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Kyle Guy aims to develop into combo guard at NBA level

Kyle Guy aims to develop into combo guard at NBA level

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Kyle Guy eased into his college basketball career at Virginia.

During his freshman campaign, Guy played in all 34 games, but he only started six contests. He averaged 7.5 points and 1.3 assists per game as he learned the program’s systems, improving throughout the year.

As a sophomore, Guy emerged as one of Virginia’s best players. He started 33 of the team’s 34 games and led the program in scoring at 14.1 points per contest. He showcased his elite shooting but also performed well enough defensively and within the offense to earn significant minutes.

In his final season in Charlottesville, Guy started all 38 of UVa’s games as the program won the national championship. He played 35.2 minutes per game, scoring 15.3 points per contest. He drained 120 3-pointers and earned NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player honors.

After working his way into the starting rotation, Guy became one of the most reliable players on the best team in the country.

Guy’s professional career started similarly to his collegiate efforts. In his rookie season with the Sacramento Kings, Guy has appeared in just two NBA games, while doing most of his work in the G League with the Stockton Kings.

He’s with the Sacramento Kings in the NBA’s Orlando “bubble,” however, and he’s earned 16 minutes across three recent scrimmages. While he didn’t play in the most recent scrimmage, Guy scored 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting in the 16 minutes he logged across two scrimmages.

The guard also added a pair of assists in the first scrimmage. One assist came off a highlight reel pass from the paint, finding a cutting teammate for a dunk.

Often known for knocking down long jump shots, Guy wants to develop into more of a facilitator. Combined with good shooting, being able to run the offense could be Guy’s best shot of landing on an NBA roster full time.

He played a few minutes as the team’s point guard when De’Aaron Fox missed a scrimmage with an ankle injury.

“I’m a guy that just kind of works on everything,” Guy said in a recent interview. “I still work on my shooting; I work on my ball handling. Trying to transition into kind of a combo guard; I played point guard in high school, so it’s not unfamiliar territory. Obviously with Fox and his sprained ankle, I had some opportunities to play the point and just trying to showcase that I can do more than shoot.”

Guy wants to do more than just shoot, but he’s still a terrific shooter. He averaged 21.5 points per game in 37 G-League games this year, while knocking down 40.1% of his 3-point shots. He took nearly 10 3-point shots per game.

Distributing the ball was a strong suit for Guy in G-League action, too. He added a solid 4.6 assists per game. Guy contributed 4.5 assists per game his final season at Virginia, a career-high during his three collegiate seasons.

Quarantine gave Guy additional time to work on his craft, although admittedly working on his game isn’t something that’s new for the rookie.

“I’ve been working hard every day since I started taking basketball seriously my freshman year of high school,” Guy said. “This quarantine, I definitely tried to take advantage of it and use every day to get better.”

Some of that work showed up in the recent scrimmages. Guy looked quick off the dribble and showcased the ability to distribute the ball to teammates.

For Guy, versatility is critical to earning a spot on the Kings’ roster in future seasons. He’s a proven scorer, but on a team with seven players shooting at least 35% from beyond the arc, 3-point shooting isn’t the team’s most pressing need.

Sacramento ranks 11th in the NBA in 3-point shooting percentage, but ranks just 22nd in the NBA in assists per contest. The ability to score matters, but Sacramento could use a versatile guard with shooting and scoring ability off the bench in future years.

Guy hopes to fill that role. Recent scrimmages and the G-League season show Guy’s talent. It remains to be seen when Guy will have more opportunities within NBA games to make an impact, especially with a few other guards ahead of him on the depth chart entering the NBA restart.

When the national champion does receive more chances, he’s ready to show that he’s more than just an elite jump shooter.

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