As a Kings fan, I’d really like to put this season behind me, and focus on THE FUTURE. Ah yes, the future of the Sydney Kings. Will Perry Ellis put all the pieces together and become an MVP candidate? Is Andrew Gaze the right fit at head coach? Who is the Sydney Kings long-term Point Guard option and when will our Mascots ugly smile be fixed (just me?). However, it is the second last one, that intrigues me the most. Once this season is over, and as the Kings will prepare for next season (a hopefully better and healthier season might I add), we are left to ponder; who is the Sydney Kings Point Guard moving forward – Kevin Lisch or Jerome Randle?
The definition of a ‘Point Guard’ is “The player who directs the team’s offence”. Originally, this was usually the team’s leader in assists who initiated the offence, however didn’t score that much. However, as time has gone on, we have the modern point guard, ones that can do it all scoring wise while also (for the most part) being the leading facilitator. Based on this, both Jerome Randle and Kevin Lisch fit the description.
Sydney Kings Long-term Point Guard: PROFILES
Kevin Lisch is a 31-year-old Combo guard from Belleville, Illinois, standing at 6 feet 2 inches (188cm) and weighing 88kg. Lisch went to Saint Louis College in the USA for 4 years, and after not finding an NBA job, joined the NBL in 2009. Lisch signed with the Sydney Kings in 2016 after stints in Perth, Illawarra, and overseas.
Accolades: 2010 NBL Champion (with the Perth Wildcats), 2010 NBL Grand Final MVP (with the Perth Wildcats), 2012 MVP (with the Perth Wildcats), 2016 NBL MVP and NBL best defensive player (with the Illawarra Hawks), 3x All-NBL First Team (2012,2013,2016), and All-NBL Second Team (2017 – first season with Sydney).
Jerome Randle is a 30-year-old point guard from Chicago, Illinois, standing at 5 feet 9 inches (175cm) and weighing 77kg. Randle went to California University in the USA for 4 years, and after not finding an NBA job, bounced around overseas before joining the NBL in 2015. Randle signed with the Sydney Kings in 2017 after stints overseas and in Adelaide.
Accolades: 2017 NBL MVP (with the Adelaide 36ers), 2x ALL-NBL First Team (2016,2017), and NBL Scoring and assist champion (2018 – first season with Sydney)
(NOTE: All information is as of 28-2-18)
The Sydney Kings have signed the last 2 NBL MVP’s, but have struggled to claw from the 7th spot on the ladder these last 2 seasons. In Kevin Lisch’s first season in Sydney he averaged 16.5 points per game, 3.5 rebounds per game, 3.7 assists per game and 1.9 steals per game playing in 27 out of the 28 games. In Illawarra (where he won MVP), he averaged 19.4 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.8 steals in 27 games. In Sydney, his points dropped off and the team played well under expectations.
Lisch then proceeded to miss the start of this current season, where Sydney scrambled to find a replacement, and struck gold with previous MVP Jerome Randle signing. In Randle’s first season with the Kings, he is averaging 20.18 points per game, 2.8 rebounds per game, 5.5 assists per game and 1.1 steals per game in 17 games. In his previous season where he won MVP, Randle averaged 21.3, 3 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1 steal.
We find that he was awfully similar across both seasons, however, the team still finished 11-17. Upon returning, Lisch this season averaged 10.5 points per game 3.2 rebounds per game 2.6 assists per game and 1.4 steals per game appearing in only 9 games and playing 24 minutes per game. Clearly, Lisch didn’t play to his full potential, however this is to be expected coming off an injury. This has left the Kings in quite a predicament; moving forward, who will lead this team? I have come up with 3 scenarios for where the Kings may go.
Scenario number 1:
The Kings keep Randle as the star point guard, and move on from Kevin Lisch, either allocating him to a bench role or finding a way to transfer him. The Kings make Randle priority, sign him for the long term, and build around Randle’s high-powered offense.
Scenario number 2:
The Kings let Randle walk and choose to build around Lisch as the focal point, keeping in mind, both guards are similar in age, however Lisch’s defensive abilities make him a great all-around building block to lead the young Kings to contention. Also, Lisch has playoff experience compared to Randle and has another year on his contract.
Scenario number 3:
The Kings keep both Lisch and Randle, either playing them at the 1-2 or one as a 6th man. The benefits: A speedy and great offensive duo to lead the kings, both have MVP experience and pairing them up – either starting alongside each other or one backing up the other – is quite intriguing.
Negatives: both are 30+ years of age, and this will leave Jason Cadee with less playing time. From a short-term perspective, yes, this COULD work and be very entertaining to watch. However long-term, this could be an issue. Jason Cadee is 26 and is rapidly improving, he is the long-term future for the Kings at guard, and who’s to say Lisch comes back to his MVP form, or that Randel will maintain his form? Heck, who’s to say the combo of Lisch and Randle even mesh and work together? Both are 18+ point per game scorers and need the ball in their hands to be effective. Cadee has proven he can be a solid option at Shooting Guard and play off the ball – why hinder Cadee’s growth??
This raises a whole other topic, where will Cadee fit into the Kings future?
There is no wrong option to this situation, merely opinion – in a perfect world the 3 (Randle, Lisch and Cadee) mesh perfectly and feed off of each other. However this is unlikely, so we are left with this question:
Who is the Sydney Kings Future Point Guard – Kevin Lisch or Jerome Randle?
In my opinion, and as a fan of the Syndey Kings, I hope Cadee would be willing to take a ‘backseat’ role for a couple of seasons to learn from Lisch and Randle while they lead this team. Obviously, this will rely on Randle returning and then our 3 guards gelling.
This off-season should be interesting.