After the DeMarcus trade, the Sacramento Kings knew their season was over. They had no chance to make the playoffs, despite nearing the 8th seed before the trade deadline. Sacramento knew that the remainder of the season was to focus on the young players, develop them, and get them prepared for next year. One player who took advantage of this and showcased to the world his ridiculous potential was Skal Labissiere.
Post All-Star break, Skal averaged 10.8 points, 6 rebounds and 1 assist per game while shooting 54% from the field. It’s important to note he only averaged 22.4 minutes per game, as he was still putting up solid numbers on limited minutes. Skal showed a great amount of improvement throughout the whole season, and the Kings may be to credit for that.
In the beginning of the year, Skal had no place in the rotation and often never even dressed out. This is largely due to the fact the Kings had a surplus of bigs, which meant Skal was the odd man out. Since Sacramento didn’t want to hinder his development, they let him play in the D-league.
Labissiere had the challenge of playing in a D-league game, flying back to Sacramento or wherever the Kings were playing and be with the Kings. So, essentially Skal was on two teams for a stretch of the season. The D-league allowed Skal to develop his game and get comfortable playing again, as he clearly wasn’t comfortable when playing in college at Kentucky. In the D-league, Skal averaged 14.9 points and 7.6 rebounds per game in 17 games played.
What is it about Skal’s game that make Kings fan love and praise him so much? Fans could start with his jumper. Skal’s mid-range jumper is picturesque. He gets great elevation to go along with his great form that allows him to get off a shot when players are in his face.
His mid-range J is also very efficient. On shots between 16-feet and the 3-point line, he shot 58%. There is no doubt that Skal can develop into one of the best stretch 4’s in the game, as he even showed he had 3-point range a few times this season.
Another one of Skal’s assets is his remarkable athleticism. Coaches can’t teach athleticism, as players are either athletic or they are not. Luckily for the Kings, Skal is. There isn’t much critics can say about it. He has the ability to rise up and dunk on others, get up and block or contest shots, and that is very valuable for NBA teams.
Possibly his most important trait, is Skal’s work ethic and wanting to get better. Every game, he would be talking and asking players such as Garrett Temple and Anthony Tolliver on ways to get better and improve his game. Not many players in the NBA has his kind of work ethic, and strives to be great like he does. This is un-coachable, and valuable to every team.
Labissiere can become one of the best players in this league. He has every trait scouts look for in a young prospect and there isn’t a reason he can’t become great. The Kings have a potential star-in-the-making and need to take advantage of it.
Keep him. Develop him. Play him.
Do whatever it takes to surround Skal with players to help him and his game. Sign him veterans to teach and encourage him. Skal has proven he has all the potential in the world this year, let’s hope he continues to build on it and lead the Kings in the future.