Sacramento Kings: Which Player Is a Better Fit, Jason Thompson or Ryan Anderson?

Sim Risso@@SimRissoFeatured ColumnistJuly 6, 2012

MIAMI, FL - FEBRUARY 22:  Jason Thompson #34 of the Sacramento Kings dribbles during a game against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on February 22, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

This is the time of year when NBA teams explore the free-agent market. It's no different for the Sacramento Kings. The Kings have been looking at re-signing restricted free-agent Jason Thompson. Sacramento has also been linked to Orlando Magic restricted free-agent Ryan Anderson.

But given that both Anderson and Thompson are power forwards, it's unlikely the Kings would sign both players. In that case, who would be a better fit for the Kings? Jason Thompson or Ryan Anderson?

The Kings' interest in Ryan Anderson, a Sacramento-area native, was first reported by former KHTK radio host, and current CDNET radio host, Carmichael Dave on his Twitter account.

Spotted at lunch downtown today- local boy Ryan Anderson having lunch with Geoff Petrie and Wayne Cooper. More on at 7

July 2, 2012. 3:29 p.m.

It was later confirmed by Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee.

Jones has also been active in reporting about the Kings' own restricted free-agent Jason Thompson. According to Jones, the Kings have an offer on the table that Thompson and his representatives are mulling over.

Latest word is the Kings' multi-year offer to Jason Thompson would start with a salary of about $6 million in the ...

July 4, 2012. 8:16 p.m.

At this point, re-signing Thompson is Sacramento's priority. But if something can't be worked out with Thompson, the Kings will explore their options with Anderson.

Both players would bring a lot to the table for the Kings. Thompson is a better rebounder than Anderson, indicated by his 9.6 rebounds per 36 minutes and 14.7 total-rebound percentage, compared to Anderson's 8.6 rebounds per 36 minutes and 13.8 total-rebound percentage.

But outside of that, Anderson's a better overall player. He had 8.9 win shares last season, compared to Thompson's 3.9. Anderson also had a higher win shares per 48 minutes, showing his superiority isn't solely due to more playing time than Thompson.

Plus, the one thing Anderson brings to the table that Thompson does not is the ability to shoot the ball from three-point range. Anderson made 39.3 percent of his three-pointers last season. Thompson only attempted two three-pointers in 64 games last season.

Considering Sacramento ranked 29th of 30 teams in three-point percentage last season, Anderson's ability to shoot the ball would help improve a major deficiency.

On playing ability alone, Anderson clearly brings more to the table than Thompson. He's a better scorer and a better shooter. He's also a better defender.

The only real edge Thompson's got is rebounding. But with DeMarcus Cousins manning center and first-round pick Thomas Robinson being a capable rebounder, Thompson's edge in rebounding isn't as critical as it might be on other teams.

What it really comes down to is the contract. If Thompson is looking at something in the range of $6 million annually, Anderson surely would command more. After all, Anderson was the NBA's Most Improved Player last season.

And given what Omer Asik commanded as a restricted free agent, it's obvious Anderson will get more than his share of money.

If their contracts were fairly comparable, Anderson's a better fit for Sacramento. However, if Thompson is looking for $6 million per year and Anderson's looking for $10 million per year, I'd rather have Thompson.

Since the Kings aren't close to contending for a playoff spot, there's no sense in spending a ton of money in free agency. Besides, the Kings presumably have their power forward of the future in Thomas Robinson.

By signing Anderson to a big deal, Sacramento is in a position where they have to play him. That means less developmental minutes for Robinson.

So for equal money, the Kings would be better off with Anderson. Since that's not likely to be the case, the Kings need to stick with Thompson.