[Sorry for the short preview today everyone. Battling a nasty stomach virus, and talking about the Kings for too long makes my head spin anyways, so I gotta keep this one Isaiah Thomas style; short, but just good enough that people can argue its merits. <3)
When: Sunday, March 5th, 3:00 pm PST
Where: Golden 1 Center, CSN-CA, NBATV, KHTK Sports 1140 AM
Three Things to Watch For
Mucho Skal-iente: As has been slapped up on the front page and all over the comments sections of StR since the first game back after the All-Star break, Skal has been doing work in his roll off the bench; not Lou Williams-type work mind you, but much more than we expected at the onset of the season. What I want to see out of Skal in his minutes this game is how he handles a guy with much more strength than he does in Derrick Favors, and then how he adjusts to someone with the length of Rudy Gobert. The NBA is all about adjustments, and if Skal is going to be a solid role player in this league, he’s going to have to show he can guard different types of guys on the floor.
I’d also like to continue to see that competitive streak he has. When he gets a guy on a move and scores, or when he’s tossed it down near someone, you can see that he’s scowling and feeling what he just did. I love that in a young guy, especially in one that had so many people talking about his personality and sensitivity to criticism coming into the Draft. This season, he’s going to get worked over more times than he’s going to end up on a highlight reel, but as long as he’s trying to come back at some point and show his own, I’m happy.
Willie or Won’t He? : Putting aside his 29 point, 10 rebound explosion in Denver, Willie has seemed to struggle more than he has seemed to thrive in the #15 sized vacuum left post All-Star Break. Coach Joerger has mentioned that he really wants to make sure that he puts young guys in a position that they have a chance of succeeding and if they do, then move them on to something more challenging. Tonight is going to be a challenge for Willie as he is expected to man the paint and defend the house whenever Koufos needs a breather.
Where I am more than happy to see the positives in Skal’s game and toss away the rest due to “eh, young low lottery picks rarely pan out!”, with Willie the investment is much deeper. Three years in college and a sixth pick were spent on him, and while last year was a bit of a wash due to his coaching amounting to “run to the rim, block shots”, he’s now in a position of being developed by a coach that should be here long term (knock on my Vivek voodoo doll made of wood). Willie shouldn’t be expected to dominate, or be a starting big man in the NBA just yet, but I’d like to see more consistency in his game. Go get 13 points and 7-9 boards, get to the foul line by trying to smash on Rudy Gobert from way too far back; if he’s only going to be playing for 24 minutes than I want to see him beating his man down the court every single possession. Willie is coming along, and doing so at his own pace and I think at this point, bad games for Willie reveal more about him than the good ones. But, here’s hoping for a surprise and WCS breaks out for a big game against a really solid big guy line-up.
Garrett Temple Watch: I thought there might be some nostalgia present when Tyreke Evans came back to the team. I argued for years about how he would be better than Steph, and how he would definitely average another 20-5-5 season once he got healthy, but after his 14th eurostep into traffic that resulted in a layup slamming off the backboard, I decided there was just nothing there anymore. It’s like when you wonder about how your ex is doing years after the break up, and you think about calling her up or adding her on Facebook and its stuck in your head, then one day you see her in a supermarket and she’s a mess and shes got bad knees and she is Tyreke Evans and you burst awake from that terrible nightmare and this metaphor is way too long already.
Point is, I am over-excited to see Garrett Temple back in action. It might not be tonight is Sacramento. It might be tomorrow in Denver or Wednesday is San Antonio, but the moment he is in the game, is the moment I snap awake from watching Tyreke play basketball and try to make myself think he’s the same player he was back when I had posters on my wall. Temple has said he’s running through regular practices now, and that some of the precaution is do to him coming back too soon from a similar injury in Washington and hurt it again. Comeback soon, G-Temp.
Prediction: Having read this preview, Jerry uses my first two title headers in the game tonight and gives Sactown Royalty a shoutout on air. Tyreke, hearing Jerry saying the name of the website that just compared him to a has-been ex-girlfriend, refuses to play in the second half of the game. Having to fill the small forward hole in garbage minutes, Dave Joerger puts Skal at 3, Willie at 4, Papa G at 5 and in the last few minutes the Kings come back to win the game. Three championships from now, 30-for-30 does a documentary on the sudden rise of the Kings called “The Vivexpendables” and Bradley Geiser gets enough royalties to buy a pop-up book on comedy. The world is a better place for everyone.
Kings: 103, Jazz: 101
Game Day Distraction:
All this talk of jazz and music and exes makes me really need my favorite music: