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Kings vs. Grizzlies Summer League Preview: Going for Broke Against the Grizz

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The Kings are doubling down and looking for their first win of Summer League against the Memphis Grizzlies.

NBA: Draft Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Alright, so the Kings won’t be going undefeated during their stay in Las Vegas this year, and I know you’re devastated about it, but hear me out: what if they went once-defeated during their stay in Las Vegas? I know they haven’t won one single game, but see now when we’re crowned Summer League Champions on July 18th we can all spin the zeroes to heroes, no one believed in us, started-from-the-bottom-now-we-here storyline, and quite frankly, this narrative is just so much easier for me to write about. So now, our plucky underdogs must face the terrifying, world beating Grizzlies who are currently undefeated (1-0) in Summer League. Stacked with the likes of Wade Baldwin IV, Wayne Selden, Dillion Brooks, Ivan Rabb (who will not play due to an injury) and Deyonta Davis, the Kings must now begin their seemingly insurmountable climb to the top of Mt. Vegas and face off against a veritable super team in Memphis. If the Kings can somehow pull from the depths of their being a , it would most assuredly be one of the greatest upsets in the history of sports, and would immediately rectify the last ten years of Sacramento basketball ineptitude. If you’re wondering why should you tune in on a Sunday night for a Sacramento Kings Las Vegas Summer League game, I have one word for you: History.

Let’s talk Kings basketball, and please watch your step around the chasm.

When: Sunday, July 9th, 2017: 7 pm PST

Where: Cox Pavilion, Las Vegas, NBATV

For Your Consideration:

Betting on Buddy Love: While incoming rookie De’Aaron Fox came in and impressed right off the bat, Buddy Hield struggled in the first game of his sophomore campaign. While Buddy had a very decent 16 points, 5 rebounds in 24 minutes for the Kings, he did it on 5-16 shooting and going 0-6 from deep, while displaying loose handles and looking rather bored on the defensive end. To indicate just how much he struggle with his shot, Fox, a guard whose biggest downside might be his terrible shooting percentages in college, actually shot better than Buddy (though to be fair, 6-16 isn’t much better than Buddy’s 5-15). Maybe this is just Buddy getting his reps in during the summer and not going as hard as he could. It is Summer League and while his spot as the Kings shooting guard of the future might not be set in stone, it is written in wet concrete set out in the Sacramento summer sun. It’s almost justifiable for him to want to go out there, run through the motions and not injure himself, as we’ve already seen happen to the Sixers’ Markelle Fultz and Lakers’ Brandon Ingram. But, Buddy is also guy with the reputation of having a tireless work ethic and drive for the game of basketball, so I’m much more willing to say this was just a bad shooting night. Look for him to really come out focused tonight and have himself a big time second game in Vegas.

Jackpot Jackson: Probably the biggest surprise from Friday night’s game against the Suns was the play of Justin Jackson, who came off the bench to drop 18 points on 7-11 shooting. Jackson used all the weapons in his arsenal to be lead the Kings in scoring along with De’Aaron Fox; floaters in the lane, floaters going baseline, drawing fouls while attempting floaters. Oh, and he hit two threes as well. Jackson ended up impressing enough in his matchup against the 4th overall pick in the NBA Draft, Josh Jackson, that he ended up playing more minutes than the starter, Malachi “The Forgotten One” Richardson. Today’s game will be a great chance to see if Jackson can sustain his smooth style of play that he showed against a good defender in Josh Jackson. While we all know he needs to put on weight to truly reach his full potential, Jackson’s poise under pressure he shows in these next few games might help him prove worthy of a rotation spot long before those upgraded guns arrive.

Finding a Slot for Skal: Skal Labissiere was another player that came out and laid a dud in his first game back for the Kings. The hope and hype around Skal in Sacramento is the kind usually reserved for Top-3 prospects, with many Kings fans assuming that he will be the franchise cornerstone moving forward. For that kind of praise and collective momentum behind his eventual ascension to the top of the Kings dog pile, Skal really did not come out the way most fans expected him to. Matched up against a guy who he really took to school a couple of times in the regular season in Marquese Chriss, it was Chriss who showed more fire, energy and statistica loutput throughout the contest. Part of the problem might be that Skal just wasn’t in a spot where he was the focus of the offense. He spent more time out there on the court than any other Kings player, and only shot the ball nine times. We can attribute some of that to point guards De’Aaron Fox and Frank Mason III not yet being familiar with where Skal likes the ball in the flow of the offense. However, undrafted power forward Jack Cooley outscored Skal on just 5 shots, and even worse, out rebounded Skal by nine boards in five less minutes on the hardwood. Those are hustle and energy plays, and Jack Cooley wanted the ball more than the potential franchise cornerstone? Here’s to seeing Skal get himself going. I miss the fired up, emotion Skal that I saw in the second half of last season, and I’m tuning in tonight to see him return.

Prediction: De’Aaron Fox knows when to hold ‘em, knows when to fold ‘em, knows when to walk away, and knows when to run, and his offensive acumen leads the Kings to a victory in which he records a lucky triple-seven: to go along with his 21 points, Fox gets 7 rebounds, 7 assists, 7 steals and its official that the Kings won the lottery with their selection.