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Sacramento Kings double down on offense with DeMar DeRozan signing

The Sacramento Kings acquired six-time NBA All-Star DeMar DeRozan in a trade deal involving the Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs – ironically, two of DeRozan’s former employers.

The NBA community at large seems divided on the acquisition, almost entirely because of Sacramento’s lack of defense. DeRozan, who averaged 25.5 points in three seasons in Chicago, is known primarily for his scoring, not his knack for preventing others from doing the same.

It’s a strange reaction, considering the rest of the Kings’ lineup has been a real drag on the offense since the beginning. The team’s center, Domantas Sabonis, is far from an effective rim defender, which is by far the most important defensive position on the court.

But he is a triple-double machine (26 last season), one of the league’s best passers (8.2 assists) and is averaging 20 points per game on nearly 60 percent shooting.

Malik Monk, who recently signed a new deal to remain in Sacramento, is also not a strong defender; he prefers to showcase his offensive skills instead, as evidenced by his 15.4 points and 5.1 assists off the bench last season.

Keegan Murray and De’Aaron Fox are both excellent defenders, Fox even more so than Murray, but if anyone were to judge which side of the court they excel at, few would point to their defense.

So it’s fair to ask what exactly people expected the Kings to do after their big recent move this summer. Even if they found a defense-oriented player, how much of an impact would that have on a roster that’s heavily offense-oriented?

The acquisition of DeRozan may not help them in that particular department, but the soon-to-be 35-year-old will certainly help them in other areas.

First, DeRozan is an incredibly efficient playmaker. In 2,989 minutes last season, including 1,355 attempted shots, 421 assists and God knows how many drives that led to 7.7 free throws a night, DeRozan lost the ball just 135 times.

The Kings, who are already a solid team when it comes to possession, could take a significant step forward in that category by reducing turnovers, optimizing shot-making and forcing teams to move the ball out of bounds on successful shots, which would give them more time to set up their defense.

It’s also worth noting that the Kings now have two of the best players in the league in Fox and DeRozan, who can make and score late shots and outplay opponents for long stretches.

Finally, DeRozan has always been a strong playmaker, and adding a fourth point guard to the lineup should dramatically help Murray’s positioning where he can operate almost exclusively as an off-ball shooter who will rely on catch-and-shoots and cuts to generate his scoring production. In theory, this should allow him to be more efficient.

DeRozan may seem like overkill for the Kings, but in a league that is constantly setting new offensive records, it’s worth asking whether overkill is even a realistic possibility.

Unless otherwise stated, all statistics via NBA.pl, PBPS Statistics, Glass cleaning Or Basketball-Reference. All salary information via Spotrac. All chances courtesy of FanDuel Sports Betting.