Original article by Tom Witt posted on Overtime Heroics Basketball
Justin James Sacramento Kings career is ready for take-off. How will the lofty-leaping Justin James impact the Kings in the future?
Ahead, I will outline Justin James basketball career – from college at the University of Wyoming, to the G-League with the Stockton Kings, to the NBA. As well as a few of my thoughts, questions, and opinions of what James has done so far, and the future he may play with the Sacramento Kings!
Justin James Sacramento Kings
The 6’7″ 190lbs Justin James was selected 40th overall (10th selection of the 2nd round) in the 2019 NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings. The James selection was made by FORMER Kings general manager Vlade Divac. Former GM Divac stepped down during the off-season and was replaced by Monte McNair.
Justin James played four seasons, 2015-16 through 2018-19, at the University of Wyoming. James steadily increased his numbers as he earned more playing time over his four seasons as a Wyoming Cowboy. For his play during his senior season, James was selected to All-MWC (Mountain West Conference) 2nd Team.
James went from starting 3 of his 30 games played as a freshman in 2015-16, to starting ALL 32 of 32 games played during his senior season, 2018-19!
During his senior season, James’ averaged 22.1 points, 4.4 assists, 8.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals, in 38 minutes per game! That earned him 2nd Team All-Mountain West Conference honors.
James’ shooting percentages were a bit up and down over his four-year collegiate career. Though his smooth attacking, high-flying style of play aided in an overall field goal percentage of 44% during his career at Wyoming.
James can attack the rim with the best of ’em! His leaping ability was on often on display during his college career.
James, while still working on consistency, has shown flashes of the ability to score from behind the arc. His best three-point shooting season was during his sophomore year, where James shot 42% on 3.2 attempts from deep per game.
G-League Short Stint Stand-Out
Justin James played well in a very SMALL sample size with the Stockton Kings of the NBA G-League.
In three games played for Stockton during the 2019-20 season, James averaged 17.4 minutes, 15.7 points, 72% FG, 2.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1 steal per game.
It seems as though James has earned himself a spot on the Sacramento Kings, over some other ‘prospects’. Some of that could be due to injuries on the team, some could be due to his contract stipulations, and some could be due to the Stockton Kings choosing to not enter the G-League ‘Gubble’ during the 2020-21 season.
While watching G-League highlights from James, his ATHLETICISM stood out. James’ play has been a collection of smooth, high-flying dunks … along with energetic, active play on defense.
NBA Career So Far
During his rookie season, 2019-20, James appeared in 36 games. JJ’s per-game averages as a rookie during the ‘Bubble’ modified season were – 6.4 minutes, 42% FG on 2.3 attempts, and 2.5 points.
James had an impressive showing against the Brooklyn Nets on 11/22/2019. During 33 minutes of action, James scored 14 points on 6-14 shooting! He also added in 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal. You can check out highlights of James’ performance against the nets in my tweet, below!
So far this season James has been used sparingly by the Kings coaching staff. James has appeared in 14 games, while averaging 5.5 minutes and 1.9 points per game. Recently, the high-flying James has earned more playing time.
The Future of Justin James and the Sacramento Kings
I have a few questions!
How can James’ skills be best utilized now and in the future? How much playing time will the Kings coaching staff allot James as the season goes on?
I have hopes James will see increased action, and be able to add some sort of some positive contribution … while knowing he still has a lot to learn as he improves as a young player.
On offense, James has shown the ability to do more than just dunk. In a few of the highlight tapes I have watched James has been able to hit shots from different depths. Ranging from the pull-up floater, out to the three-point line.
Recently, due to the Kings injury woes, Justin James has been seeing increased playing time. In the past, the most we have seen of James is usually him running out from the bench to chest-bump a teammate. That’s not meant to ‘hate’ on James at all … shoot, I’d pay money to do that job for a night!
Could we see a future Sacramento Kings lineup featuring former Stockton Kings stand-outs DaQuan Jeffries and Justin James?
What’s YOUR Opinion?
I love posting polls for fans to be able to share their opinion! As a fan myself, I love interacting on polls, giving my opinion, and seeing what others think!
One of my latest poll questions I asked my followers on my Twitter account @sactowncrown addresses the goals of the Kings for the short term, and how they may most positively affect the long term.
Check out the Sactown Crown Report Podcast