‘This is our team’: Kings GM Monte McNair touts versatility going into training camp

·3 min read

Kings general manager Monte McNair has yet to make a major trade for an established star, but he is touting his team’s talent, depth and versatility with training camp set to begin Tuesday.

The Kings will open camp with eight guards, five centers and a lack of depth on the wing, but McNair shrugged off questions about roster imbalances, saying coach Luke Walton is excited about the team’s positional versatility.

“This is going to be our team going in,” McNair said. “I look at our roster and I see a lot of versatility, guys who can slide up, slide down and really give us different looks. Talking with Luke, I think we’re excited about the possibilities of different lineups, how we can match up in different situations. I think we actually have pretty good roster balance in the sense of, not traditional thinking, but … I think we can put a lot of different lineups out there to match up with whatever we need.”

The Kings have added Davion Mitchell, the No. 9 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, to a crowded backcourt that already includes De’Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, Terence Davis, Jahmi’us Ramsey and Robert Woodard II. The Kings have also added Matt Coleman III, an undrafted rookie from Texas, on a nonguaranteed training camp contract, a league source told The Sacramento Bee on Friday. Coleman was a member of the Kings summer league squad that went unbeaten to win the Las Vegas Summer League championship.

At the forward spots, the Kings have Harrison Barnes, Maurice Harkless, Louis King, Marvin Bagley III, Chimezie Metu and Emanuel Terry. The center position features Richaun Holmes, Tristan Thompson, Alex Len, Damian Jones and rookie Neemias Queta. The Kings will likely add another player to their training camp roster, but this is the group they expect to have when the season starts Oct. 19.

“So far, I think what I’ve liked the most is the versatility of our entire roster, seeing different combinations out there and envisioning others we can try,” McNair said. “I think, at least compared to last year, we have a lot of tools in the toolbelt that Luke can use whether it’s to match up smaller, bigger, more offense, more defense. I think the versatility of the roster, not just positionally, but skillset wise, is really interesting.”

The Kings went 31-41 to finish 12th in the Western Conference last season, missing the playoffs for the 15th consecutive season to tie the longest postseason drought in NBA history. If they can’t end the drought this season, the Kings will stand alone with a dubious record for futility.

“We certainly know that and acknowledge that, but, again, we can’t just snap our fingers and get there, so right now with training camp looming around the corner, it’s a narrow focus,” McNair said. “Luke and his staff have already been prepping to get the guys going next week and it’s what can we do in the near term? What can we do on Day 1 and continue that into Day 2-3, etc.? But that’s really the focus. One step at a time.”

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