After four seasons in Atlanta, highlighted by a conference final in 2021 against the Bucks, Kevin Hurter packed his bags. The red-haired rear with the silky shot, hence the nickname “Red Velvet”, landed in Sacramento last summer, and the least we can say is that the California air suits her.
Currently averaging more than 18 points, six more than his best production with the Hawks, Kevin Huerter has scored 20 or more points four times in seven games with the Kings this season, when it took him 74 games to do it last season…
“My role can grow more”, he explains. “Just the way the team is built, with the players in the area, around [Domantas Sabonis] and play around the pivot. »
A promising two-player game with Sabonis
It was in Ibiza, while he was on holiday in the sun, meaning without being glued to his phone H24, he found out that he had been traded! A shock necessarily, but also not a surprise.
“When I finally got my phone, basically all the most important people in my life texted me. Some people from the Atlanta franchise were asking me to call them. My agent was the same. My parents are the same. I wouldn’t say I expected it, but I’m ready for it. »
In this case, it’s largely thanks to his growing chemistry with Domantas Sabonis that Kevin Huerter has had a terrific start to the season in California.
Their two-man game, with the Lithuanian’s passing quality and versatility on one hand, and Kevin Huerter’s outside shooting and IQ on the other, is starting to do serious damage to opposing defenses. What will be seen high in the “scouting report” of their opponents, every night…
“Domas sets great screens. It allows me to get speed and play opposing pivots in 2-on-1 situations. In Atlanta, John Collins is one of the biggest roll threats after of the screen, which he doesn’t often pose in fact. But here, Domas poses a lot of screens. It’s just a different game, a different rhythm and style. »
More involved in creation
Passing from Trae Young to De’Aaron Fox, Kevin Huerter seems to have found a sidekick that better suits his game. Not the best of outside shooters, De’Aaron Fox focuses more on dribbling and rebounding, and therefore more on shots from mid-range or straight to the basket, which better suits Kevin’s outside game Huerter.
But the former Maryland can also boast of his entire offensive panoply in Sacramento, unlike Atlanta where he is more than an exclusive “finisher”. Under the approval of Mike Brown, who saw him last season for his creativity.
“It hurts, [les Hawks] is a little different from our team,” Mike Brown said. “Trae carries the ball a lot, so Kevin often plays without the ball. They played a lot of pick & roll so Kevin was more outside. With us, he has balls off the dribble, off screens, on cuts to the circle and “backdoor” cuts. We make it move. »
Successful with his new team, 50% on shots including 53% from 3-pointers, Kevin Huerter is in the heart of his “honeymoon” with the Kings. It remains now to make the fun last, and above all to win. To (finally) bring the Kings back to the playoffs, who hold the sad record for most consecutive seasons without reaching it…