Kings

The adjustment is going to take some time for Bogdan Bogdanovic

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USATI

The adjustment is going to take some time for Bogdan Bogdanovic

Media Day 2017 went off without a hitch in Sacramento. The energy in the building was different and rightfully so.  DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay, Darren Collison and Omri Casspi, all mainstays over the past few seasons, were nowhere to be found.

Ten new faces wondered the practice facility floor as the Kings begin anew with a youthful core and a handful of veterans.

Plenty of players drew crowds. A 40-year-old Vince Carter fielded questions like a man ready to steal a national television job in a year or two. Fifth overall pick De’Aaron Fox is already a media darling and he isn’t the only young player heading in that direction.

Almost an afterthought to the day, Bogdan Bogdanovic was one of the last players to run the media circuit. The 25-year-old landed in Sacramento on Saturday evening and he had the look of the weary world traveler that he is.

He took pictures and played video games, like everyone else. He even stood in for his first scrum as an NBA player after spending the last few seasons suiting up for Fenerbahce of the Turkish professional league.

Bogdanovic played for the Serbian national team last week, finishing second in the Eurobasket 2017 tournament. He’s played on and off all summer and has had very little time to recover before starting training camp.

“I had four days, for me, that’s enough,” Bogdanovic said with a smile.

Serbia lost to Goran Dragic and his Slovenian country mates in the finals. It was not the European sendoff Bogdanovic was hoping for.

“I’m sad we didn’t make it to the end, but to play in the final is a great thing,” Bogdanovic said. “Still, I’m not satisfied with that. I want to be a champion one day.”

Bogdanovic walks into a quagmire at the shooting guard position in Sacramento. He’ll battle Garrett Temple, Buddy Hield and Malachi Richardson for minutes, but don’t be shocked if he plays sparingly in the preseason.

The Kings are well aware of the mileage Bogdanovic has logged both on and off the court over the last few months. They’ll give him plenty of time to catch his breath as the team prepares for the 82 game schedule.

He comes to the United States with a built in support system in Sacramento. Serbian legends, Vlade Divac and Peja Stojakovic are members of the Kings front office and ready to support their young countryman.

“They are like good background for me here, everything that I need, in the beginning especially ” Bogdanovic said of Divac and Stojakovic.

The NBA game is very different from what Bogdanovic is used to in Europe. The adjustment will take time, especially learning speed and the length of the players. Possibly even a bigger change is that Bogdanovic will go from a star to a player looking to find a niche.

“Different roles, different roles,” Stojakovic said about the transition to the NBA game on the Kings Insider Podcast. “He’s going to come to a point where he realizes that not a lot of people in the U.S. care about all those accomplishments until you step on a court here and start proving yourself.”

Sacramento invested heavily in Bogdanovic, signing him to a three-year, $27 million deal over the summer. He can play the one, two or three for coach Joerger, although his natural position is at the shooting guard spot.

Patience is needed as Bogdanovic adjusts to the NBA and his new surroundings. The Kings will find some down time for the young wing before the season begins, but plan on him playing solid minutes once the season opens in mid-October.

Kings adamantly disagree with perplexing foul call at end of loss to Rockets

Kings adamantly disagree with perplexing foul call at end of loss to Rockets

SACRAMENTO -- Every time the Houston Rockets tried to pull away, the Sacramento Kings answered Wednesday night in the team’s home opener. It was a heavyweight contender throwing body blows at a 100-to-1 underdog riding a huge home crowd advantage.

And then the ref called the fight.

With the Kings trailing 98-95 with 26 seconds remaining, the Rockets attempted to inbounds the ball and George Hill made a play. From the video replay, it appeared that the ball tipped off the fingertips of Houston's Eric Gordon and the nearest official called Kings ball.

Hill and teammate Garrett Temple celebrated the turnover and the sold out crowd went crazy.

The play went under review and not only was the call overturned, but Hill was assessed a personal foul. Gordon went to the line and hit two freebies to give the Rockets a 100-95 lead and effectively ended Sacramento’s chances.

In the confusion of the moment, it turns out that an official on the opposite side of the court called a personal foul and the replay wasn’t to check on possession, but to determine which Kings player would be assessed a personal foul.  

The Kings can’t call shenanigans on the officials, the league has stiff penalties for that. But they seemed just as confused as everyone else in the building when asked about the call during postgame interviews.

“I could have swore that the refs pointed out of bounds, our ball, but they said they called a foul, so it is, what it is,” Hill said following the game.

Hill avoided digging himself a hole with the league and a potential fine as reporters tried to dig deeper. 

Head coach Dave Joerger gave an account of what the officials said following the call, but he too seemed perplexed by the play.

“That was a foul,” Joerger said of what the officials told him on the sidelines. “I adamantly disagreed. They said they called it at the time, which I didn’t see. So that was more my argument than whether it was a foul or not.”

Sacramento continued to compete in the final seconds, but they were forced to foul intentionally down the stretch and the Rockets were able to hold them at bay to come away with the 105-100 victory.

Gameday: Can Kings slow down Rockets from beyond the arc?

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AP

Gameday: Can Kings slow down Rockets from beyond the arc?

Sacramento rebooted the franchise at the trade deadline last season and begin anew this season with veteran additions Vince Carter, George Hill and Zach Randolph to compliment a bevy of young players. 

Houston reloaded in the offseason, adding nine-time All-Star Chris Paul and a veteran defenders P.J. Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute. They put on a show against the Warriors and look like one of the best the Western Conference has to offer once again. 

BETTING LINE 

Rockets by 8

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Kings defense vs. The 3-pointer -- Houston launched an incredible 180 3-point attempts versus Sacramento last season, hitting a robust 75 (41.7 percent) of those shots. It’s a new-look roster for the Kings, but they’ve had very little time to develop defensive chemistry. Dave Joerger and his staff will game plan to slow the Rockets perimeter game, but Mike D’Antoni has a deep group that comes at you in waves.

WHERE THEY STAND 

Kings: 0-0

Rockets: 1-0

INJURY REPORT 

Kings: SG Bogdan Bogdanovic (right ankle sprain) out, PF Zach Randolph (tooth) out

Rockets: PG Chris Paul (bruised right knee) questionable

SERIES HISTORY 

The Rockets swept the Kings last season 4-0, including a 135-128 victory in the final week of the season. Houston leads the all-time series 124-88 and they hold an 83-42 advantage during the Sacramento-era. 

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

THE ROOKIES - The Kings walk into the 2017-18 campaign with five rookies on the roster, four of which should see time early in the season. De’Aaron Fox is the headliner, but don’t be shocked if Justin Jackson, Frank Mason and Bogdan Bogdanovic play important roles on this team.

ROTATIONS - With 10 new faces on the roster, Joerger needed more than an abbreviated training camp and six preseason contests. Expect the coaching staff to try different looks throughout the first 20 games of the season as they search for answers.

BALANCING THE ROSTER - Joerger has five veterans and 10 players with two years of experience or less. If he goes with the vets, fans will call for the rookies. If he plays the rookies and the losses stack up, fans will call for his head. It’s an unenviable position that will require patience and a little faith.

QUOTE

“I’m expecting a high-paced game. I feel like our fans are going to come out, they’re going to give us a lot of energy, playing a team as good as Houston is.” -De’Aaron Fox