Although the Kings hung in the game for much of the first quarter, Sacramento was completely outplayed by a much more talented Bucks squad tonight. Milwaukee hit eight of twelve three pointers in their 44 point second quarter alone and once Jason Kidd’s team built up the lead, they didn’t look back. The Bucks young star, Giannis Antetokounmpo, absolutely shredded the Kings’ porous defense on his way to 32 points (12/22 FG), 13 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, 1 block and 0 turnovers in 40 minutes.
Sacramento was led in scoring by Buddy Hield who tied his career-high with 21 points (8/15 FG, 2/6 3P), 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and only 1 turnover. Tyreke Evans chipped in 18 points on 14 shots, but most of his contributions were well after the game was decided.
The Kings aren’t likely to add many more (if any) Ws to the win column this season, so I thought it might be more helpful and cathartic to focus on the long-term parts of the team rather than the short-term misery that was this game.
Buddy continues to look like the most confident and polished player of all of the Kings prospects. Tonight, he continued to display his advancing offensive repertoire as he hit several turn-around mid-range jumpshots, difficult layups, and the lamest alley-oop “dunk” you’ll see all year.
Another encouraging area of growth we’ve already seen from the rookie is his ball-handling and decision making. Hield has been more focused on straight attacks on the rim instead of spinning or trying to dribble around defenders and his turnovers have dropped dramatically since that change. Tonight was his eighth consectuive game of 2 turnovers or less.
Our sophomore seven-footer continues to show a rapidly developing offensive attack as he scored 10 points on an efficient 5/10 field goals, but only took one free throw tonight and missed it. Cauley-Stein’s athleticism and jumping ability should be leading him to the charity stripe more often as his aggressiveness grows. His rebounding was solid tonight with 7 in 27 minutes and 4 blocks in any game is always a plus.
One of Willie’s biggest weaknesses continues to be perimeter defense. Opposing teams often take advantage of his struggles against smaller players when a switch takes place and he’s constantly leaving three-point shooters wide open.
A career-high in minutes did not equal a career-best game from our hidden gem. Skal was given the early test of guarding Giannis Antetokuonmpo and things did not go well. Labissiere picked up an early foul and struggled to make tangible contributions in the first half.
Later in the game, the Haitian Sensation stepped up a bit and scored 6 points while grabbing 6 rebounds in the second half. The talent and effort are there and our rookie simply needs more game time to learn the NBA game.
Let’s start with the good: Papagiannis is tall, Papagiannis is only 19, Papagiannis rebounds well.
And that’s about it.
The Kings work in progress is extremely slow on both ends of the court. He’s not only slow of foot, but his mental awareness is well behind the pace of the game as well. There were multiple times in which the rookie center had the ball near the hoop and was open for a shot, but he chose to dribble into defenders instead.
He continues to rebound well and his size will always be an advantage, but the number thirteen overall pick is looking more and more like a long-term project.