Sacramento Kings starting lineup for 2021-22 NBA season

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Sacramento Kings starting lineup for 2021-22 NBA season originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The excitement of nabbing Davion Mitchell with the No. 9 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft may have some Sacramento Kings fans believing they have a shot at the NBA playoffs for the first time since 2006. 

A dynamic trio of guards in Mitchell, De’Andre Fox and Tyrese Haliburton could prove to be effective in today’s mostly positionless NBA, but head coach Luke Walton knows the Kings’ defense needs to be improved for a playoff run to be in the cards next spring.“We know and we’ve seen that when we’re better defensively, we are going to win games,” said Walton after a preseason game against the Lakers. 

There are many questions surrounding the 2021-22 Kings’ roster. Before diving too deep, let’s take a look at who makes Sacramento’s starting five.

Buddy Hield, the effective Bahamian shooter who lit up the NCAA with the Oklahoma Sooners, is the biggest complication on the Kings roster heading into the 2021-22 NBA season. Hield was traded from the New Orleans Pelicans to the Kings in 2017 and brought his shooting prowess with him. 

Despite his skill, the Kings are likely to lean into developing Fox, Haliburton and Mitchell — a situation that leaves Hield out of the starting lineup in Sacramento. 

That may not be the worst thing for the organization: Hield’s devaluing contract could attract some other teams to explore a trade.

Who is the Kings’ starting center? 

Marvin Bagley’s days of being cemented as the King’s center may be coming to a close, with reports indicating the organization won’t be offering Bagley an extension. If that holds true, Bagley will become an unrestricted free agent in 2022. 

Tristan Thompson could take over as the starting center in Sacramento, but Richaun Holmes will look to build off his stellar first season and compete to retain his starting spot. 

As the Kings look for ways to improve their defense, watch for Holmes to see an increase in minutes. 

Who is the point guard for the Kings?

De’Andre Fox can be expected to retain his role as chief ball-handler on the team, but expect the Kings to look for ways to involve Davion Mitchell and Tyrese Haliburton at point guard this season. 

And for good reason: Mitchell is coming off a year where he led Baylor to an NCAA national championship and won co-MVP at the 2021 NBA Summer League. Halliburton is no slouch either. 

In his first year in Sacramento, the former Iowa State guard was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team after finishing the 2020-21 NBA season with 13 points per game. 

What is the Kings’ starting lineup in 2022?

With Bagley’s future up in the air, the starting five for the Kings becomes harder to predict. Should Bagley play out this season in Sacramento, he can be expected to be involved in a power forward role with Richaun Holmes posting up at center.  

Similarly, if the Kings don’t find a trade for Hield, he will likely start in the backcourt with Fox. If he does get shipped out, Haliburton could slot in with relative ease. The dynamic Harrison Barnes will probably round out the five at small forward. Things get interesting when you take Bagley and Hield out of the conversation, assuming they get traded. The absence of Bagley could mean more time for Thompson and Alex Len in the paint. Alternatively, Moe Harkless can be utilized as a multi-faceted wing player.

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