Here are four takeaways from the Kings’ loss.
The Kings are still well behind the West’s best teams
Despite missing one of their three best players in Desmond Bane, and playing on the second night of a back-to-back, the Grizzlies were still able to win comfortably over Sacramento. This is not necessarily a demerit against the Kings, but instead, pointing out how far the Kings have to go to compete at the highest levels.
On top of having one of the most electric players in the league, Ja Morant, the Grizzlies also have terrific depth across their roster, with a bunch of quality young players. The difference in production between the Grizzlies’ bench and the Kings’ bench was pretty stark on Sunday.
Sacramento needs more game-to-game consistency from its bench
Speaking of depth, the Kings could really benefit from a more consistent bench unit. Sure, Malik Monk scored 18 points on 17 shots, but other than him, the Kings don’t really have the same amount of players that can be counted on.
Mike Brown is throwing darts, trying to make a bench unit work, but nothing has stuck. For the Kings, adding more quality bench pieces would make them a more dangerous team come the spring.
Domantas Sabonis should be an All-Star and he will be
Sabonis is producing every single night at this point. It wasn’t his best game of the season, but Sabonis continued to be productive on Sunday, finishing with 18 points, 14 rebounds and four assists. Game in and game out, Sabonis plays with an intensity and team-oriented style of basketball that is just fun to watch.
Nearing the halfway mark of the season, it’s clear that Sabonis has been one of the best big men in the conference and is very deserving of an All-Star spot. With the Kings outperforming expectations, now at 19-16, I expect him to receive that honor.
Richaun Holmes should remain the backup center (for now)
After racking up DNP after DNP, Holmes has played five consecutive games for the Kings. On Sunday, Holmes only finished with two points in 14 minutes, but he performed well enough to continue playing him.
The Kings have tried Chimezie Metu, Alex Len, Neemias Queta and Trey Lyles at the backup center spot this season, but none of them fully thrived. At this point, the team should give Holmes some extended runway, so he can get accustomed to the role instead of changing the player every couple of games.
Ideally, Holmes can take a stranglehold of this spot on the depth chart and help the team push toward a playoff spot.