The Sacramento Kings had a very real issue with point guard depth a couple of weeks ago. Darren Collison was their only real point guard under contract and Garrett Temple looked like their most realistic backup option. Then they took a cheap, low risk, high reward shot with Ty Lawson on a one-year deal to give them a bit more depth. It looks like they have even more depth now with the report from David Pick that Jordan Farmar has agreed to a deal with the Kings after playing for Dave Joerger, the new Kings coach, in Memphis last season.
Source: Sacramento agreed on deal with Jordan Farmar – finished season under Dave Joerger in Memphis.
— David Pick (@IAmDPick) September 13, 2016
So does this mean the Kings can breathe a little easier with their point guard options? Yes and no. Certainly, the situation looks a lot better in mid-September than it did in mid-August when free agency had all but trickled out and the team looked incomplete at the point. But even with their two recent signings, the Kings still have a lot of questions at the position.
First and foremost, Collison’s situation is a bit up in the air. Collison recently plead guilty to domestic battery, which comes with either a sentence of 20 days in jail or an alternative of 20 hours community service along with be in a yearlong program designed to prevent domestic violence as part of a three-year informal probation. It doesn’t mean he’s going to necessarily miss part of the season due to his sentencing, but you can expect the NBA (or maybe even the Kings) to levy some kind of additional punishment.
Former Charlotte Bobcats’ wing Jeff Taylor was suspended 24 games by the NBA back in 2014 after he plead guilty to misdemeanor domestic violence assault and destruction of hotel property in North Carolina. The NBA could throw a similar suspension at Collison in showing they take the crime of domestic violence very seriously — something very apparent after the NFL dealt with the Ray Rice domestic violence crime.
Depending on what happens with Collison, the duo of Lawson and Farmar filling in or competing for minutes is far from perfect, but also far from the hole they had previously. Lawson was a budding point guard with the Denver Nuggets before being traded to the Houston Rockets in 2015 following the Nuggets drafting Emmanuel Mudiay with the seventh pick in the draft. From there, Lawson hit a decline that seemed to completely eliminate any sense of value either on the trade market or the free agency market.
Lawson didn’t pair well with James Harden at all in Houston and the Rockets were a minus-8.1 points per 100 possessions with Lawson on the floor. When Lawson wasn’t in the game, the Rockets were a plus-3.3 per 100 possessions. However, he saw a big improvement after the Rockets couldn’t trade him away at the deadline (Utah Jazz decided to acquire third string point guard Shelvin Mack instead) and he ended up signing with Indiana Pacers after Houston waived him. With the Pacers, Lawson was a plus-3.3 per 100 possessions on the floor and the Pacers dropped to a plus-0.9 per 100 with Lawson on the bench.
That wasn’t good enough to build up credit in the free-agent market, but it at least showed his decline wasn’t the end of him being a player who could make a difference in the NBA. For him to rebound, he’ll need to find that change of pace part of his game that made him so difficult to defend in Denver.
For Farmar though, the odds of him providing a steady hand at the point guard position seem slim. Farmar wasn’t picked up last season until late March when the Grizzlies were so desperate for a veteran point guard during all of their injuries that they turned to him. Prior to signing with Memphis, Farmar played in the Turkish league and Israeli League in 2015. With Farmar on the floor, the Grizzlies were a minus-13.6 points per 100 possessions. To be fair, they weren’t good with him off the floor either, getting outscored by 8 points per 100 possessions.
But he also won’t be asked to play the same role in Sacramento as he was in Memphis, unless the injuries follow Joerger to the Kings. With Collison as the starter and Lawson as the backup, Farmar is a “break glass in case of emergency” option. Even if Collison is suspended, having him as the backup point guard for a small stretch of the season isn’t a complete disaster. And after all, it’s much better than where the Kings stood a couple of weeks ago. It’s better to have reclamation projects than no projects at all.
Source: CBS Sports / Kings sign Jordan Farmar to one-year deal, hoping to solve point guard depth