It’s preseason. We lost by 20. Our perimeter defense was as porous as a bullet-riddled bucket. The box score mysteriously disappeared from all websites, rendering all of my game notes fairly useless. The 2nd and 4th quarters were atrocious. And yet, I’m starting to get excited about this young core.
Tonight was a game which showed that while the Kings best prospects are inexperienced, that doesn’t mean they’re at all intimidated. Dave Joerger decided to rest the veterans and selected a starting lineup of De’Aaron Fox, Malachi Richardson, Buddy Hield, Skal Labissiere, and Willie Cauley-Stein, a squad with a total of 278 games under their combined belts. The Spurs meanwhile, rolled out a lineup of Murray, Green, Gay, Aldridge, and Pau Gasol, who have combined for over three thousand career games as well as 11 All-Star appearances.
While they weren’t perfect, and San Antonio made a lot of anti-San Antonio type plays in the first half, our young crew still managed to take it to a talented, veteran team for a lengthy period of time. Sacramento won the first quarter 24-15, and actually led the entire for the entire first half, save for the last 35 seconds. Buddy Hield led the way in the first half, scoring 13 points on only 5 field goal attempts, while also managing to snag 3 rebounds, and record 2 steals. Skal Labissiere and Willie Cauley-Stein also had good opening salvos, while De’Aaron Fox and Malachi Richardson struggled a bit to start.
While he struggled in the start, our lottery pick came out firing to start the third quarter, where he scored 7 points and dished out 2 assists in a matter of just 4 minutes, but shortly thereafter Dave Joerger decided to get a look at some of the end of the end of the end of the end bench guys like JaKarr Sampson and Matt Jones. The Spurs benchwarmers slaughtered the Kings substitutes, and San Antonio ran away for the 3rd and 4th quarters, outscoring Sacramento 62-45 on their way to a 20-point victory.
- De’Aaron Fox played aggressively, but was blocked at the rim three different times in the first half. He’s going to have to continue to learn to kick it to shooters if opposing defenses pack the paint against him.
- Buddy Hield and Fox clearly have formed some great chemistry already. Both players like to push the ball and score in transition, and one particular play saw Fox and Hield tossing the ball back and forth and switching positions, which ended in a Fox-assisted 4-point play for Buddy.
That two-man game, tho.— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) October 7, 2017
Four point play for Buddy Buckets +☝️ pic.twitter.com/5YedHdGALk
- Skal Labissiere is one of the smoothest basketball players I’ve seen don a Kings uniform in a very long time. Everything seems effortless for the young man. He needs to be more aggressive and make a more regular impact on a night-to-night basis.
- Speaking of aggressive, Willie struggled with the difference of scoring within the flow of the offense, and forcing awkward pull-up jumpers from 15 feet. Even though he scored 12 points tonight (I think), he was too much of a black hole on offense at times.
- Bogdan Bogdanovic didn’t see any floor time in the second half, but James Ham mentioned that the Kings are aware that he just played a full season of European basketball, so his preseason time will be limited.
- Neither Malachi Richardson nor Justin Jackson was impressive tonight. It’s looking more and more like Bogdanovic, Carter, and Temple will get the vast majority of the minutes at the wing slot in the early going of the season.
- Jack Coolest (not a typo) continues to make a rebounding difference the moment he enters the game. In a three minute span, he bought three extra possessions for Sacramento, simply through hustle plays.
The Kings next game is Sunday night at 6:00pm PT against the Lakers in Las Vegas. It’s going to actually be legally televised on ESPN, while Lonzo Ball will likely be out do to wounded pride.