The Sacramento Kings are on the board! After losing their preseason opener to the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday, the Kings bounced back and beat the Trail Blazers 121-106 on Sunday night, and Tyrese Haliburton had his fingerprints all over their win.
While the rookie didn’t have a monster scoring night, he did stuff the box score with 11 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds, a block and a steal. Additionally, Haliburton’s 11 points were a new career-high for him. With how comfortable he looked Sunday night, it’s safe to assume he’ll regularly break double figures when the games start to count.
However, Haliburton’s final scoring numbers weren’t the most impressive part of his stat line; his playmaking was. Haliburton could be a go-to scorer sooner rather than later, but until then, it’s important that he understands how to break down NBA defenses and learns how to be a floor general at this level. Sunday was a good first step.
Kyle Guy also looked more confident against the Trail Blazers on Sunday, scoring 14 points — tied with Richaun Holmes for the team-high — on an efficient 4-8 shooting from the field and 3-7 shooting from behind the 3-point line. It’s unlikely that Guy will crack the rotation this season, but if he continues to show that he can be a reliable shot-maker, he should play more than the 10 total minutes he played with the Kings last season.
Above all else, getting players like Haliburton and Guy burn should priority No. 1 for Luke Walton in the preseason. The sooner he has an idea of what he can get out of them this season, the better it will be for him and the team.
The Kings will be back at it on Tuesday to take on the Golden State Warriors in Sacramento. Tip-off is 7 p.m. PT.