The Sacramento Kings had a promising 2022-23 NBA season, making it to the playoffs and showing significant improvement. However, as the team prepares for the 2023-24 NBA training camp, one player in danger of losing his starting job is Harrison Barnes. Euroleague MVP Sasha Vezenkov has emerged as a potential replacement. In this article, we will explore the reasons behind this potential change.
Sacramento Kings' Performance in the 2022-23 NBA Season
The Sacramento Kings had a strong 2022-23 NBA season, making it to the playoffs and showcasing their potential as a rising team in the league. Led by their young core of De'Aaron Fox, Domantas Sabonis, and Kevin Huerter, the Kings finished with a 48-34 record, securing the 3rd seed in the Western Conference. This marked their first playoff appearance since the 2005-06 season, a significant achievement for the franchise.
During the regular season, the Kings had a balanced performance, going 23-18 at home and 25-16 on the road. They made it to the postseason despite a slow start to the season when they lost six of their first nine games. The team's success can be attributed to their high-scoring offense, as they led the league in points per game with an average of 120.2. They were also third overall in field goal shooting (48.9 percent) and sixth overall in assists per game (26.9).
The Kings' success was not only reflected in their record but also in the records they tied or broke during the season. They set a new franchise record for the most three-pointers made in a single game with 26 against the Los Angeles Lakers on February 3, 2023. Additionally, they tied the NBA record for the most three-pointers made in a half with 17 in the first half of the same game.
In the playoffs, the Kings faced the Golden State Warriors in the first round and put up a strong fight, ultimately losing the series 3-4. Despite the loss, the Kings' performance in the playoffs further solidified their status as a rising team in the league and set the stage for future success.
Here we will look at one Sacramento Kings player in danger of losing his starting job in the 2023-24 NBA training camp.
Harrison Barnes' Performance and Potential Replacement
Sure, Harrison Barnes played a pivotal role in the Kings' recent achievements. Despite that, there are several compelling reasons to consider his potential departure from the starting lineup in the upcoming 2023-24 NBA season. Firstly, his scoring efficiency has been less than stellar, ranking as the second lowest among wing players in terms of overall scoring efficiency. Furthermore, his scoring output has seen a decline since his tenure with the Dallas Mavericks. Last season, he averaged 15.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.6 three-pointers, though he did play all 82 regular season games. Barnes is still good, sure, but we may see diminishing returns from the 31-year-old in the upcoming season.
As such, he could be replaced in the starting five. The prospective candidate for taking over Barnes' role is Sasha Vezenkov, who previously earned recognition as the Euroleague MVP. Standing at 6'9, Vezenkov has demonstrated his prowess in Europe, showcasing his scoring aptitude and versatility. As the Kings aim to fortify their roster and embark on a deeper playoff journey, Vezenkov could potentially fill the void by offering the offensive potency and efficiency that Barnes may have been lacking. In the previous season with Olympiacos BC, the Bulgarian forward tallied 21.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.0 steal, and 2.0 three-pointers per game.
Kings got an elite shooter in Sasha Vezenkov. 🔥
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) July 1, 2023
The Potential Influence of Vezenkov on the Kings
Should Sasha Vezenkov assume the position of starting forward instead of Harrison Barnes, the team could enjoy the advantages of his scoring abilities and efficiency. Vezenkov's capacity to stretch the floor and create favorable matchups would harmonize with the playmaking talents of De'Aaron Fox. With Huerter also known as a sharp-shooter, having Vezenkov in the starting unit could open up the offense even more. This would bestow upon the Kings a more dynamic and potent offensive strategy.
Moreover, Vezenkov's experience in high-stakes scenarios could prove to be an asset for the Kings in their pursuit of a substantial playoff run. This is exemplified by his performance in the Euroleague playoffs. His capability to excel under pressure and deliver crucial plays would represent a valuable addition to a team with aspirations of solidifying its status as a contender in the highly competitive Western Conference.
As the Sacramento Kings prepare for the 2023-24 NBA training camp, one player in danger of losing his starting job is Harrison Barnes. While Barnes played a crucial role in the team's success during the 2022-23 season, his scoring efficiency and output have been underwhelming. Euroleague MVP Sasha Vezenkov has emerged as a potential replacement, offering the Kings a more dynamic and potent offense. With the addition of Vezenkov, the Kings could make a deeper playoff run and establish themselves as a rising force in the Western Conference.
Looking ahead to the 2023-24 NBA season, the Kings' best-case scenario would be to build on their success from the previous season and continue to develop their young core. A worst-case scenario would be if they struggle to maintain their momentum and fail to make significant improvements. We expect them to contend for the playoffs and maybe even progress past the first round.