The Sacramento Kings and the Dallas Mavericks have been linked for many years and for many reasons. In the late 90s and early 00s, the two franchises competed fiercely in the playoffs, with Chris Webber, Vlade Divac, and Mike Bibby leading the way for Sacramento, and Dirk Nowitzki, Steve Nash, and Michael Finley starring for Dallas. More recently, the former rivals were once again connected when the Kings selected Marvin Bagley III second overall, leaving heralded prospect Luka Doncic on the board for the Mavericks to snatch up. And just a few weeks ago, Vlade Divac and Donnie Nelson engaged in a swap of small forwards, as Justin Jackson headed to Texas and Harrison Barnes donned the purple and black. Tonight, those two players will face their former respective teams for the first time.
When: Thursday, March 21st, 7:00 PM PST
Where: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, CA
Radio: KHTK Sports 1140 AM
For Your Consideration
Luka Doncic was projected to be the most NBA ready rookie heading into the 2018-2019 season, and the young Slovenian has met and even surpassed those expectations, leading first year players in scoring (21.1 points), while placing second in assists (6.3) and rebounds (7.5). Luka’s historical contributions have locked up the Rookie of the Year award as the season comes to a close. Sacramento’s own rookie stud, Marvin Bagley, produced at a slower pace to start his career, but has recently enjoyed a significant uptick in production. The second overall pick is averaging 20.2 points and 7.8 rebounds on 57% shooting from the field since the trade deadline, and he has become one of the most important players on the Kings roster. Luka Doncic and Marvin Bagley won’t spend much time guarding one another, but whichever rookie has the larger impact Thursday night will likely see their team take home the victory.
The two teams have already faced each other once this season, with the Kings taking home a win, but both organizations have updated the look of their roster over the past few months. In February, Dallas traded away every starter sans Luka Doncic, gaining the services of injured star Kristaps Porzingis and adding important cap space to their books this summer. Meanwhile, Sacramento bolstered their talent level with the addition of Harrison Barnes, Corey Brewer, and Alec Burks, while sending out Iman Shumpert, Justin Jackson, and the non-contributions of Zach Randolph.
In the post-trade deadline world, the Mavericks have own just 3 of 18 games, losing by an average of 9.2 points, the works mark in the league during that stretch. Dallas sacrificed their season on the altar or Kristaps Porzingis and in the hopes of keeping their top-5 protected first rounder, and the Kings should walk away with an easy victory tonight if they can stay focused for all four quarters. Luka Doncic is extremely talented and has a bright future ahead of him, but his fellow teammates simply don’t have the ability to challenge Sacramento’s level of talent.
Marvin Bagley outscores and outrebounds Luka Doncic, Willie Cauley-Stein plays fewer minutes than Harry Giles, and Carmichael Dave eats at least three gallons of popcorn.
Kings 123 – Mavericks 106