Kings basketball is finally back! After six long months of waiting, this new-look Kings team will look to get off to a good start with a win over the visiting L.A. Clippers. It's the last home opener in Sleep Train Arena history, so let's make it a good one! Today's action tips off at 7:00 pm on Comcast SportsNet California and on KHTK 1140.
1. What's the rotation going to look like? We saw many different looks from the Kings this preseason and the only roles that seem to be set in stone are DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay and Rajon Rondo as starters and Darren Collison and Marco Belinelli as sparkplugs off the bench. Willie Cauley-Stein might one day become starter, but it doesn't sound like George Karl wants to go that route against L.A.'s big and experienced frontcourt. Shooting Guard is another question mark as James Anderson and Ben McLemore both seem to be in the running for starter, with whoever is not probably seeing a far lesser role. The Kings also might be without Rudy Gay, whose wife gave birth to a child yesterday, one of the best reasons you could miss a game.
2. Will we see a more three-happy Kings team? The Kings ranked 28th in three point attempts last year and that looks to change with the additions of someone like Belinelli. I also expect we'll see an attempt or two from DeMarcus Cousins as he looks to pull DeAndre Jordan away from the rim.
3. Can the Kings play without making mistakes? Turnovers have also been a big issue in recent season and the Kings did a better job towards the end of the preseason of limiting those mistakes. The team has a far greater veteran presence now and can't afford to beat themselves with unforced errors, especially against a team that will punish them for it like the Clippers.
MATCHUP OF THE GAME
Rajon Rondo vs. Chris Paul
Rondo has a ton to prove this season and he'll be facing a tough test right from the get go going up against Chris Paul twice in the first three games. Paul is undoubtedly one of the top Point Guards in the league and can beat teams with both his scoring and passing. It will be up to Rondo to slow him down a little bit and also to make him work on the other end. Rondo might be just as good of a passer as Paul, but given his lack of a jump shot, won't be considered nearly as much of a threat on that end of the court. Rondo will have plenty of opportunities to take jumpers as the Clippers sag off of him, and it will be up to him to punish them for it.
CURRENT EXCITEMENT LEVEL
Kings 114, Clippers 105