Justin Jackson

Scout Fantasy Basketball Outlook 2019-2020


Justin Jackson may be worth a roster spot in deeper leagues or may be a decent waiver wire pick up. His 95 projected fantasy points puts him at #135 behind Rodney McGruder and ahead of Wenyen Gabriel. He has averaged 11.4 fantasy points in his past 130 games, which is more than our projected per game average. He is projected to average 3.5 fantasy points. His rank based on average projected points is the same as his rank based on total fantasy points. Justin Jackson is expected to come up short of this season-to-date’s #99 fantasy position rank.

These projections power SportsLine’s Computer Picks and Fantasy Data. But for contest winning DFS optimal lineups by top experts like Mike McClure visit SportsLine’s new Daily Fantasy Hub.


Justin Jackson is projected for 7.5 fantasy points in week 18 which only ranks him as the #132 projected forward and not a fantasy relevant player for the week. This week’s rank is slightly better than his rest of season rank. Justin Jackson is not expected to be active the rest of week 17.


The tables below show projected stats (totals and averages) for the rest of the season and next week. Also included are actual stats from the current and last season.

Anthony Tolliver

The veteran big man stepped in after the youngster went down with a knee injury.

For a squad once well known for its health, the 2019-2020 season has been difficult for the Portland Trail Blazers, who again lost a player to injury against the Los Angeles Lakers when Skal Labissiere left the court with a knee injury during the first quarter, forcing veteran Anthony Tolliver to step up in his place. Jamie Hudson of NBC Sports Northwest spoke with Tolliver after the game about his performance, which featured strong shooting.

Once he was out and went to the back, that’s whenever my mindset changes a little bit. I’ve kind of been in and out of the rotation, not really knowing when I’m going to go in or not, but I just knew at that point, it’s next man up… If my number was called then I was going to go out there and do what I could. — Trail Blazers veteran Anthony Tolliver

Coach Terry Stotts also provided an update on Labissiere, as the extent of his injury is unknown.

“Skal has a left knee injury, he had an MRI and results are pending, so that’s the Skal update,” Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said postgame.

Vince Carter

Nobody besides Vince Carter has made it to Season 22 in the NBA, so it’s not surprising that the former Toronto Raptors legend has had some time to reflect on his career.

He’s thought a lot about what could have been had he and Tracy McGrady stayed put in Toronto and it was particularly hard not to flash back to earlier times when he and McGrady were doing some broadcast work back in June when the Raptors beat Golden State to bring the NBA title north of the border for the first time.

After Toronto beat Carter’s Atlanta Hawks in Georgia on Saturday, we asked Carter what it felt like to see the Raptors actually do it. And like so many Raptors fans have said, his answer was it felt extremely surreal.

“I was (in Oakland), so it was crazy. I thought of being drafted there. Coming in. Being a part of the first playoff team (which was swept 3-0 by the New York Knicks),” Carter told Postmedia and the Atlanta media.

“Being a part of the first playoff win (the following season). Being a part of the first playoff series. You think of all these things and the ultimate goal of championships,” Carter said.

“When we won that first series (also against the Knicks) it was like, ‘OK, we’re going to the second round.’ And I miss that shot in Game 7 and it’s like, ‘Oh we could have, you don’t know …,” Carter said, trailing off as he reimagined the possibilities for what must be about the fifth-dozen time since 2001.

“Because obviously the team that we lost to ended up in the Finals that year. The Sixers played the Lakers, so, it was just so close. So to now actually be there, I remember, with about a minute or so left in the game, I turned to Tracy and he turned to me: ‘I can’t believe this is about to happen,’ ” the two Raptors and NBA legends said to each other that June night.

“Like the reality, things that Tracy and I talked about (as Raptors teammates), sitting in hotel rooms arguing about whatever we argued about. Video games at the time we played, about trying to figure it out and it actually happened. So it was pretty cool to actually be there and not have to see it on TV,” Carter said.


As much as the famous missed shot against the Sixers still stings, Carter insists it’s just one part of his journey.

He pointed out that he sees the 22 years as all coming together to form a whole, to get him this far. Interestingly, Carter specifically mentioned his ridiculous, clutch three-pointer from the 2014 playoffs as the Yin to the Yang of the Raptors miss. Though the Mavericks would lose the series to Kawhi Leonard and the eventual NBA champion San Antonio Spurs, with just under two seconds left, Carter had given the Mavericks a 2-1 series lead with his improbable shot which followed Manu Ginobili putting the Spurs up by two.

“(There are) lessons that I’ve learned from each decade that I still cherish. I think sometimes we always want the good, but I think we learn a lot from painful situations,” Carter said.

“So each decade has been good and bad, but it’s all worth it. I’ve had things that I’m very proud of, and there’s times that I wish I could take back that shot that I missed, I wish I could have that back. But in my mind I got redemption playing for Dallas when I made the shot against San Antonio. So it’s so many great things, ups and downs that I’m very thankful of. I wouldn’t change a thing because I think going through it all still has me here today and now,” Carter said.

Carter is slated to make two more appearances in Toronto before he finally calls it quits: On Jan. 28 and on April 10, the fourth-last game of his career.


It was a 50-point effort on Monday for Milwaukee’s NBA MVP favourite Giannis Antetokounmpo. He’s now scored 50 in a game twice in his career, the same total as the likes of Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, Vince Carter, Oscar Robertson, Dirk Nowitzki and Elvin Hayes, amongst others.

The active leader is James Harden, with 19 and counting. Wilt Chamberlain did it 118 times, Michael Jordan 31, Kobe Bryant 25.

Stephen Curry has done it six times, the same as Kevin Durant and Damian Lillard. Russell Westbrook did it four times in Oklahoma City, while the re-activated Carmelo Anthony is one of only 29 players to have scored 50 in at least four games in their careers.

Carter, DeMar DeRozan and Terrence Ross each did it once while with Toronto.


Much more on this next week, but what a start to the year it has been for the many Canadians in the NBA. Andrew Wiggins, written off by so many (guilty!) has inspired countless ‘Has the light gone on for Wiggins?’ columns with by far the best play of his career. Wiggins is averaging a career-best 25.2 points, with other highs for field goal, effective field goal, and two-field goal percentage, as well as for rebounds, blocks and assists for the surprising Minnesots Timberwolves. He’s also looked better defensively.

The same can be said of Denver’s Jamal Murray, who remains a lethal offensive player, like he was last year, but he’s also added more defensively.

“If you want to be an all-star, if you want to be an all-NBA-type player, you have to impact your game in more than just your scoring, and I think Jamal is doing that more consistently this year than any of the years prior,” Denver head coach Mike Malone told reporters recently.

“You can’t allow your offence to dictate your defence, your rebounding, your playmaking. Because if you do that, now you’re just a specialist.”

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, a centrepiece of the Paul George trade, has emerged as the new face of the franchise in Oklahoma City. He’s in the running for the most improved player award.

Rookies RJ Barrett and Brandon Clarke have impressed and veterans like Tristan Thompson, Cory Joseph, Kelly Olynyk and Dwight Powell are doing their usual solid work. Sophomore Dillon Brooks has bounced back from last year’s injury issues to play well as a starter in Memphis and other Canucks have been contributing all across the league.

These are heady times for fans of Canadian basketball. The next big step could be getting many of them to report to camp this summer for one last shot at qualifying for the 2020 Olympics.


A quick look at the top Canadians in the NBA this season:


Andrew Wiggins, Wolves, Has he finally figured it out? Having career year.
Jamal Murray, Nuggets, Game looks more well-rounded in Year 4.
Shae Gilgeous-Alexander, Thunder, Averaging 19.3 points as new king of OKC.
RJ Barrett, Knicks, Averaging 15.1 points as rookie face of New York.
Kelly Olynyk, Heat, Vet playing strong ball for surprising Miami.
Tristan Thompson, Cavs, Huge bounce-back season ahead of new deal.
Cory Joseph, Kings, Helping Kings stay afloat with Fox injured.
Dillon Brooks, Grizzlies, Solid starter shooting nearly 39% from deep.
Brandon Clarke, Grizzlies, Doing a bit of everything in first year.
Dwight Powell, Mavericks ,Shooting 64.5% from the field, 33% from three.
Chris Boucher, Raptors, Energizer has earned minutes even when Ibaka returns.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Pelicans, Rook has wowed at times, struggled at others.


4 – Games with at least 20 points and 20 rebounds already by Detroit’s Andre Drummond. He’s done it 16 times over the past two seasons, nine more than Karl-Anthony Towns. Houston’s Clint Capela has two 20-20 games this year.
8 – Games with at least 12 assists by LeBron James. The most such games he’s had in a single season are 20 in 2017-18 and 17 in 2016-17.
1.14 – Points scored by possession by Minnesota’s Towns, to lead all high-volume players. Portland’s Damian Lillard is next at 1.09, followed by Brandon Ingram, Luka Donic and James Harden.
13– Three-pointers made by Chicago’s Zach LaVine in a recent win. That was only one off of Klay Thompson’s NBA record (Steph Curry has also hit 13 in a game). Donyell Marshall set the then-record of 12 while a Raptor in 2005.


Five surging squads (before Wednesday’s games)

1 L.A. Lakers – Eight straight wins, a rejuvenated LeBron James … These guys are for real.
2 Milwaukee Bucks – Also winners of eight in a row, Giannis is the MVP. Again.
3 Dallas Mavericks– Offence has been off the charts, led by Luka Doncic’s brilliance..
4 L.A. Clippers – Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have teamed up and it’s scary for opponents.
5– Toronto Raptors – They the champs and they’re oozing confidence, even without Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka.


1 Atlanta Hawks– Have surrendered 124.4 points per 100 possessions during six-game losing streak.
2 Cleveland Cavaliers – Have also sprung a defensive leak following encouraging start.
3 New York Knicks – They stink on and off the court, but R.J. Barrett has been solid at least.
4 Charlotte Hornets – Five straight losses, many of them blowouts, an offence that can’t score, a defence that can’t get stops.
5– Golden State Warriors – It feels weird seeing this team here, but, that’s what happens when all your good players get hurt.


In case you missed it last week, the NBA is eyeing making significant changes in order to beef up interest in its product.

ESPN reported that the NBA, in discussions with its players and broadcast partners, is considering adding an in-season tournament, re-seeding its four conference finalists and a playoffs play-in. The regular season could also be shortened by four games. Changes would go into effect two seasons from now, in 2021-22, if they are approved in potential April voting by the board of governors.

The changes would theoretically improve the quality of the product (fewer games, less travel, more incentives, better teams standing at the end) but it will likely take quite a bit of work to get all of the sides to agree to these significant alterations.

With ratings down though, the NBA is being proactive in looking for ways to draw more eyeballs.

Re-seeding last year would have meant Toronto and Golden State would have met a round earlier, with Milwaukee and Portland facing off in the other semifinal.

It says here that cutting four regular season games would not be nearly enough. There’s little point in scrapping fewer than 10 games from the schedule. Go big, or go home.

The mid-season tournament idea stems from the NBA looking to soccer, where the season is broken into different segments of high-level competition. There would be fewer dog days with something else up for grabs.

The post-season play-in could be fun. It could pit four teams (the 7, 8, 9 and 10 seeds, which can come from either conference) into a short tournament. The winner of 7 vs. 8 would advance to the playoffs, while the 9 vs. 10 winner would take on the 7 vs. 8 loser.

All of this probably freaks out traditionalists, but some of the ideas aren’t bad.

Bruno Caboclo

Can “Bruno Memphis” finesse his way into a role?

The man famously labeled the prospect “Two years away from being two years away” during his draft process has now reached that time frame in his career, even if his production necessarily hasn’t. Bruno Caboclo is now in his 5th year and is still fighting for a roster spot, but now on a lottery-bound Memphis Grizzlies team. Now to be fair, the 20th pick of the 2014 NBA draft has made some progress in his development as of recent, so only so much judgement can be made on his career at this point, but him being in the G-league this time last year says a lot about his current value across the league if nothing else.

2018-19 review

The Memphis Hustle first home game of last season was versus the Houston Rockets G-League Affiliate, and ironically I had the privilege of being there courtesy of Eli Suvoy. Bruno happened to be playing for the opposing team.

Lets just say, he didn’t stand out, despite being the only first-round pick on both teams’ rosters then.

Never the less of course, Bruno was eventually called up from the G League essentially by the Grizzlies when the team was desperate for active bodies. Caboclo beagn to really make an impression with his 34-game audition for Memphis to the tune of eight points, five rebounds, and roughly two assists in 24 minutes per game. This stat line may not jump off the charts for the novice fan, but keep in mind Bruno is likely the last option at best when on the court. So for a man whose weakest phase of his game is offense to still be nearly a double-digit scorer on a nightly basis, Bruno is a consistent shot and a little more muscle away from being a damn good role player and a rotational mainstay even then.

Projected Role

Bruno is a defender, if nothing else, partly due to having one of the longest wingspans in recent memory. He’s never to be confused with a tireless pitbull scorer. However, Bruno’s value is something that doesn’t necessarily measure well in basic stats. Despite an ironically forgettable performance, he’s like to play a decent role on this team, especially if he proves to be a reliable shooter, even if catch-and-shoot exclusive. Where Bruno is surely improved is his defensive versatility with now ability to potentially defend 2-5. If he can provide that sort of versatility along with a solid burner from distance, Bruno is gonna make some guys really become The Expendables & I’m not talking about the movie with Sylvester Stallone either.

Guys like Kyle Anderson need to cop a reliable burner from distance with the quickness, because Bruno could potentially be the much less expensive version that gets the job done and then some.

Bruno has also been experimenting with playing center. This development was at the request of Coach Taylor Jenkins in some of their small ball packages. It makes the Grizzlies stupid versatile in defensive switches, while still providing the same length of virtually any bug man in the league today except maybe Tacko Fall of course. Bruno can block shots with the best of them at times, not to mention his ability to pick pockets with his historical wingspan.

On the offensive end, he allows the Grizzlies to speed it up offensively, with his ability to not only float in the fastbreak like a gazelle, but also finish at the rim and potentially fade to the corners to knock down Ja Morant-assisted catch-and-shoot buckets. Bruno also brings willingness to set picks to give Ja & Tyus more space to create along with being another long & athletic cutter when directed.

2019-20 Best Case Scenario

Bruno Caboclo steadily improves on his basic stat line of 8/5/2 at an all around efficient rate. Part of the efficiency referenced would be his three-point shooting, thus increases his minutes to the 25-30 minutes per game range and becomes a certified double-digit scoring threat who can not only catch beautiful assists from Ja Morant on fastbreaks, but also serve as an elite (Top 15) defensive player that offers ultimate versatility defending various matchups. All of this will make him impossible to take out of the game.

His per-36 statline last season was essentially 13/7/3/2. So if he averages that, and does it within 30 minutes per game, Bruno would be a major steal that’ll be sure to get at least some Most Improved Player votes.

2019-20 Worst Case Scenario

Worst case scenario, the Bruno I saw in the Memphis Hustle 2018-19 home opener shows up and doesn’t capitalize on an obvious opportunity to secure a long-term future on a team searching for talent, especially versatile wing players.

Bruno comes in timid, waiting for opportunity versus taking his opportunity, and we all know the assurances of the latter. Bruno could also continue to struggle with his shot, or simply struggle to identify many ways he can help the team in games and doesn’t offer much impact as a leader to compensate. As a result, Bruno comes up short of the finesse game unlike his name twin Bruno Mars.

Overall Expectations

If hell burns all else, Bruno is a willing defender who should also be at least a reliable rim-runner, if nothing else, offensively. One can still get playing time as long as surrounded by sufficient shooters to balance the powers.

I know the sample isn’t ample at only 34 games, but Bruno produced across the board last season in terms of basic stats, defense, and metric impacts. Remember, 34 games is about the length of a college or overseas season anyway, and the league drafts those players based on said samples. If he can just produce at the exact same rate he did for the Grizzlies last season over say 25-30 minutes, then he would be a certified double-digit scorer, which is awesome coming from a bargain-bin pickup who’s mostly known as a defender and raw, low-priority offensive player. I can see him becoming “Diet Paskal Siakam” with a slash line of 10/5/3, which would be great for ME from Bruno, a guy I ridiculed when the Grizzlies first signed last season.

Georgios Papagiannis

With the Portland Trail Blazers 2017-18 season wrapped, we evaluate the roster player-by-player, handing the personnel decisions over to the fans to decide which players should stay and which should go.


Last year’s vote: N/A

Position: C Height/Weight: 7-1/240 Age: 23 NBA experience: 3 seasons 2017-18 salary: $74,159 Contract status: The 13th pick of the 2016 NBA draft by the Sacramento Kings, Papagiannis initially signed with the Blazers on a 10-day contract in March before inking a deal to remain in Portland through the 2018-19 season. His salary for next season (worth $1.5M) is non-guaranteed.

2017-18 season notables: Spent time with Sacramento and Portland, appearing in 17 games and averaging 2.1 points (42.9% FG), 2.2 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 0.35 blocks and 7.2 minutes … In 16 games with Sacramento, averaged 2.1 points (41.5% FG), 2.3 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 0.40 blocks and 7.4 minutes … Recorded six points (3-3 FG) and three rebounds at New Orleans on Dec. 8 … Again scored six points to go with a season-high six rebounds at Charlotte on Jan. 22 … Had four points and four rebounds at Toronto on Dec. 17 … Played in one game for the Trail Blazers, recording two points (1-1 FG) and one rebound at Houston on April 5.

You decide: Should the Blazers bring back Papagiannis? Cast your vote and post your comments on why Georgios Papagiannis should stay or go.

Harry Giles

Coming off an underwhelming rookie season, Harry Giles showed flashes of top-level talent, but can he become what the Sacramento Kings are hoping?

Since the 2017 NBA Draft, many Sacramento Kings fans have been optimistic about what Harry Giles can become.

But, at the beginning of the 2018-19 season, Harry Giles struggled, fouling too often and was far too turnover prone. Late in the season, however, he started to get comfortable, showing Sacramento Kings fans the potential and the hype surrounding him.

The first of which, came on November 12th against the Spurs when he posted 12 points and six rebounds in 15 minutes. That game, came after a 30-point performance in the G-League with the Stockton Kings.

In his first NBA season after a red-shirt year, Giles averaged seven points and 3.8 rebounds per game on 50% shooting in 58 games.

These are typical average, rookie-type numbers that Sacramento Kings fans can expect to increase next season. Somewhat disconcertingly though, Giles has a rough history with injuries, having suffered an ACL, MCL and Meniscus tear in his left knee his freshman year in high school, and suffered another ACL injury in his right knee his senior year.

ESPN still ranked him as the No. 1 recruit out of high school, and he committed to Duke University. At Duke University though, he would only play in 26 games, playing just 11 minutes and averaging 3.9 points and 3.8 rebounds per game.

Given his history of injuries, it is amazing how he has bounced back and continues to show potential. Giles has already been putting in the work in the offseason, showing a little versatility against NBA-Great Chris Paul!

Although, this is just a glimpse of what Giles has been working on, there other areas that he should be working on like his handle. That area got better as the season went on, but after a few games, he had as many as four turnovers a game. He also averaged two turnovers per game, but most of the turnovers came off of bad passes.

Giles needs to continue to control his emotion in the game, as it can get him into foul trouble. Highlighted below is a Sacramento Kings vs New York Knicks game, where Giles received a flagrant foul while muscling against Luke Kornet. As he says, “He had no idea, it was that vicious.”

He had an average of about three fouls per game last season.

With his emotion in check though, the sky is the limit!

Harry Giles has so many ways to score and one can see this in the Kings preseason game against the Golden State Warriors, where he had a double-digit scoring night with 17 points.

He did show a glimpse of his shooting touch too, which he should continue to improve on. He only averaged 0.1 threes per game in the 2018-19 season and should look at trying to stretch the floor with next season, which I expect him to do.

What is Giles good at already?

Most Kings fans believe that Giles is Webber-lite.

One of the ways that Giles could be Webber-like is his passing ability. Webber averaged almost four assists in his rookie season in 32 minutes, Giles could go on to average a little less in the same amount of minutes.

From the clip, you can see Giles is good at spotting open teammates cutting to the basket. He has developed chemistry with teammates such as Buddy Hield and Marvin Bagley, and most of his assists come from the top left corner of the free-throw line. Can’t wait to see many more Giles assists this year!

As mentioned above, Giles also has shown he can score in a variety of ways which is mostly in the paint on dunks, lobs, and hook shots. He can score with either hand. Showing the smooth touch. He also tends to run the floor hard so his teammates can easily find him, which also contributed to the fast pace last season! At the beginning of the season, Giles struggled scoring but as he gained confidence and experience, the game started slowing down and started easily scoring.

Iman Shumpert

Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul (3) talks to guard Iman Shumpert (1) during Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals at Toyota Center in Houston, Saturday, May 4, 2019.

Rockets guard Iman Shumpert has a secret, one he’s only willing to share with his teammates for now. It’s a golden nugget on what it takes to overcome a multiple-game deficit in the NBA playoffs.

Asked if he shares the cloak-and-dagger data with his fellow Rockets on how the Cleveland Cavaliers overcame a 3-1 hole to defeat the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 NBA Finals, Shumpert smiled slyly.

“Oh yeah, all the time,” he said. “And I’ll tell you after we come back and win this.”

“This” is the Western Conference semifinals, as the Rockets trail the Warriors 2-1 with Game 4 set for Monday night at Toyota Center. The Rockets needed overtime to earn their first victory of the series on Saturday night in Houston, 126-121, to squeeze their way back into competition against the reigning NBA champs.

Perhaps that’s why Shumpert, who made the most of his 18 minutes against the Warriors on Saturday, was willing to offer at least a sneak preview on Sunday of his valuable odds-beating background with the Cavs.

“Any time you lose a game, people are going to write things, and everybody is going to just seem like the series is over,” Shumpert said. “But until that fourth game is won, it’s anybody’s series at all times. Those finals taught us all that down 2-0, 2-1, 3-1, 3-2, none of that matters, you’ve just got to win that fourth game.”

Shumpert did his part Saturday to help the Rockets inch back in the series with 10 points in 18 minutes off the bench, in making 3-of-5 3-pointers.

“‘Shump’ coming in the game was huge – he made some big shots,” Rockets guard Chris Paul said.

Shumpert’s defense was a tad more ignored, but he was as active as anyone on that end in trying to slow down Kevin Durant (a near impossible task of late in the playoffs) and Klay Thompson, in finally helping give Golden State a setback in the series.

“He’s tough and he’s been there – he’s been through the Finals and knows what it takes,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said of Shumpert. “Whether he makes his shots or not, I was kind of overlooking some of the other things he was giving us, just toughness and his ability to be able to turn up the burners.

“Then when he did knock some shots down, it put us over the top.”

Shumpert, acquired in a deal with the Sacramento Kings in February that included the Rockets’ first-round draft selection this summer, rebounded from a rugged start to the series in the first two games in Oakland, Calif.

Shumpert made one of his four 3-point attempts in the Rockets’ four-point loss in Game 1, and missed all four of his 3-point attempts in a six-point loss in Game 2. All 13 of his field goal attempts in the series are from beyond the 3-point line.

“They played me for longer stints, and I was able to get into a rhythm,” Shumpert said of his Game 3 ricochet.

Speaking of rhythm, outside of basketball Shumpert, 28, is best known for his musical talents, in dabbling in rap when he’s not running up and down the basketball court.

“I tried all types of ways to suppress it, to keep it in the background, but I just do it,” Shumpert said of writing lyrics. “It’s something some people think takes away from what I do. But those two or three hours people use to watch TV or play video games or whatever they choose to do, I just like making music.”

Shumpert’s multiple melodic offerings are available on iTunes and YouTube, among other outlets.

“I write on my own – I write on my phone,” the occasionally-cadenced Shumpert said. “Some people hear music and want to listen. Some people hear music and want to create a beat. I hear music and I just see words, all of the time. I’d rather write papers than take tests – I was that guy (in school).

“I’d rather write a five-page paper, than take a multiple-choice test.”

Shumpert said he first felt the need to suppress the desire to release music, especially as an NBA player, because of the criticism that comes with a subpar basketball outing.

“If I release music and have a bad game, don’t shoot it up to par and we lose, people will say, ‘That’s why they lost – because you were recording music,'” Shumpert said. “For the sake of my teammates and my organization I’d just not (like to) have that dilemma going on.

“A lot of times it’s something completely detached from (the game), but you can’t really talk about that. Because of the demand the game brings.”

Skal Labissiere

Former Sacramento Kings’ first-round pick Skal Labissiere is enjoying the experience of being part of an NBA playoff team.

The chance is over for the Portland Trail Blazers to make the NBA Finals, as they now got swept by the Golden State Warriors. But former Sacramento King Skal Labissiere is just happy to be in the postseason for the first time in his career.

This season did not go according to plan for Labissiere. The plan had to be for him to play a part of the Sacramento Kings’ rebuild back to relevancy, but instead, the former Kentucky Wildcat got traded to Portland just as the trade deadline expired in exchange for Caleb Swanigan.

For the last two-and-a-half years, the Kings have been working on Labissiere’s development. He might have thought he was safe from being traded after adding a surprising amount of muscle last summer. Skal’s physique was the main weakness to his game, but even entering this year stronger, he still struggled to find court time with the Kings.

Skal Had The Potential, It Just Was Not Reached

Even though the Skal Labissiere era is over in Sacramento, he still has a chance to become an asset in the NBA. During his first two NBA seasons, Skal showed incredible promise.

In that 93-game span, he showed enough to convince Kings fans that he could be a stretch-four for their team going forward. But as his career with the Kings went on, inconsistency was an issue which limited the opportunities Dave Joerger gave him when game time came along.

Skal Has A Front-Row Seat

Even though Skal continues to be a deep bench player, he is getting an inside view of what great players and teams must do to make a deep run in the playoffs. The Sacramento Kings have only made the Western Conference Finals once which happened in 2002 against the Los Angeles Lakers. To see a smiling Skal enthusiastically cheering on Damian Lillard, C.J McCollum and company will make him a wiser player.

Labissiere has a total of 11 minutes of court time in the playoffs. That is 11 minutes more than most players on the Kings have experienced ever. Sometimes a trade is a blessing in disguise even when at the time it feels like the end of the world.

Skal is a good teammate who has worked hard to keep a career in the NBA. So he should keep enjoying the rest of the playoffs along with the experience of getting there.

De’Aaron Fox

The Sacramento Kings and their fans can feel comfortable knowing that their point guard in De’Aaron Fox is on a mission to win a championship for their team.

The Sacramento Kings may not be playing in this year’s playoffs, but they are a team that looks to be on the rise.

There are a lot of reasons why the future is bright for the purple and white. But the main one is due to the constant improvement of their young players. The one guy leading the way is second-year pro De’Aaron Fox.

Fox’s Breakout Season

During his sophomore campaign, Fox was excellent for the Kings as he was able to run the team’s fast-paced offense at a high level. As a result, the Kings were one of the more electric squads in the NBA and earned their best seasonal record since 2006.

Individually, Fox had a good season as well as he averaged around 17 points and seven assists per contest while shooting 46% from the court and 37% from the three-point line.

Not Good Enough?

Although Fox and the Kings were able to have a good season, it still seemed like there was unfinished business. Well, at least from Fox’s perspective.

Not too long ago, Fox said how the ultimate goal for the franchise and himself was to win championships and be an All-Star while being with the Kings, which should have fans excited for what the future holds.

Sure, these are just words coming out of Fox’s mouth, but he showed this season that he can back up his words. Not only did he improve statistically as a player, but the effort and energy were also present from the 21-year old and his teammates throughout the season.

In the majority of their games this year, the Kings were playing hard and were competitive against their opponents. Even against the top-tier teams in the league.

Final Thoughts

It is unknown whether the Kings will become a legit title contender in the next few years, but the team and De’Aaron Fox are doing what they can to bring a championship to Sacramento. This year, Fox took on the role of being the franchise’s guy going forward, and as a result, he embraced the opportunity and led his team to success.

The Sacramento Kings have talked the talk and walked the walk so far, and if they are able to make another leap of improvement next season, their fans can believe that they will be present in the postseason.

Willie Cauley-Stein

March Madness was a great time to break these out.

Willie Cauley-Stein

These days the NBA has plenty examples of players making fashion statements, and Willie Cauley-Stein is definitely known as a guy that is interested in his style.

Tonight, he wore a pair of shoes that commemorated his time on the 2014-2015 Kentucky Wildcats team and they were ridiculously cool. I have to admit, sometimes Willie can get a little questionable with his wardrobe decisions, but these shoes looked great and were a special way to honor his former team during March Madness.

The scripting on the shoes read “Willie Cauley Stein 2014-2015 #15 #BBN #Brothers.

Willie Cauley-Stein

Cauley-Stein has established himself as solid NBA player on both ends of the floor. In 71 games played this season with the Sacramento Kings, he his averaging 12.2 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 2.5 assists.

If you follow the NBA at all you probably are used to seeing Cauley Stein’s spectacular highlights that were familiar from his time at Kentucky. His potential was always there, and it is great to see him developing at the next level.