SACRAMENTO -- Game on. The Sacramento Kings returned to the court for their first preseason game Monday evening at Golden 1 Arena. Gregg Popovich and his perennial playoff San Antonio Spurs walked away wondering whether they just played a basketball or ran a track meet.
With both teams relying heavily on their young players, the Kings came away with the 106-100 victory to start the 2017-18 exhibition season.
1- Joerger is leaning on the vets. The Kings’ starting lineup featured five 30-somethings, including George Hill, Garrett Temple, Vince Carter, Zach Randolph and Kosta Koufos. The young players saw plenty of court time, but Joerger is going to turn to this group for plenty of minutes early in the season as the young players find their NBA sea legs.
2- The second unit is going to push for minutes. After starting the vets, Joerger turned to a second unit of De’Aaron Fox, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Buddy Hield, Skal Labissiere and Willie Cauley-Stein. The youth movement put on a show. They made plenty of mistakes, but they played hard and they played fast.
3- Fox hasn’t mastered the jumper, but he’s so fast that it doesn’t matter. Speedster Patty Mills couldn’t stay in front of the rookie and Fox even ran out of his shoe at one point. The rookie posted 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting in 17 minutes of action. It’s going to be hard to keep him off the court once the regular season begins.
4- So many players and only 48 minutes to play. Joerger sent players in and out of the game as fast as he could possibly substitute and it still felt like everyone needed more time. Frank Mason III dropped in 17 points in 22 minutes. Labissiere added 15 points and four rebounds and Hield went for 12 points on 6-of-10 shooting as Joerger stuck with the young guys in the second half.
5- Baby steps. Rookie Harry Giles has competed in training camp everyday, but Monday night he was listed as “OUT - Bilateral Knee Rehab.” The Kings love the potential of the 19-year-old big, but they aren’t going to rush him into action.