When the Sacramento Kings brought 19 players into training camp, they too brought in the understanding that at least four of those players would be cut before the season began. According to The Hoops Market, point guard Donald Sloan and swingman J.R. Giddens were the first to go.
Among point guards, Sloan is survived by Tyreke Evans, Beno Udrih, Luther Head, and Pooh Jeter. It’s unlikely that both Head and Jeter would make the final roster even without Sloan in the mix, so this initial cut is merely thinning the ranks a bit.
Giddens was the first cut from the even more crowded wing crop, and considering Sacramento’s depth at both shooting guard and small forward, Giddens was a long-shot at best to even be a late cut. Giddens is athletic with NBA skills (rebounding, mid-range shooting), but there are too many wings on the Kings’ roster with guaranteed contracts and more interesting prospects among the camp tryouts, to boot.
The Kings are clearly exploring their options going into camp, and according to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports, former Celtic (and more recently, Mavericks’ Summer Leaguer) J.R. Giddens will be joining free agent cast-off Luther Head in Sacramento for training camp. Giddens, too, was signed to a make-good, non-guaranteed contract, but will try to play his way on to the Kings’ regular season roster.
Sacramento appears concerned with filling out their roster with wings, but neither Head nor Giddens would be a candidate for regular playing time. Even if Sacramento doesn’t yet have a clear-cut starter at the three (Omri Casspi? Donté Greene? Francisco Garcia?) they have too many capable players at both positions to warrant giving Giddens a serious look.
It’s not that Giddens is a bad player. He’s still a fringe NBA prospect, even if his instincts do manage to get him in trouble at times. He’s an NBA athlete, a good rebounder for his position, and a decent on-ball defender. A useful, but hardly necessary, offensive player. The fundamental problem with Giddens’ game is that he doesn’t give coaches a reason to play him. He’ll never force his way into a rotation. He’s just a reasonably effective last resort at the end of the bench, with little hope of climbing the ladder without notable improvement in his game.
Still, he’ll vie for that the honor to sit at the end of the Sacramento’s bench, and the one roster spot they have left. For a player like J.R., guaranteed money is the goal, and his ability to hang around in the NBA this season will likely hinge on his ability to impress the Kings.