Kings

Gameday: Kings hit the road looking to snap four-game skid

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USATSI

Gameday: Kings hit the road looking to snap four-game skid

Following an embarrassing loss on their homecourt on Sunday afternoon, the Sacramento Kings traveled to Indiana where they’ll face the new look Pacers on Halloween night.

With George Hill and Zach Randolph resting, Washington jumped all over the Kings from the opening tip. The young core never responded, falling 110-83 to a quality Eastern Conference opponent. They’ll need a better effort from everyone involved if they hope to snap their four-game losing streak.

Indiana shocked the Spurs on Sunday, coming away with a 97-94 win at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Six Pacers average double-figure scoring early in the season, including former Kings guard Darren Collison who is posting 14.3 points and eight assists per game as Indiana’s starting point guard.

BETTING LINE

Pacers by 5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Buddy Hield vs. Victor Oladipo -- Hield is struggling with his shot early in the season, knocking down just 37 percent from the field and 25 percent from long range. He’ll need to find his offensive game if he hopes to keep up with the Pacers leading scorer. Oladipo is proving to be much more than just a consolation prize in the Paul George trade for Indiana. The 25-year-old shooting guard is off to a blistering start to the season, posting 25.5 points per game on 46.9 percent shooting from long range. 

WHERE THEY STAND

Kings: 1-5, fifth place in Pacific

Pacers: 3-3, third place in Central

INJURY REPORT

Kings: SG/SF Temple (rest) out, PF Zach Randolph (sore left foot) probable, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out.

Pacers: F/C Myles Turner (concussion) out, PF Domantas Sabonis (illness) questionable, SF Glen Robinson III (ankle) out.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

SEARCHING FOR OFFENSE -- Sacramento has been hit and miss on the offensive end this season. They’ve topped a 100 points three times, but they’ve also dropped in 93, 79 and 83 point performances. Finding consistency with a young roster isn’t easy. The Kings need to push the tempo and get into their offense early. Sacramento is currently 28th in the league in scoring at 96 points per game and they rank 27th in offensive rating at 100.4.

FIGHTING THROUGH ADVERSITY -- De’Aaron Fox struggled for one of the first time this season, posting just two points on 1-of-8 shooting in his first NBA start. He wasn’t the only young player to come out cold in the Kings’ 27-point blowout loss to the Wizards. Most of the team came away with an ugly stat line. This is first time many of these players have lost five out of six games in their basketball careers. You either fight through it or allow losing to become the norm.  

AN OPPORTUNITY FOR MALACHI -- Malachi Richardson has sat quietly on the bench in three of the Kings’ for six games. It appears the second-year wing is going to get a chance to show what he can do as a reserve over the next few games. When his shot is falling, you can see the confidence grow in the 21-year-old wing. When he goes cold or is left out of the offense, he needs to find ways to stay on the court with his defense and rebounding.

SERIES HISTORY

The Pacers swept the Kings 2-0 last season, including an overtime win in Indiana late in January. Indiana holds a 46-39 lead over the Kings all-time and a 35-26 advantage during the Sacramento-era.

Hill to the Cavs? The best and biggest deal for the Kings is...

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USATSI

Hill to the Cavs? The best and biggest deal for the Kings is...

Is the George Hill era in Sacramento coming to and end? According to Shams Charania, the Kings might have an interested party in the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Hill signed a massive three-year, $57 million deal with Sacramento over the summer, but has yet to live up to the contract. Through 37 games, Hill is posting 10.5 points and 2.7 assists per game for Sacramento. Those numbers are down from 16.9 points and 4.2 assists he averaged last season as a member of the Utah Jazz.

If a deal between the two teams is going to happen, it might be more complex than just shipping the 31-year-old to Cleveland on the next flight. Here is a look at a couple of possibilities without going into potential 3-way deals.

BEST DEAL FOR KINGS

Kings receive: Jae Crowder (3-years, $22 million), Iman Shumpert (2-year, $21.4 million - year-two a player option at $11 million)

Cavs receive: George Hill (3-year, $57 million), Malachi Richardson (2-year, $3 million with team option for third year)

Why Kings make deal: They land a very serviceable forward that instantly fills the team’s biggest need. At 27-years-old, Crowder is affordable and under contract for another two seasons, although he’s really struggled in his first season in Cleveland. Shumpert is coming off an injury and would likely opt out of his final year.

Why Cavs make deal: Hill instantly improves their backcourt. He can play the one of the two either as a starter or off the bench. Giving up tow wings might not be the best option, but Sacramento is going to want something of value back. Richardson is thrown into the deal to make salaries match.

BEST DEAL FOR CAVS

Kings receive: Channing Frye (1-year, $7.4 million) Iman Shumpert (2-year, $21.4 million - 2018-19 contract a player option at $11 million)

Cavs Receive: George Hill (3-year, $57 million), Malachi Richardson (2-year, $3 million with team option for third year)

Why Kings make deal: Kings give up an asset in Richardson, but they shed Hill’s $19 million owed for 2018-19 season. If Shumpert opts in, the Kings still save $8 million off the books for next season.

Why Cavs make deal: Basically, they land Hill for a couple of spare parts. Richardson is

BIG DEAL

Kings receive: Jae Crowder (3-years, $22 million), Channing Frye (1-year, $7.4 million) Iman Shumpert (2-year, $21.4 million - 2018-19 contract a player option at $11 million)

Cavs receive: George Hill (3-year, $57 million), Kosta Koufos (2-year, $17 million with player option for second year), Malachi Richardson (2-year, $3 million with team option for third year)

Why Kings make deal: They land Crowder and a get out of jail free card on Hill’s contract. Koufos can opt out of his deal at the end of the season and the Kings get nothing. Throwing in Richardson isn’t ideal, but the Kings are deep at the two and they have to match roster spots.

Why Cavs make deal: They get an upgrade in the backcourt in Hill. They are also rumored to be in the market for a big and Koufos is a much more affordable option than DeAndre Jordan.

Bogdan Bogdanovic breaks his shell early in 2018, 'he’s able to do everything'

Bogdan Bogdanovic breaks his shell early in 2018, 'he’s able to do everything'

He’s not really a rookie. After playing for years overseas, Bogdan Bogdanovic has proven very quickly that he is an NBA player. Midway through his first season in the league, the 25-year-old Serb is finding his stride. 

From the moment he stepped on the floor in Sacramento, Bogdanovic showed flashes of something special. You could see early on that he was trying to fit in and make nice with his teammates, but the honeymoon phase is over. Bogdanovic is no longer holding back.

For the third time in the new calendar year, Bogdanovic set a career-high in scoring on Wednesday evening. He dropped in 25 points on 9-of-11 shooting, including a perfect 6-of-6 from long range. 

“I’ve said it all year, he’s not really a rookie, he’s been playing pro ball for so many years,” De’Aaron Fox said of his backcourt mate. “He definitely doesn’t play like a rookie. He brings the intelligence, the savvy, the shooting - defensively, he gets after it. He’s able to do everything for us.” 

He’s pushed his season numbers up to 11.5 points, 2.8 assists and 2.7 rebounds in 26.6 minutes per game. Bogdanovic has also raised his shooting percentages drastically as the season has progressed, knocking down 48.8 percent from the field and 41.3 percent from behind the 3-point line. 

In eight games in January, Bogdanovic has taken his game to another level. He’s hit the opposition for 16.3 points, 3.8 assists and 3.5 rebounds in 30.6 minutes a game. Dave Joerger has come to rely on the former Fenerbahce star, even giving him starts in the last two games since the youth movement was officially put into motion.

“I’m working every single day as hard as I can, I’m trying to be the best version of (myself).” Bogdanovic said following the team’s loss to Utah on Wednesday.

It’s a small sample size, but Bogdanovic’s shooting numbers in 2018 are off the charts. He’s hitting 54.8 percent from the floor, a stunning 58.3 percent on the 3-ball and 92.3 percent from the line.

With All-Star weekend on the horizon, Bogdanovic has likely earned his way into an invitation for the Rising Stars Challenge. Amongst rookies, he’s currently seventh in scoring, fourth in 3-point percentage, eighth in field goal percentage and sixth in steals. 

Sacramento’s 2017-18 season is about sifting through the young players and figuring out what they have. It appears the Kings have found a keeper in Bogdanovic.