SACRAMENTO -- The games keep coming for the Sacramento Kings. After playing Sunday night in Las Vegas, the Kings returned to Golden 1 Center Monday to face the high-powered Portland Trail Blazers. With half the team taking the night off, the Kings couldn’t keep up, falling to 1-3 for the preseason with the 97-83 loss.
1- Welcome to the show Justin Jackson. Taken with the 15th overall selection in the 2017 NBA Draft, the rookie out of North Carolina struggled in his first two appearances for Sacramento. He found a rhythm against the Blazers, scoring 16 points on 5-for-10 shooting from the field, including his first three 3-point makes of the preseason.
2- Frank Mason is NBA ready. The rookie point guard picked up the start in place of George Hill and the injured De’Aaron Fox. He instantly went to work against Damian Lillard, showing the same tenacity that NCAA fans became accustomed to while he starred at Kansas. The end result was a 13-point, five-rebound, three-assist performance for the 23-year-old guard.
3- Feed Labissiere. The Kings are looking for big things from their second-year power forward. Starting for the resting Zach Randolph, Labissiere went at the Blazers for 13 points and seven rebounds, using a variety of post moves and perimeter jumpers. He matched up against stretch fours for much of the night and held his own defensively.
4- The sophomore struggle is real. Malachi Richardson and Georgios Papagiannis are having a tough time finding playing time and an even tougher time making an impact. Richardson picked up three fouls in three minutes of first half action. Papagiannis picked up three fouls early as well and chipped in three turnovers before the break. Papagiannis rebounded a bit to finish with eight points and four rebounds in 20 minutes. Richardson’s five points all came in the second half.
5- End of bench steps up. With seven players sitting out, Jakaar Sampson, Jack Cooley, Matt Jones and Marcus Williams all contributed. Sampson and Cooley are playing on two-way deals and expected to bounce back-and-forth between Reno and Sacramento all season. Jones and Williams are options for the Bighorns as well. Every team needs a shooter and a veteran point guard.