Basketball Insiders talks to Jimmer Fredette at the Las Vegas Summer League.
Garrett Temple on the Sacramento Kings, Free Agency and More
After years of playing on minimum contracts, being waived and bouncing around from team to team, Garrett Temple finally has some job security and a lucrative NBA contract. The 30-year-old recently signed a three-year, $24 million deal with the Sacramento Kings.
Temple’s contract will pay him $8,000,000 each season (with a player option for the final year), which is more than double what he earned over his first six years in the NBA combined.
When fans think of the NBA lifestyle, they typically imagine enormous mansions, ridiculous cars and full bank accounts. This is understandable, especially at a time like this when NBA teams are handing out some of the largest contracts in league history. While some players live a luxurious lifestyle and most are very comfortable (if they manage their money well), there are plenty of players who make significantly less than you would expect.
In the NBA D-League last season, salaries ranged from $13,000 to $25,000. And the $25,000 base salary is for the star players – many individuals earn significantly less.
Even if a player gets called up on a 10-day contract, their financial concerns don’t suddenly vanish. A 10-day contract pays 170th of a player’s designated minimum contract (based on their years of NBA experience). So, for example, an undrafted rookie on a 10-day contract will earn $31,969. While that’s obviously a lot of money for “10 days of work,” the player actually spent the entire year making sacrifices and working to get that opportunity.
This is why many players simply choose to go overseas and sign a seven-figure contract with an international team. Yes, they have to give up their NBA dream, but it’s much easier to support themselves (and their family) and comes with far more certainty.
Which brings us back to Temple, who is finally being rewarded after years of enduring the stress that comes with chasing an NBA dream. Temple had to grind extremely hard to get to where he is today.
After going undrafted in 2009, he started his professional basketball career in the D-League. Then, Temple proceeded to play for many different teams. Over the last six years, he had regular-season stints with six different NBA franchises (Houston, Sacramento, San Antonio, Milwaukee, Charlotte and Washington) and three different D-League teams (Rio Grande Valley, Erie and Reno). He also spent a season in Italy back in 2011. This doesn’t even include the teams he tried out for and didn’t make, like when he was the final training-camp cut by Miami in 2012.
He knows all too well that professional basketball is a business and has faced rejection many times, but he never gave up on making it in the league.
Finally, in recent years, Temple stuck with the Wizards and became a key player for them. In mid-December of last year, Temple became a starter when Bradley Beal was injured. He took full advantage of the opportunity, leading Washington to three straight victories over the Charlotte Hornets, Sacramento Kings and Memphis Grizzlies. He totaled 64 points, 16 rebounds, seven assists and four steals in the three contests while shooting 53.5 percent from the field and 45.5 percent from three.
Temple averaged 7.3 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists and one steal on the season, and got 43 starts under his belt. Still, he was on a minimum contract and his future was up in the air due to his looming unrestricted free agency.
However, this time around, not having a contract was great for Temple because NBA talent evaluators were noticing his production and how positive things typically happened when he was on the court. They saw that he hustled extremely hard, did the dirty work, made smart plays and defended the perimeter very well.
It’s no coincidence that the Wizards’ best plus-minus lineup from the 2015-16 season featured Temple, as did the two highest-scoring lineups they rolled out last year. Also, Temple led the Wizards in Defensive Rating (allowing 101 points per 100 possessions) and the team’s defense was noticeably worse when he was off the court (allowing 106.1 points per 100 possessions).
Temple ranked 11th among all shooting guards in Defensive Real Plus-Minus, which estimates a player’s on-court defensive impact. The metric Real Plus-Minus Wins estimates how many victories a player contributed to their team’s win total, and Temple’s RPM Wins for last season was 3.54 (tying him with Andrew Wiggins and putting him ahead of All-Star Dwyane Wade among others).
Suddenly, Temple was highly coveted. After being passed over time and time again throughout his career, he received interest from nearly a third of the NBA after free agency got underway on July 1. In addition to the Kings and Wizards, the Boston Celtics, New Orleans Pelicans, Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Brooklyn Nets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Memphis Grizzlies and Denver Nuggets also expressed some level of interest in Temple’s services.
And not only is he popular among executives these days, Temple is respected by his peers.
“Garrett was a great teammate and a good friend in Washington,” said Houston Rockets big man Nene, who played with Temple in Washington. “He worked extremely hard every day and he was always a positive influence on all of us. I’m very happy to see how much he has accomplished. He deserves everything that is happening for him and he is the perfect example of hard work paying off.”
“Garrett is someone who has improved every year he has been in the league and is quietly one of the best perimeter defenders whom no one talks about,” Los Angeles Clippers guard Jamal Crawford said. “This could be a true breakout year for him.”
The Kings are hoping that’s the case, banking on the belief that Temple’s best basketball is still ahead of him and he just needs an opportunity to showcase his complete skill set.
Basketball Insiders recently caught up with Temple to discuss his free agency decision, why he decided to join the Kings, how Sacramento is trying to change their culture and much more.
Alex Kennedy: What was it like going through free agency? You received a lot of interest from teams. I know some players like free agency and some hate it. What did you think of the process?
Garrett Temple: “Well this was my first time going through the process and having more than one or two teams actually interested, so that was different. I had a new agent this time – this is my first year with [Mark] Bartelstein. All of those things made it a little… I don’t want to say nerve-wracking, but I was anxious. It’s not like I didn’t know if I would be in the NBA or not, it was just a matter of figuring out the numbers and what team. It was just a very anxious time for me, I had nerves, but I was very excited as well. I soaked it all in.”
Kennedy: What’s it like going from being a guy who has bounced around the NBA and faced a lot of rejection to having a ton of teams call you and being highly coveted? How nice is it knowing that you have some stability now?
Temple: “Yeah, it’s definitely nice to know that! Even in Washington, my first year was obviously a non-guaranteed deal until January. Then, I signed a one-year deal, so I was basically playing for a new contract again. Then, I signed a two-year deal, which was good. But I’ve been on 10-day contracts here and 10-day contracts there, not knowing where I’d be next. It was really fulfilling to have teams call me on the first night of free agency. And that was part of the reason why I chose Sacramento. One or two other teams actually called, but the Kings had all of the brass call that first night: Vlade [Divac], Ken Catanella, Coach [Dave] Joerger. I got the chance to talk to all of them on the first night and they explained to me how I’d fit with their team and what they saw me doing. It feels great to have some job security, and I’ve been playing for the minimum for my whole career so to get paid a little more is obviously a plus as well.”
Kennedy: What role did they describe to you? How do they envision you fitting in?
Temple: “First and foremost, Coach Joerger just told me how much he likes my versatility and how important that is in today’s NBA since [teams want] guys that can guard multiple positions. I feel like I can guard one through three, for sure, and I can even guard some fours with the way the league is these days. That’s valuable. He also said he enjoyed what I was able to do in terms of improving on the offensive end this year. It probably helped that I had 20 points against Memphis [and Coach Joerger] and 23 points against Sacramento this past year (laughs). They want me to play the one, two and three. They like my leadership abilities. He said, ‘I’ve seen you play and from what I’m hearing, you’re a great locker room guy too – one of the best in the league.’ Obviously the culture here is something that needs to be put back on the right track. You see the guys that we’ve signed: Arron Afflalo, good veteran guy; Matt Barnes, good veteran guy; Anthony Tolliver, good veteran guy. We’re guys who are going to try to come in here and help. We all approach the game a certain way and hopefully we can teach that to the young guys. They were adamant that they envision me being an integral part of the team and that was obviously great to hear, especially with my background. Being valued as a guy who can produce and will be relied on every night is something that I’ve been waiting for a long time.”
Kennedy: That was my next question for you. You’ve shown what you can do when given minutes and now it seems like your role is about to significantly expand. Do you expect this to be a breakout, career-year for you?
Temple: “I think so. I think the opportunity is there. Like I said, Coach Joerger believes in my abilities and that I can produce, so I’ll be on the court a good amount this year. I really plan on working on my game this summer, working on the aspects of my game that need to improve. I’ll be playing some point guard this year, and obviously playing the two and the three as well. But I’m working on my decision-making coming off of ball screens. People don’t realize that I’m a pretty good decision-maker and that I played point guard a lot growing up. I played point guard my whole high school career and a lot in college. The last couple of years I’ve been playing on the wing more, but I’m going to show people that I’m a versatile guy that can play the one, two and three.”
Kennedy: You played in Sacramento earlier in your career. Fair or not, there’s this perception that the Kings are dysfunctional and that players don’t want to be there. You chose to go back there and, like you said, they are trying to bring in veterans to change the culture. But what do you make of that perception? Is it overstated that players don’t want to be in Sacramento?
Temple: “Actually, my first year here was my rookie year and I was on a 10-day contract. I had come here from Houston. They offered me a contract so instead of going back to the D-League, I would go to Sacramento. Of course [I said yes]. Then, I had a choice between Sacramento and San Antonio, and I decided to leave to go to San Antonio. Because, obviously, San Antonio was San Antonio. It was 2010. But honestly, the [Kings] franchise wasn’t in a great place. The new ownership, the new front office and obviously Coach Joerger are understanding what it’s going to take to build a team and they know it starts with the culture of the team first. You have to have the right culture, from the equipment manager all the way up to the owner. From the things they’ve told me, they’re on board and willing to make this a culture where people want to come play and want to come win. And I’m very happy to be a part of the start of that.”
Kennedy: Let’s talk about the expectations for this team. DeMarcus Cousins is one of the best centers in the NBA, if not the best, and…
Temple: “He’s the best center in the NBA.”
Kennedy: Alright, well let’s start there. How excited are you to play with DeMarcus?
Temple: “I’m excited. I’m excited, man. I’m excited for him to be on my side instead of having to game-plan against him. He’s a guy who is just so talented and he’s been able to add the three-point shot to his arsenal as well.
“As far as expectations, I envision us playing a more up-tempo game with the pieces that we have, and I see us being able to win a lot more games than people think. Our division has obviously gotten competitive with a certain move (laughs, referring to the Warriors signing Kevin Durant to Golden State), but I envision us being able to win games with the veterans we’ve brought in plus the guys already on the team like DeMarcus, Rudy [Gay], D.C. [Darren Collison] and Kosta Koufos, who is a great post player who can score and do a lot of things. I think we have a chance to push for a playoff spot, man. That’s definitely going to be the goal.”
NBA Daily: The Losers of the NBA Draft
Shane Rhodes breaks down the losers of the 2018 NBA Draft.
The 2018 NBA Draft season has come to a close. And, while the actual draft wasn’t the fireworks show that it could have been, there was still plenty of surprises, both good and bad.
While Basketball Insiders’ Simon Hannig discussed the winners of the draft, not everyone was so fortunate. And, while the draft can come down to chance, some teams were worse off than others.
Let’s take a look at some of the bigger losers from draft night
Talk about heartbreak.
Mikal Bridges was going home. The Philadelphia 76ers selected the Villanova standout with the No. 10 pick. Bridges did an entire press conference, talking about what it was like to be staying in Philadelphia. His mother, Tyneeha Rivers, is even the Global VP of Human Resources for Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, the company that owns the team. It was perfect.
And then it wasn’t.
Mikal Bridges just did an entire press conference talking about staying in Philly. He was traded as it ended. He had no idea.
— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) June 22, 2018
It’s hard to not feel bad for Bridges, who was dropped into a dream scenario and then had it all ripped away. Going to the Phoenix Suns, an organization heading in a new direction, to play alongside plenty of young, high upside talent, including No. 1 pick Deandre Ayton as well as former lottery picks Josh Jackson and Devin Booker, isn’t the worst thing in the world for the rookie forward. Bridges could even flourish in Phoenix.
But it certainly won’t compare to playing under the bright lights in Philadelphia alongside Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid come next April and for years to come.
Michael Porter Jr.
One year ago, Michael Porter Jr. was a top three draft prospect projected to go as high as No. 1 overall. However, with rumors of questionable medicals swirling throughout the draft process, he dropped all the way to the Denver Nuggets at No. 14 overall.
While Porter will certainly welcome the chip on his shoulder, the lost earnings will definitely hurt him and his pocket. Porter is missing out on millions on his first NBA contract. Plus, the sheer amount of teams that balked at his medicals doesn’t bode well for his long-term future in the NBA.
It isn’t all bad for Porter; Denver has a young, talented roster and was one win away from a postseason birth last year. They can afford to be patient with Porter’s back, should he need to miss some time, as well. Standing 6-foot-11, 211 pounds and with a smooth jumper, Porter still has a great chance to be a star in this league.
Still, it was an inauspicious beginning to what, hopefully, is a long NBA career.
This could apply to the Sacramento Kings roster as well as their fanbase.
The Kings got “their guy” in No. 2 overall pick Marvin Bagley III. And, while Bagley is still an amazing talent, the pick just seems like more of the same for the Kings, who have a glut of bigs — Willie-Cauley Stein, Harry Giles III, Skal Labissiere, Kostas Koufos — on the roster and a distinct lack of high-quality guard or wing depth.
In steps Luka Dončić, the 19-year-old Slovenian phenom. With the Suns taking Ayton with the top pick, the Kings had their chance to shore up their backcourt for the foreseeable future alongside De’Aaron Fox and move another step closer to relevancy.
And they whiffed.
Dončić could very well end up as the best player in the class. While he isn’t the most athletic, Dončić is exactly where the NBA is going; he is a multipositional defender and playmaker that can shoot the three. Meanwhile, Bagley, who is a questionable fit in the modern game, will be hardpressed to find playing time early on in his Kings tenure. Even worse, with their hearts set on Bagley, the Kings likely could have traded down a la the Atlanta Hawks and picked up another asset for their troubles.
While it’s much too early to call it either way, this is a pick that could come back to haunt Sacramento down the line.
It was not a great night for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Cavaliers missed out on one point-guard prospect, Trae Young, and another, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, flat out said he didn’t want to play for the franchise. And, even though they got a guard they liked in Alabama’s Collin Sexton, the Cavaliers are still in the unenviable position of dealing with LeBron James’ third iteration of The Decision.
Sexton’s selection doesn’t exactly help them retain James’ services either.
Since acquiring the pick from the Boston Celtics in the Kyrie Irving trade last summer, it had been speculated as to whether Cleveland would use the pick or trade it to get James help. With the team opting for the former, it’s difficult to imagine the Cavaliers getting any significant help for James, in free agency or otherwise, which could push him closer to leaving than he already may be. Meanwhile, Sexton, who dominated the ball during his time at Alabama, isn’t exactly the best fit alongside James in the event that he stays.
Either way, there appears to be a bumpy road ahead for the Cavaliers.
Troy Brown Jr. is a great pickup for the Washington Wizards. That still doesn’t mean he wasn’t a reach.
Brown is a twitchy wing that can defend multiple positions. But there were multiple wings that Washington could have taken ahead of Brown (e.g., Lonnie Walker II) that would have made this a better pick. Brown struggled as a shooter during his lone season at Oregon — he shot just 29.1 percent from three and has some iffy mechanics — and is a strange fit on the Wizards roster that already has a surplus of wing depth in John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter Jr. and Kelly Oubre.
With the team looking to move Marcin Gortat, a big would have been a better fit for Washington at 15. Or, if management was deadset on Brown, dropping back a few spots would have made more sense.
Brown certainly has the talent to make an impact, but it’s hard to like a pick that may not crack the rotation in year one, according to the Wizards own General Manager.
The Toronto Raptors took a big step earlier this offseason, moving on from Dwane Casey and placing Nick Nurse at the helm in early June.
But, with zero picks in a loaded draft, the Raptors have to be considered losers.
There were plenty of difference makers available up-and-down the draft board, but the Raptors didn’t end up with any of them. While management could improve the team via trade or free agency come July, they still feature the same roster that got manhandled in the Eastern Conference Semifinals by James and the Cavaliers and that isn’t good.
Not everyone can come out a winner in a crapshoot like the NBA Draft. Still, some teams found themselves worse off than others when all was said and done. Luckily, those teams still have a chance to improve themselves with free agency right around the corner.
NBA Daily: The Winners Of The NBA Draft
Simon Hannig breaks down the winners from Thursday’s 2018 NBA Draft.
The 2018 NBA Draft has come and gone, and although many teams have improved coming out of this loaded draft, five teams seemed to have walked away as the biggest winners.
The Phoenix Suns Got Their Guy
The Suns made a couple of splashes in the draft, selecting DeAndre Ayton with the first overall pick.
The Suns then drafted Zhaire Smith, but later traded his rights to the Philadelphia 76ers for Mikal Bridges.
In the second round of the draft, Phoenix selected Frenchman Elie Okobo and George King from Colorado, each of whom should be able to contribute right away. Ayton should be the starting center come opening night and Bridges could also start for the team immediately. If not, Bridges will be a valuable weapon coming off the bench for a team who is trying to win games and get back into the playoffs.
Does Mo Bamba Have The (Orlando) Magic?
The Orlando Magic got a stud in Mo Bamba, whom they surprisingly selected with the sixth overall pick in the draft. They later drafted Melvin Frazier in the second round. It was a bit surprising that the Tulane product lasted that long, but the Magic benefitted.
Orlando got a player who can contribute right away and could compete for a starting job. Frazier is a great rebounder and defender and could change the team’s defense all by himself. The club now has two young core pieces they can build around in Jonathan Isaac and Bamba and a young contributor in Frazier.
Although the team’s offense will likely be work in progress, they can be very scary on the defensive end.
Now, we’ll all wait to see if Bamba, the New York product, can carry the Magic back to respectability.
Atlanta Hawks Will Let It Fly
After drafting Luka Doncic with the third overall pick, the Hawks ended up sending him to Dallas in exchange for Trae Young and a future protected first round pick. The pick is top-five protected the next two years, top-three protected in 2021 and 2022 and unprotected in 2023, according to Mavs president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson.
With their second first round pick, the Hawks took sharpshooter Kevin Huerter from Maryland and, with the 30th overall pick, selected Omari Spellman from Villanova.
Atlanta appears to building themselves in the way of the Warriors, getting sharpshooters in Young and Huerter. It is no surprise they are doing this as their current general manager, Travis Schlenk, worked with Golden State before taking the job with the Hawks.
The Rich Got Richer In Boston
The Celtics once again got a steal in the draft, as they were the beneficiaries as it relates to Robert Williams from Texas A&M. He is an athletic big man who plays great defense and rebounds the ball very well. Williams has lottery talent but ended up falling to the Celtics, who selected him with the 27th pick of the draft.
Williams averaged 2.5 blocks per game at Texas and should also be able to provide second chance opportunities for the team. Williams, as he averaged three offensive rebounds per game in college.
Luka Doncic Found A Good Home
The Dallas Mavericks walked away from the 2018 NBA Draft with two foundational pieces in tow, Dennis Smith Jr. and Luka Doncic. Their other moves were also tremendous, as they drafted Jalen Brunson from Villanova, acquired Ray Spalding from Louisville in a trade with the Sixers and drafted Kostas Antetokounmpo (Giannis’ younger brother) with the last piece in the draft.
For Mark Cuban, it may take time to develop the pieces, but if things could go well, the Mavs might have some productive years ahead.
Doncic was thought to be one of, if not the best player available in the draft, so getting him at the expense of a protected future first round pick seems like a fair trade. Depending on how ready he is to contribute at the NBA level, the sky could be the limit.
Of course, every year, there are surprises. Some good, and some bad. However, walking away from the 2018 NBA Draft, these five teams all appear to have improved themselves immensely.
NBA Draft Night Trades
David Yapkowitz breaks down the trades that took place during the 2018 NBA Draft.
Another NBA Draft has come and gone. With rumors swirling all week about possible pick/player movement, the night remained relatively uneventful. There were a few trades that occurred, however. Here’s a quick breakdown of the movement that happened on draft night.
1. Atlanta Hawks/Dallas Mavericks
The Hawks and Mavericks completed the first trade of the night early on in the draft. Leading up to the draft, there were questions about how high Luka Doncic was going to be drafted. It was widely assumed that he wouldn’t slip past Dallas at No. 5. The Mavericks weren’t going to take that chance as the Hawks drafted Doncic with the intention of trading him to Dallas for Trae Young.
Both teams ultimately get what they need. It’s been reported that the Hawks might move on from Dennis Schroder this summer and they’ll need a point guard to replace him. Young is an explosive scorer who will fit in nicely with Atlanta’s rebuild. He can score from anywhere on the court and he’s a great playmaker as well.
For the Mavericks, they get a guy to add to their own young core with Dennis Smith Jr. and Harrison Barnes. Doncic has the size to play next to Smith in the backcourt. He’s quite possibly the best playmaker in the draft with a solid offensive game as well.
2. Charlotte Hornets/Los Angeles Clippers
The Hornets and Clippers consummated the second move the night by swapping their own draft picks. The Hornets took Shai Gilgeous-Alexander with the 11th pick and then immediately traded him to the Clippers for Miles Bridges, whom Los Angeles selected at No. 12.
For the Hornets, they get a guy who can play both forward positions. Bridges is more of a small forward but in small ball lineups, he can slide over to the four. Offensively he is at his best when he puts the ball on the floor and attacks the rim. He’s a decent shooter too.
The Clippers get a point guard who was rumored to climbing up many draft boards as the night approached. Gilgeous-Alexander is a solid pick for them provided both Patrick Beverly and Milos Teodosic’ injury history. He can also play off the ball if need be. He’s got the physical tools to be a very good defender at the NBA level. It’s not at all far-fetched to imagine him as the future long-term starting point guard for the Clippers.
The Hornets also got two future second-round picks from the Clippers.
3. Philadelphia 76ers/Phoenix Suns
The Sixers and the Suns had the next move of draft night, also swapping their picks. The Sixers selected hometown hero Mikal Bridges with the No. 10 pick and later traded him to the Suns for the No. 16 pick, Zhaire Smith.
Bridges made a lot of sense for the Sixers. Not only is he a local guy, but his mother works for the team as well. He was a talented player who fit their team. He gave a post-draft press conference raving about being a Sixer all the while he had been traded already. But such is life in the NBA. Instead, Phoenix gets a guy that’s ready to contribute in the NBA right away. He’s the prototypical 3&D type guy.
For the Sixers, Zhaire Smith is another guy who was steadily climbing the boards in the days leading up to the draft. He’s a very athletic prospect with good defensive instincts. He probably won’t play much right away, but he does have the potential to end up being one of the better rotation players in this draft.
The Sixers also get a 2021 first-round pick from the Suns via the Miami Heat. It’s highly likely this ends up being a lottery pick and thus giving the Sixers the chance to add a high-end talent to an already potent group.
4. Second-Round moves
There are a few second-round moves that were made as well.
For one, the Hawks selected Devonte Graham with the 34th pick and traded him to the Hornets for two future second-round picks. Graham is another NBA ready guy who can come in and immediately contend for backup point guard minutes behind Kemba Walker.
The Sixers were involved in another deal sending the No. 38 pick Khyri Thomas to the Detroit Pistons for two future second-round picks. Thomas is a player that many projected to go in the first round. For a team that didn’t have a first-round pick coming into the night, the Pistons essentially picked one up. It’s possible he turns out better than Detroit’s most recent first-rounders Henry Ellenson and Luke Kennard.
The Sacramento Kings drafted Gary Trent Jr. with the 37th pick only to trade him to the Portland Trail Blazers for two future second-round picks. Trent was one of the better shooters in the draft and that’s what he projects to the be in the NBA. He’s probably a few years away from earning a spot in the rotation but he was also a possible first-round pick. He’s more NBA ready than Anfernee Simons who the Blazers took in the first-round.
The Orlando Magic and Denver Nuggets swapped second-round picks with the Magic sending the No. 41 pick Jarred Vanderbilt to the Nuggets for the No. 43 pick Justin Jackson and a future second-round pick. Vanderbilt is a project in every sense of the word. He’s extremely raw and probably needed more time in college. But he’s got long-term potential and could pay off in the future. Jackson, on the other hand, was possibly a first-round talent had he entered the draft last year. He’s going to have to make the roster but could be a 3&D guy.
In the final move of the night, the Hornets traded the No. 45 pick Hamidou Diallo to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Diallo is a guy that had he come out last year, probably would’ve been a first-round guy. In any case, he is also very raw and will need seasoning in the G-League. He’s got all the physical tools and skill to be a good rotation NBA player.