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Sacramento Kings vs. Los Angeles Lakers Preview: The Purple and Black Are Back! (well, kinda)

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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

For those of you who have been keeping track at home, today marks the 175th day since the Sacramento Kings played their final game of the 2015-16 season. Over the last 175 days, fans saw an end to Sleep Train Arena, Head Coach George Karl and eight Sacramento Kings players.  They were replaced by the state-of-the-art Golden 1 Center, former Memphis Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger and well, another eight players, including three rookies who will call Sacramento home for their first season in the NBA. Fans have seen the reveal of new logos and jerseys, argued over Darren Collison's legal issues and watched as an Olympic gold medal was awarded to All-Star center, DeMarcus Cousins. Reveals and ribbon cuttings, draft day trades and red flags, hot yoga and gold medals. But, no Sacramento Kings basketball.

[Wow, does this feel good to write]

Welcome to Day 1 of the 2016-17 NBA season!

Today your Sacramento Kings have traveled to Anaheim to rub it in their faces that they still don't have an NBA team take on the Los Angeles Lakers at the Honda Center for their very first preseason game of the new season. The Kings are expected to bring all 18 players from camp and Coach Joerger has previously said that he intends to play as many of them as he can. This game begins at 7 pm Pacific Standard Time, and can be heard on KHTK 1140. Wait, wait. What channel are they playing on? They aren't broadcasting this game? Well, I can't think of a single Kings vs. Lakers preseason game that has ever been interesting, so probably a good move to play this game in the year 1975. The jerseys are fresh, the players are healthy, the coach is not in the dog house after a few hours into this new season and best of all, the Sacramento Kings are here to stay, permanently. Let's talk Kings basketball.

A Couple Things to Watch..err.. Listen For:

Dave Save the Kings: One of the largest changes to come out of the off-season was replacing George Karl with Dave Joerger as head coach of the Sacramento Kings. Gone are the days of seeing the Kings play at the fastest pace in the NBA. Gone too are the days of the DeMarcus Cousins pulling 210 three pointers in 65 games. But, what exactly are they replaced with? While in Memphis, Joerger continued the Grit and Grind style  that brought the Grizzlies success, but rumors persisted that he asked Grizzlies management to break free of the restrictions of that style of basketball and allow him to add in a more up tempo style of play. Coach Joerger is known as a defensive coach, and has already said that he plans to play ten players, with eight of them getting the majority of the minutes, but beyond that the question remains, what will a Dave Joerger-led Sacramento Kings squad look like? Will Coach Joerger use DeMarcus in the high post like his former center Marc Gasol? How will he manage time with his mishmash of vets and young guys? How many games will it take before Omer Khan breaks down sobbing and writes a 47,000 word manifesto on NBA caliber defense and why creating gifs of Kings games should be classified as cruel and unusual punishment?

Ty be, or not to be? With Darren Collison officially suspended for the first eight games of the NBA regular season, the Sacramento Kings will lean heavily on starting point guard pro tem, Ty Lawson. Lawson has been at best a controversial player over the last few years, with doubts about his fit in Sacramento coming from both his recent play in the NBA as well as his personal life. Two seasons ago, Ty Lawson averaged 15.2 points and 9.6 assists for the Denver Nuggets. Last season, he split time between Houston and Indiana and averaged 5.7 points and 3.6 assists. There was no injury that stole away his quickness, no coach that was dead set on hating Ty Lawson right out of the league. With four arrests for driving under the influence, Ty Lawson has taken Ty Lawson to the brink of being out of the NBA and yet, here he is, starting point guard for the Kings come opening night. Tuesday's preseason game against the Lakers will allows coaches and fans alike the opportunity to see just what Ty has left in the tank. While DeMarcus Cousins may be the most important player on the Kings, the Kings will rise or fall based on who plugs the gigantic holes at both the starting and back up point guard spots, not just till the return of Collison, but for the entirety of the season.

On the Flip Side:

The Los Angeles Lakers have recently been roommates with the Sacramento Kings in the Pacific Division cellar and like the Kings, hired a new head coach this off-season, former Lakers player and Golden State Warriors assistant, Luke Walton. In their first season in nearly two decades without Kobe Bryant, the Lakers have finally embraced a youth movement, leaning on a core of  young players that include D'Angelo Russell,  Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr., Julius Randle and the second pick in this years draft, Brandon Ingram. The Lakers also brought in a bevy of veterans to help guide the talented young group, signing Luol Deng, Timofey Mozgov, Jose Calderon, Metta World Peace and Chinese star, Yi Jianlian. With both the Kings and Lakers being bad around the same time and embracing two entirely different ways of rebuilding, it will be interesting to see in the near future which pays off first. The Kings have been impatient about reaching the playoffs and as such have run through a gamut of players (and coaches) in search of a fit that will take them into the post season, while the Lakers have done what many Sacramento fans have called for, a complete reset focused on trading assets for draft picks and tanking in the hopes of nabbing a special player. With two new coaches and two teams with a large amount of new players, this game is bound to be a messy, mistake laden game. Maybe there was a reason for not televising it after all.

Predictions: D'Angelo Russell is a late scratch after someone finally heeds his warning and they find actual ice in his veins. Luke Walton decides to pick a random fan out of the crowd to coach the second half. The fan wears a shirt that says "Luke's #1 Fan". The fan is Bill Walton. The Kings give Anaheim the only "royal" themed win it will ever have in the Honda Center: Kings 97, Lakers 92, Randy Youngman 0, Henry Samueli 0.