Oh boy. That was rough.
Last night was supposed to be the dress rehearsal for the Kings season, with Coach Dave Joerger playing a regular season rotation and the team trying to give their all to beat a very talented Utah Jazz team.
They lost by 39 and it felt even worse.
It was so bad that the sparse crowd in attendance even started booing the team, multiple times. In a game that didn’t even matter! That’s a special kind of awful.
The Kings did not come out with any intensity, something Coach Dave Joerger lamented in his post-game presser. Rudy Gobert set the tone on the defensive side of the ball for Utah, and just a few minutes in the Kings were scared to attack the rim for fear of being swatted by the Stifle Tower. Utah meanwhile played smart and moved the ball around, attacking an inexperienced Kings team that didn’t look like it knew what it was supposed to do on that side of the floor. Gobert and others continuously found themselves wide open as Utah simply killed the Kings with ball movement and pick and rolls.
One of the biggest problems with this team is the lack of an Alpha. Bogdan Bogdanovic might be that guy but he’s not here right now and someone needs to step up in his absence. De’Aaron Fox looked timid at times, and shot just 1-10 with only 2 assists in 28 minutes. Willie Cauley-Stein finished with 16 points, and most of those came in the second half when Utah decided to rest its starters, including Gobert. Marvin Bagley, one of the very few bright spots offensively (he even tried some right handed moves!) looked incredibly lost on defense. Buddy Hield, the Kings best scorer on paper, scored just 7 points and shot just 3-13. He also only shot two three pointers and the team itself shot just 18. Utah on the other hand shot 30 and made 14. The Kings settled for bad shots and let Utah take great ones.
The only real positive to take away from this game was that it was just preseason and doesn’t count. But there are going to be nights like this all year long, and especially with the Kings rough early year schedule, it could get even uglier.