Sacramento Kings fantasy basketball season recap

Previous team recaps: DET, WAS, POR, CHA, SAS, TOR, MEM, UTA, BKN, ATL, CHI, HOU

At a glance:

Record: 46-36 (9th, West)

Offensive Rating: 116.2 (13th)

Defensive Rating: 114.4 (14th)

Net Rating: 1.8 (16th)

Pace: 99.47 (14th)

2024 NBA Draft Picks: 13, 45

After winning 48 games and finishing the 2022-23 season third in the West, the Sacramento Kings found themselves in the Play-In tournament this season. While there were some who took a step back in their production, the bigger issue for Mike Brown's team was that the conference improved. Five teams won at least 50 games, and two others won 49. As a result, Sacramento finished ninth, with their season ending due to a sixth loss to the Pelicans. Despite having two cornerstones in De'Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis and an emerging talent in Keegan Murray, this could be an offseason of transition for the Kings.

First and foremost, Brown and the franchise have reportedly broken off talks regarding a contract extension. The 2024-25 season is the last on his current deal, and not having Brown's future secure could prove problematic for Sacramento. Among the players, valuable reserve Malik Monk will be an unrestricted free agent; will the Kings be able to put up enough money to keep him in the fold? Reserve centers Alex Len and JaVale McGee will also hit the market as unrestricted free agents, but neither was as impactful as Monk in fantasy or "real" basketball. The Kings need to improve their options on the wings but don't have much money to do so, especially if they fail to re-sign Monk.

Overall, the Western Conference got stronger this season, and that should be the also case in 2024-25. A healthy Grizzlies squad is more than capable of joining the conference's elite, and Houston made noticeable strides in its first season under Ime Udoka. Will Sacramento have a good enough roster to avoid falling further in the pecking order? And will they have any other reliable fantasy options beyond Fox, Sabonis, and Murray? Those questions will make for an interesting summer in California's capital city.

Fantasy Standout: Domantas Sabonis

Sabonis was an excellent fantasy option in 8-cat formats, providing top-20 per-game value while ranking just outside the top 25 in 9-cat. And for managers in roto leagues, he was a first-round player due to the combination of production and availability. Earning third-team All-NBA honors, the Kings center played in all 82 games this season. Shooting 59.4% from the field and 70.4% from the foul line, Sabonis averaged 19.4 points, 13.7 rebounds, 8.2 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.6 blocks, and 0.4 3-pointers in 35.7 minutes per game. While he did not match his Yahoo ADP (15.0) in per-game value, Sabonis wasn't far off. The 6-foot-10 center improved his production in points, rebounds (led the NBA in RPG), assists, steals, and blocked shots, establishing new career-high averages in rebounds, assists, and blocks.

Contract-wise, Sabonis is the most secure of the players on the Kings' roster, as his four-year extension goes into effect next season. The one question for all of Sacramento's stars is whether or not Brown's contract status (and associate head coach Jordi Fernandez becoming the Nets' new head coach) will impact their productivity in 2024-25. Sabonis may not come off of draft boards as early as he did last fall, especially with the emergence of Victor Wembanyama and Chet Holmgren to name two young, talented big men, but he should remain a safe second-round pick. Whether or not he reaches that level will come down to the turnovers, as the average of 3.3 per game was the highest for him since 2020-21 (3.4 per game with the Pacers).

Fantasy Revelation: Keegan Murray

Murray was one of the top rookies in the NBA in 2022-23, finishing fifth in Rookie of the Year voting. And his production improved in Year 2, with the former lottery pick starting 77 games and averaging 15.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.8 blocks, and 2.4 3-pointers in 33.6 minutes. Murray, who started every game that he appeared in, shot 45.4% from the field and 83.1% from the foul line. Boasting a Yahoo ADP of 104.5, he finished the regular season ranked just outside the top 50 in 9-cat formats and just inside the top 100 in 8-cat. Regarding totals, Murray was a top 40 player in 9-cat.

While his 3-point percentage decreased by nearly six percentage points from Year 1 to Year 2, the more pressing issue for Murray heading into 2024-25 will be his aggression on the offensive end of the floor. There were times when he may have been a little too deferential to Sabonis and Fox, which is understandable given their talent and places within the Kings' pecking order. However, for Murray to have a shot at providing top-50 value and for the Kings to remain a playoff-caliber team, he will need to be more aggressive as a scorer. While selecting him with a top-50 pick may be a bit much, Murray should not be on most fantasy draft boards too far past that point.

Fantasy Disappointment: Keven Huerter

Based on his Yahoo ADP (129.0), fantasy managers did not go into the 2023-24 season expecting elite production from Huerter. But the fact that he was locked in a competition with Chris Duarte for a place in the starting lineup may have been the first warning sign. Duarte suffering a bone bruise in his left knee during the preseason effectively ended the competition, with Huerter being the starter on opening night. Unfortunately for him and the Kings, Red Velvet's production took a significant hit after a career-best 2022-23 campaign. Playing in 64 games before suffering a season-ending left shoulder injury in mid-March, Huerter averaged 10.2 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 0.7 steals, and 1.9 3-pointers in 24.4 minutes.

His scoring average decreased by five points compared to 2022-23, and Huerter failed to average at least two 3-pointers per game for the first time since his rookie season (2018-19). While expected to be a late-round player in standard leagues, he finished the season ranked outside the top 150 in 8- and 9-cat formats. Huerter's value in 2024-25 will depend on multiple factors, most notably his health. Another variable will be what happens with Monk, as his exit would leave one less person for Huerter to compete with for minutes (not counting potential replacements).

Fantasy Recaps/Look-Aheads

De'Aaron Fox: Possessing a Yahoo ADP of 37.8, Fox exceeded that number in 8- and 9-cat formats. A top-25 player in both, he played in 74 games and averaged 26.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 2.0 steals (league-best), and 2.9 3-pointers in 35.9 minutes. The scoring average was a career-best for Fox, who shot 46.5% from the field and 73.8% from the foul line. The free throws are one area where fantasy managers would like to see improvement in 2024-25, as Fox made a career-high 78.0% of his attempts in 2022-23. In that category, his production this season was in line with Fox's career number (73.6%).

Since enduring a three-year stretch in which he failed to play at least 60 games, "Swipa" has played 73 and 74 in the last two seasons. The combination of improved production and availability has boosted Fox's fantasy value considerably. Something to be mindful of this summer is the fact that Fox is eligible for an extension. Does Sacramento look to get a deal done now, and how much will Mike Brown's status impact the front office/ownership's decision regarding Fox? Expecting third-round value from De'Aaron is more than fair, and there will be some managers willing to grab him off of their draft boards at the Round 2/3 turn this fall.

Malik Monk: After shining in his lone season with the Lakers, Monk moved up to Sacramento before the 2022-23 season. And the move was a good one, as he emerged as one of the best sixth men in the NBA during these two seasons. The 2023-24 campaign was the best of Monk's career, as he averaged 15.4 points, 2.9 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.5 blocks, and 2.1 3-pointers in 26.0 minutes per game. Shooting 44.3% from the field and 82.9% from the foul line, he produced career-high averages in points and assists.

Monk did exceed his Yahoo ADP (145.5), benefitting partially from Sacramento's lack of a consistent backup point guard. Unfortunately, his season ended prematurely due to a knee injury suffered in late March. Monk was productive enough to boost his value ahead of unrestricted free agency, and the question now is whether or not Sacramento can afford to re-sign him. Where he lands will obviously impact Monk's fantasy prospects in 2024-25, especially if he were to be in a place where he can start and approach (if not exceed) 30 minutes per game for the first time in his NBA career. A return to Sacramento could lower his ceiling, as he would likely remain in the sixth-man role.

Harrison Barnes: For the second consecutive season, Barnes started all 82 games for the Kings. While dependable with regard to his availability, the veteran wing's production decreased in 2023-24. Playing 29.0 minutes per game, Barnes averaged 12.2 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.7 steals, and 1.8 3-pointers, shooting 47.4% from the field and 80.1% from the foul line. The scoring average was his lowest since 2015-16 as a member of the Warriors when he averaged 11.7 points per game.

Based upon his Yahoo ADP (143.4), fantasy managers did not have high expectations for Barnes. However, he finished the season ranked just inside the top 200 in 9-cat formats and just outside that threshold in 8-cat. With two seasons remaining on his contract, the 32-year-old wing is likely to remain in the Kings starting lineup. However, that does not make him a must-draft player in standard leagues.

Keon Ellis: Having played in 16 games as a rookie, Ellis wasn't expected to be much of a factor this season. The second-year guard did make a few starts early in the season, as the Kings were occasionally without starting point guard De'Aaron Fox, but he was most impactful after the Kings lost Kevin Huerter and Malik Monk during the final month.

Ellis started Sacramento's last 15 regular season games, averaging 9.8 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.5 blocks, and 2.2 3-pointers in 27.0 minutes. During that stretch, he shot 47.2% from the field and 87.5% from the foul line. Ellis' season-long fantasy value was low, ranking outside the top 200, but he outplayed fellow backup Davion Mitchell. Ellis isn't at a point where he has to be selected in fantasy drafts, but he's likely to begin next season in the Kings rotation.

Trey Lyles: Having appeared in 74 games during his first full season with the Kings, Lyles was limited to 58 appearances in 2023-24 due to injury. The 2015 lottery pick averaged 7.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 1.4 3-pointers in 20.0 minutes per game, shooting 44.5% from the foul line and 70.0% from the foul line. A strained calf prevented Lyles from making his season debut until November 22, and he missed another nine games in March due to a sprained MCL. He finished the season ranked just inside the top 300 in 9-cat formats and just outside of that threshold in 8-cat. Lyles wasn't in a position where he can be relied upon in most fantasy leagues, and that's unlikely to change in 2024-25.

Davion Mitchell: Backing up one of the NBA's better point guards is not a good place to be from a fantasy standpoint, which made Mitchell a late-round option at best before this season began. Unfortunately, he was far worse than fantasy managers expected. At times falling behind Keon Ellis in the pecking order, Mitchell averaged 5.2 points, 1.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 0.8 3-pointers in 15.3 minutes per game. Appearing in 72 games during his third season, "Off Night" hasn't provided much value on either end of the floor.

To his credit, Mitchell has increased his 3-point percentage in each of his three seasons, but he's averaging just 0.5 steals per game as a pro. The defensive prowess hasn't resulted in reliable steals production, eliminating what little fantasy value Mitchell could have as a backup point guard. With Ellis playing well to end the season, this may be a position battle to keep an eye on when training camp begins. Regardless of what happens, it feels likely that Mitchell will head into restricted free agency in the summer of 2025.

Sasha Vezenkov: Vezenkov's professional experience in Europe made him worthy of consideration as a late-round pick in deeper fantasy leagues. Unfortunately, injuries limited him to 42 games as a rookie, with the Kings forward averaging 5.4 points, 2.3 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 0.5 steals, and 1.1 3-pointers in 12.2 minutes. Vezenkov, who shot 44.0% from the field and 80.0% from the foul line, finished the season ranked well outside the top 300 in 8- and 9-cat formats. He doesn't play the same position as Malik Monk, but the Kings wing's potential exit in free agency could make Vezenkov a more important player next season. That said, the production wasn't enough to justify selecting him in most drafts this fall.

Restricted Free Agents: Kessler Edwards, Jalen Slawson

Unrestricted Free Agents: Malik Monk, Alex Len, JaVale McGee