Every town needs a posse.
In the NBA it’s called a bench mob, and they are tasked with protecting everything the starters fought for.
A tall order, but it helps when your militia consists of trained professionals.
Here’s how the Kings bench compares to rivals’ reserves in the Pacific Division.
*MPG = minutes per game, PPG = points per game, APG, assists per game, RPG = rebounds per game, SPG = steals per game, BPG = blocks per game
**Statistics in italics are Pacific Division leaders.
SAC second unit – Ramon Sessions (PG), Nik Stauskas (SG), Omri Casspi (F), Carl Landry (F), Reggie Evans (F/C)
2013-14 top scorer: Sessions (CHA/MIL) – 12.3 PPG … 2013-14 top assister: Sessions – 4.1 APG … 2013-14 top rebounder: Evans (BRK/SAC) – 6.2 RPG … 2013-14 top stealer: Evans – 0.7 SPG … 2013-14 top blocker: Ryan Hollins (LAC) – 0.5 BPG
Outlook: The slashing Sessions is the best Kings backup point since Beno Udrih. His heady play should bring stability to the team’s reserve lineup. Stauskas in his rookie year will be, at worst, a deep-ball specialist, while Casspi is expected to bring his patented energy and crash the boards. The soft-handed Landry is out to prove himself following a lost year after signing a four-year, $27 million deal, and he’ll often be alongside Evans, who is comfortable in his role as a designated rebounder and screener.
GSW second unit – Shaun Livingston (PG), Leandro Barbosa (G), Harrison Barnes (F), Draymond Green (F), Festus Ezeli (C)
2013-14 top scorer: Barnes – 9.5 PPG … 2013-14 top assister: Livingston (BRK) – 3.2 APG … 2013-14 top rebounder: Green – 5.0 RPG … 2013-14 top stealer: Green – 1.2 SPG … 2013-14 top blocker: Green – 0.9 BPG
Outlook: After struggling to replace Jarrett Jack, the Warriors hope they found their man in Livingston after the journeyman produced his best campaign in a swingman role with the Nets. He’ll soak up minutes, as will Barnes, who remains an enigma to the organization. Green is a coach’s dream, an in-your-face defender who can guard multiple positions and occasionally nail a 3. Ezeli returns from a knee and shin injury ready to do his job as a space-filler.
LAC second unit – Jordan Farmar (PG), Jamal Crawford (SG), Reggie Bullock (G/F), Glen Davis (F/C), Spencer Hawes (C)
2013-14 top scorer: Crawford – 18.6 PPG … 2013-14 top assister: Farmar (LAL) – 4.9 APG … 2013-14 top rebounder: Hawes (PHI/CLE) – 8.3 RPG … 2013-14 top stealer: Farmar – 0.9 SPG … 2013-14 top blocker: Hawes – 1.2 BPG
Outlook: The rich get richer (no reference to Steve Ballmer), as the Clippers’ reserves could likely beat the 76ers’ starters in a regulated match. Farmar replaces Darren Collison, and the steady ex-Lakers guard looked better than ever (when healthy) in 2013-14 after stints in Israel and Turkey. Crawford is the prototype sixth man, able to create and make open looks for himself from anywhere on the floor. Hawes’ has fulfilled his ceiling as a two-way center since leaving Sacramento, and Davis is a burly bruiser with midrange game. The Clippers are very high on Bullock as a flashy scorer.
LAL second unit – Ronnie Price (PG), Wayne Ellington (SG), Xavier Henry (G/F), Nick Young (G/F), Julius Randle (F)
2013-14 top scorer: Young – 17.9 PPG … 2013-14 top assister: Price (ORL) – 2.1 APG … 2013-14 top rebounder: Davis (MEM) – 4.1 RPG … 2014-14 top stealer: Henry – 1.0 SPG … 2013-14 top blocker: Ryan Kelly – 0.8 BPG
Outlook: Randle is the X-factor here, as the first Lakers lottery pick since Andrew Bynum has demonstrated outstanding all-around offensive skills in the preseason, from shooting to weaving acrobatically through the paint. Young, also known as J.R. Smith-West, will win or lose a game with his head-scratching shot selection but potential instant offense. Henry battled a nagging knee injury last season but otherwise had his biggest step forward as a pro. The combination of Ronnie Price and Wayne Ellington is a far from ideal NBA backcourt.
PHO second unit – Isaiah Thomas (PG), Gerald Green (G/F), Marcus Morris (F), Anthony Tolliver (F), Alex Len (C)
2013-14 top scorer: Thomas (SAC) – 20.3 PPG … 2013-14 top assister: Thomas – 6.3 APG … 2013-14 top rebounder: Morris – 3.9 RPG … 2013-14 top stealer: Thomas – 1.3 SPG … 2013-14 top blocker: Green – 0.5 BPG
Outlook: Thomas was not the Suns’ first choice in the offseason, but pressured to use their cap space, Phoenix now fields arguably the best backup point guard in the league. Along with natural scorer Green, the club won’t miss a beat when Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe need a breather. Morris and Tolliver are excellent 3-point shooters, and the 7-foot-1 Len is expected to shed his bust label in year two.
The benches are set to brawl. Where do you rank Sacramento’s?
Statistical data provided by basketball-reference.com.[poll id=”63″]