house with the defending champion Warriors.
Two days later it makes more sense.
McNair, who is entering his third season as general manager of Kings, has made his off-season priority crystal clear: Sacramento needed to shoot, shoot and add a little more shooting.
In exchange for 23-year-old shooting guard Huerter, the Kings sent 33-year-old Justin Holiday and 29-year-old forward. Tired Harkless to Atlanta. Sacramento also packed a lottery-protected 2024 first-round pick, one that Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports will be top-12 protected in 2025 if the kings are in the draft lottery in ’24, and top-10 protected if pushed to 2026.
Nothing that the kings have given up in trade will harm them. Holiday and Harkless are two veteran players who didn’t really have a clear or, frankly, significant place in the projected rotation and are entering the final year of their deals. And however the next season goes, Sacramento still has its pick for the first round of 2023.
On the other hand, Huerter makes the Kings better.
At 6-foot-7, he gives the Kings more height at the two-guard position (Monk is 6-foot-3) and becomes another necessary consistent 3-point threat.
As a team, Sacramento was 29th in catch-and-shoot 3s per game (7.8) last season, emptying them with a 35.8 percent clip, ranking 22nd. Huerter nearly beat two catch-and-shoot 3s per game for the Hawks last season with a 41.9 percent clip.
By adding Huerter to the mix, along with forward Harrison Barnes (42.4 percent on catch-and-shoot 3s) and Monk (41.9 percent) – not forgetting efficient incoming rookie Keegan Murray – and the Kings have suddenly impact 3-point shooters to surround attacking guard De’Aaron Fox and big man Domantas Sabonis.
DiVincenzo had a catch-and-shoot clip of 36.2 percent last season.
Defense remains a problem in Sacramento. DiVincenzo certainly has an edge there. Huerter is known for his shot much more than his defensive presence, limited by a 6-foot-7 span. His old backcourt-mate Trae Young wasn’t much of a help on that side of the field, but it couldn’t be much different for Huerter besides Fox, also a weak defender.
Here’s perhaps the most exciting thing: The Kings now have a talented young core aged 24 or under in Fox (24), Monk (24), Huerter (23), Davion Mitchell (23) and Murray (21). Sabonis is 26 and just entering his prime.
Mitchell and Murray have a rookie deal. Fox and Huerter are under contract for the next four seasons, while Monk and Sabonis have two more years to go. The Kings certainly hope they can establish a winning culture over the next two years to entice Sabonis to sign a long-term Sacramento extension.
The point is, with all the roster turnover over the years, the new young core of the Kings has time to settle in, figure it out together, and establish themselves as winners in the NBA.
McNair’s last two moves – signing Monk and trading for Huerter – have many advantages. And maybe he’s not ready yet.