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Kings 83, Trail Blazers 97: The Kings sure have a lot of youth

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Even with seven rotation players out, the Kings showed they still have some promising young talent available.

Kimani Okearah

That was a bit more palatable. While the Kings dropped their third straight preseason game, it wasn’t without its moments. Sacramento played without seven players that figure to be a part of the regular season rotation and managed to hang with a Portland team that was playing its main guys for a majority of the time.

Justin Jackson finally managed to get a rhythm going from the field, leading the Kings in scoring with 16 points on 50% shooting, including 3 of 6 from three. Frank Mason III and Skal Labissiere added 13 points each to finish as the only other Kings in double digits. Jusuf Nurkic led the Trail Blazers with 14 points.

Since the results don’t matter, here are just some of my takeaways from the game:

  • Frank Mason III looks like an NBA player right now and unfortunately he probably won’t get too much time with how many guards the Kings have. But he doesn’t play like a rookie. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him force his way into the rotation at some point. He also rebounds well above his size.
  • Justin Jackson didn’t look drastically different from his other two preseason games, his shot just started to fall a bit more. He moves well with and without the ball. He definitely needs to get stronger though to keep up on the defensive end, he was getting outmuscled by Moe Harkless regularly.
  • Willie Cauley-Stein did not look like he really had his head in the game. He still had an ok game with 8 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists, but I’d like him to curtail some of his worst tendencies, like wanting to shoot every jumper he’s given.
  • Buddy had an off shooting night again but he looks like he’s tightened up his handle from last year.
  • I think Skal could be even more aggressive in looking for his own shot. He’s got such a smooth and reliable jumper, I wouldn’t mind seeing him just go for it on occasion.
  • Malachi Richardson looks more hesitant last year. He’s also participating in one of my biggest NBA pet peeves, which is passing up wide open threes to dribble closer and shoot a contest long two instead. Just take the open shots you’re given. He looked better and more aggressive in the second half.
  • Tony said it right on Twitter: every Big Papa possession starts as a post up that lasts five seconds and ends with a right hook. He showed off nice touch on a jumper. He needs to be a little less predictable.

The Kings have a couple days off now before they head to Los Angeles to take on the Clippers on Thursday. Given that there are only two preseason games left, I expect this game to feature a more realistic looking regular season rotation.