Dave Joerger

De'Aaron Fox is the future, but don't count out Frank Mason

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AP

De'Aaron Fox is the future, but don't count out Frank Mason

For years the NBA has overvalued potential and undervalued production come draft season. The 2017 NBA Draft was a microcosm of the trend, as the top 11 players had one year of college experience or less. Some of these players were productive in a small sample size, but all of them were drafted on potential.

De’Aaron Fox showed flashes of brilliance in his lone season at the University of Kentucky. He put on a show in the tournament, which helped skyrocket him up most draft boards and the Kings were more than excited to see him fall into their lap at the fifth overall selection.

In comparison, Frank Mason III spent four years building a resumé at Kansas. He finished his senior season averaging 20.9 points and 5.2 assists per game while shooting 47.1 percent from 3-point range.

Mason’s numbers were good enough to earn him AP Player of the Year, the Oscar Robertson Award, the Naismith College Player of the Year Award and plenty of other accolades. His trophy case is stuffed full, but that didn’t stop him from falling to the fourth pick of the second round, no. 34 overall.

Maybe it isn’t fair, but it is the reality of the situation. At 19-years-old, teams are predicting that Fox can be a star. At 23, Mason is considered a finished product with little room to grow.

Fox is lean and athletic. He can run the floor as well as anyone in any league, but he has plenty to learn about the game of basketball. He is already being billed as a franchise cornerstone before he’s even played a single game in the NBA. His potential on both ends of the court is elite.

Mason is described as tough, NBA ready and mature. He lacks Fox’s size and length, but he makes up for his shortcomings by playing with heart and moxie. His leaping ability and leadership qualities will win fans over quickly.

While Sacramento is pinning its hopes for the future on Fox, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Mason is out of the picture. Both players will fight for minutes behind starter George Hill. Don’t be shocked if Mason plays a bigger role than Fox in certain games.

Potential is a word for front office staff. Once the ball is tipped, Dave Joerger will go to the players that give him the best opportunity to win. He will side with production and in year one, Mason is the most game ready. He may not have Fox’s ceiling as a player, but he is likely better prepared to fill a role.

With three point guards on the roster, Joerger also has the option of playing either Hill or Fox at the shooting guard position. This could potentially open up more than just 48 minutes for the trio.

Having options is a good. Mason’s presence on the roster, in addition to Hill’s, allows the coaching staff to bring Fox along at cautious pace. They can take their time teaching him the game, knowing that they have another able body on the roster.

There will be a time when Fox is turned loose on the NBA. It might be 20 games into the season or it could be 100 games into his career. In the meantime, don’t count out Mason as an important figure on the 2017-18 Kings rotation.

Daunting task awaits Dave Joerger, Kings staff during 2017-18 season

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USATSI

Daunting task awaits Dave Joerger, Kings staff during 2017-18 season

The 2017-18 Sacramento Kings season is just around the corner. Media Day is set for Sept. 25th with training camp beginning the following day at the team’s practice facility. Plenty of players have spent the summer in Sacramento honing their skills, but the real work begins when the entire squad hits the court together.

Dave Joerger and his staff have a daunting task in front of them. Not only will they welcome 10 new faces to an overhauled roster, but five of those players have never stepped foot on an NBA court.

Calling the team youthful is an understatement. Outside of the veteran core of Garrett Temple, Vince Carter, Kosta Koufos, Zach Randolph and George Hill, the team is green and lacks experience.

Carter and Randolph played for Joerger in Memphis, which should help. They also boast a combined 35 seasons of NBA experience and can act as player/coaches in certain situations.

Joerger and his staff have five rookies to manage and another four first rounders from last season. He’ll bring back his entire coaching group from the previous campaign - Elston Turner, Brian Gates, Duane Ticknor, Bob Thornton, Jason March and Larry Lewis. Sacramento also added local product, Phil Ricci, as an assistant player development coach.

It’s a robust and diverse crew with plenty of knowledge. Most of the coaches came with Joerger from Memphis and have long standing relationships. March gained valuable experience with the young core this offseason when coaching the Kings’ Summer League team in Las Vegas.    

Darrick Martin is back for a second season as the frontman for the Reno Bighorns as the team continues to build synergy between the parent club and the G-League. The Kings will rely heavily on Martin as they shuttle players like Georgios Papagiannis and Harry Giles back and forth between Reno and Sacramento.

This is Year One of the rebuild. With a youth movement comes the need for extra staffing and a cohesive approach. At some point, the Kings need to choose a path and stick to it when it comes to coaching. They currently have the infrastructure in place to bring along a young team, but stability is key when building a roster in this fashion.

Sacramento has paid plenty over the last few years for coaches who are no longer employed by the team. Joerger is different than most of their previous hires. He’s coached a high-quality playoff team and has high expectations for his club. He’s also worked his way through the minor leagues and spent six seasons as an NBA assistant. He understands how to develop talent and he’s found success at every level.

Joerger is entering the second of three guaranteed seasons in Sacramento. With a complete franchise reboot, including the trade that sent All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins in February, it’s probably time for the Kings to revisit his fourth-year team option.

Dave Joerger holding coaching camp in Sacramento

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AP

Dave Joerger holding coaching camp in Sacramento

SACRAMENTO -- Dave Joerger is digging in as a member of the local community. In his first official event in Sacramento with the Dave Joerger Foundation, the Kings’ head coach is hosting a coaches clinic at the Kings practice facility this weekend (June 3) for local area basketball coaches.

Joerger has brought in NBA, NCAA and NBDL coaches to, “provide professional insight to coaching at all levels.” UOP head coach Damon Stoudamire, UC Davis head coach Jim Les and Sacramento Kings assistant coach Elston Turner are all listed as featured guests for the event.

Last summer, Joerger’s foundation put on a basketball camp at the Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Joerger has also hosted families at Kings and Grizzlies games over past seasons as part of the foundation and he is a big supporter of youth tennis as well.

For more details, visit The Dave Joerger Foundation.