NBA Hoops

Kevin Huerter injury: Kings guard to have season-ending surgery on torn labrum in left shoulder

Kevin Huerter injury: Kings guard to have season-ending surgery on torn labrum in left shoulder


Sacramento Kings guard Kevin Huerter is done for the season. Huerter, who has been sidelined since March 18 because of a dislocated left shoulder and a labral tear, will have surgery to repair the tear, agent Mark Bartelstein told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Friday.

Huerter’s second season in Sacramento didn’t go as nearly smoothly as his first. In 64 games, he averaged 10.2 points on 56.4% true shooting in 24.4 minutes, after averaging 15.2 points on 61.7% true shooting in 29.4 minutes in 2022-23. The Kings miss his shooting gravity, though, and they specifically miss his dribble-handoffs with Domantas Sabonis. This was particularly clear in Tuesday’s 132-96 loss against Dallas and last Thursday’s 109-102 loss in Washington, two of their worst offensive performances of the season.

The injury, which took place in the opening minutes of a 121-111 overtime win against the Memphis Grizzlies, has pushed second-year guard Keon Ellis into Sacramento’s starting lineup. Ellis had a career-high 19 points on 7-for-12 shooting, six assists, five rebounds, two steals and a block in a 109-107 win in Orlando last Saturday, and he’s made an enormous impact defensively. On the season, the Kings have allowed just 109.2 points per 100 possessions (the equivalent of a top-two defense) with him on the court. While his per-game stats don’t jump off the page, he has played well enough this season to force them to convert his two-way contract into a standard NBA deal.

Ellis is making 41.3% of his catch-and-shoot 3s this season, but he’s not taking them at high volume or off movement. That’s where Malik Monk, one of the leading candidates for Sixth Man of the Year, is supposed to come in. A week ago, Monk’s numbers in the month of March looked amazing — 20.9 points, 4.0 rebounds and 5.4 assists in 29.5 minutes per game; a true shooting percentage of 57.9% on 28% usage — but he has scored a total of 21 points on 9-for-35 shooting in three games since then, including a scoreless 0-for-11 performance against the Magic

In Monk’s last six games, he has missed all but two of his 29 attempts from beyond the arc. If this shooting slump doesn’t end soon, Huerter’s injury makes it more difficult to overcome. That the Kings won four of those six games is mostly a testament to the softness of their recent schedule.

Chris Duarte is the other player to watch in Huerter’s absence. He appeared for only seven…

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