I’ve kind of given up on predicting which version of the Kings will show up any given night. They can be full strength at home against an overmatched opponent and come out with no energy, and they can be down starters on the road and beat down a playoff team.
There’s no rhyme or reason to Sacramento this season. The team’s only consistent trait is inconsistency.
So when the Kings take on the Thunder in Oklahoma City Tuesday, it’s hard to know what to expect. It’s a road game, and the Kings will be missing De’Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, and Harrison Barnes. Those players are the top three sources of halfcourt offense creation on the team, and two of the best defenders.
It will be interesting to see what the Kings offense looks like with both Fox and Haliburton out for the first time this season. Delon Wright will probably step in as the starting point guard, with Marvin Bagley also having to assume a larger role on the offensive end. Both Wright and Bagley were wonderful against Dallas, and they’ll need to continue that level of production against a team without the same intrinsic motivations of a revenge game.
But OKC is also tanking, hard, and the Thunder play an entire rotation under the age of 24. To be clear, OKC has the worst net rating in the league, minus-10.6 points per 100 possessions, per Cleaning the Glass. The Thunder have the league’s worst offense and 25th-worst defense, turn over the ball more than any team in the league, and are only 13th in the standings because they’ve won seven more games than expected based on their point differential.
Mistakes will be made — which team will capitalize?
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City
When: Tuesday, May 4 at 5:00 p.m. PT
How to watch/listen: NBC Sports California, KHTK Sports 1140 AM
Opposing perspective: Welcome to Loud City
Projected Starting Lineups
Kings (27-37): Delon Wright, Buddy Hield, Moe Harkless, Marvin Bagley III, Richaun Holmes
Thunder (21-44): Theo Maledon, Luguentz Dort, Darius Bazley, Alexsej Pokuševski, Moses Brown,
Kings: Harrison Barnes (left adductor) — DOUBTFUL; Chimezie Metu (low back soreness) — QUESTIONABLE; De’Aaron Fox (health and safety protocols), Tyrese Haliburton (left knee), Robert Woodard II (low back soreness) — OUT
Thunder: Alexsej Pokuševski (left knee) — QUESTIONABLE; Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (right foot), Mike Muscala (right ankle) — OUT