Kings hit stretch run with versatile roster and plenty of veteran depth


In what looks like a minor roster move, the Sacramento Kings have inked Corey Brewer to a second 10-day contract. Brewer, 32, has yet to see action in a Kings uniform after signing his original deal on Feb. 8.

Why bring back Brewer if there isn’t a spot in the rotation? It’s about versatility.

While the 12-year NBA veteran has bounced around the league like a pinball over his career, he brings a tenacity on the defensive end that the Kings desperately need.

At 6-foot-9 and 185 pounds, Brewer can match up against twos, threes and fours in the modern NBA game. Whether it’s a five-minute stretch or locking down an elite player for 25 minutes, Brewer knows his role and takes pride at doing his job.

That seems to be the focus of the Kings’ acquisitions at the deadline. In a rebalancing of the roster, the Kings sent out Iman Shumpert, Justin Jackson, Skal Labissiere and Ben McLemore.

In return, they brought in Brewer, along with Harrison Barnes, Alec Burks and Caleb Swanigan. Where they lacked size before, they no longer do.

Barnes has quickly found a home as the team’s starting small forward, taking over Shumpert’s spot in the rotation. His ability to play the three and the four allows coach Dave Joerger to try new things and through three games, he’s played Barnes a team-high 36 minutes a night.

“We definitely got bigger, Harrison is a legit three and can slide to the four,” point guard De’Aaron Fox told NBC Sports California last week. “Other than that, we brought in some more shooting, guys that can score, put the ball in the basket. I think we got a little bit better.”

Like Barnes, Burks is extremely versatile on both ends of the court. He can play some point, move over to the two and in a pinch, slide down to the three in smaller lineups. He also allows Bogdan Bogdanovic an opportunity to catch his breath and play off the ball for stretches.

“With Alec, we have a smart, veteran player who can do a little bit of everything,” Bogdanovic told NBC Sports California. “He knows how to play.”

Burks is still getting acclimated to the speed and pace the Kings play at, but he has been a steadying influence when he’s played. Like Barnes and Brewer, he understands that it’s the little things that sometimes mean the difference between winning and losing at the NBA level.

For a team that walked into the trade deadline with major needs, Vlade Divac and his staff did a nice of job of filling gaps. They brought in multi-positional veterans that might make a two or three game difference in the standings during the stretch run.  

“That’s what the NBA is, kind of position-less and guys that are able to everything on the floor,” Fox said.

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The Kings have talked about position-less basketball for a while, but their roster through the first half of the season wasn’t anywhere near as versatile as it is today.

With just 25 games remaining, there isn’t a lot of time to let the pot simmer. Joerger needs to quickly find a way to put the pieces to his new puzzle together. It’s a tall task, but Divac delivered him a group of solid veterans that understand their roles and what it takes to get to the next level.

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