Sacramento Kings: The stabilizing presence of Garrett Temple

Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images
Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images /

The Sacramento Kings made a point to add a veteran presence in free agency this offseason, but a key leader remains on the court and in the locker room with Garrett Temple.

Carrying a roster as young and inexperienced as they have, it was vital for the Sacramento Kings to find veterans through free agency to help set an example for the team this offseason.

As we know, those reinforcements quickly came in the form of George Hill, Zach Randolph and Vince Carter. Now with the team in training camp and preseason about to get underway, the effects of bringing in players of their respective caliber and pedigree are already shining through even before the regular season begins.

But as much as it was a priority for the Kings to add some experience to their side during the summer, it wasn’t as if they didn’t possess players who brought the essential qualities needed to fuel a functional and working environment, even for a team that had been derided for not having one for many years.

The player that quickly comes to mind is Garrett Temple.

Coming to Sacramento after signing a three-year, $24 million deal during last summer’s spending spree in free agency, Temple has emerged as an upstanding leader for the Kings, especially as the team switched directions midway through the season last year.

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Through it all, however, Temple stood as a fixture of consistency during his first season in Sacramento, as he brought the same qualities he’s been known for since finding a place in the league over the last few years.

In 65 appearances last year, 21 of them being starts, Temple averaged a career-high 7.8 points on 42.4 percent shooting from the field and 37.3 percent shooting from deep, along with 2.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game.

But Temple’s impact was felt beyond traditional or more advanced numbers while on the court. While Temple plays primarily in an off ball role, he’s certainly capable of putting the ball on the floor to create for himself or for others.

On the defensive end of the floor, Temple’s calling card, the Louisiana native is tough to break down, being that he’s a strong, rugged perimeter defender who can match up against the toughest of wings from all around the league.

Beyond his performance on the court, Temple was named Teammate of the Year on behalf of the Kings as part of the Players Voice Awards by the National Basketball Players Association, an honor he also earned for the 2015-16 season as a member of the Washington Wizards.

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Now with a new season nearing, the eighth of Temple’s NBA career, the 31-year-old stands as an even more integral piece in the Kings’ roster. Temple, along with big man Kosta Koufos, remain as the only holdover veterans from last year’s squad.

With plenty of options to work with in the backcourt, Kings head coach Dave Joerger is not in an envious position of having to sort out the minutes for players who can set the tone on the floor and players who need playing time to develop.

Make no mistake, though, Temple is sure to get plenty of run all throughout the season, whether it will be at the 2-spot or even at the small forward position.

Having the wealth of experience he carries, the best hope is Temple’s expertise carries through on a young and impressionable roster over the course of the year. Of course, he won’t be alone in doing that with the additions of Hill, Randolph and Carter, which serve as a big boon for the Kings in that regard.

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But as he’s shown in his now solid and steady career in the league, there’s much more to expect from a player of Temple’s capabilities and guidance and we’ll soon see the effects of it with the season inching ever closer.