Inside the Kings' schedule


Inside the Kings' schedule

Mike Kreuser

Kings fans don't need reminding, but the boys in Purple have been a disaster the last three seasons. Including a second-to-last finish in the West in 2010-11, the Kings have only won 66 out of the last 248 games which amounts to a measley .266 winning percentage. The upside of all that losing is that it has netted the Kings a nice core of young talent. There are six players on the roster that the Kings either drafted in the first round themselves or first rounders they acquired on draft day. Not including undrafted free agents, the average age of the Kings is 24.2 years old with their oldest player being recently re-acquired John Salmons (32 years old). So if any team would benefit from a chaotic 66-game schedule, it should be this squad of young legs and upcoming talent, right?Sacramento definitely could benefit from this crazy never-know-what-you-are-going-to-get schedule, but if it does, it will be because of a surge in the second half of the season. The Kings drew what has to be the toughest first 33 games in the league.
For starters, Sactown will not be seeing very much of the Kings through Februrary. Despite beginning by playing four of their first five in Sacramento, the Kings are away from the capitol for 21 of their first 33 games. So for those scoring at home, after their first five games, the Kings will be on the road for 20 of 28 contests. Obviously that disparity will balance itself out in the second half, but it will be tough to get momentum when the most consecutive days they spend in California is eight in a 58-day stretch.Beyond the long and frequent road trips, the Kings play 21 playoff teams in the first half. That stretch includes home and aways with Chicago, New York, New Orleans, Denver and Portland, as well as road contests against Memphis (twice), Miami, Philadelphia, Dallas and San Antonio. The Kings also play their only back-to-back-back in the first half of the season (Jan. 3-4-5), at Memphis, at Denver, vs Milwaukee.If Sacramento is somehow in playoff contention coming out of that first half, it will have an opportunity to thrive in the second portion of the season. At one point the Kings enjoy a league-long nine-game homestand (Cleveland and Denver are the only other teams to enjoy such a stretch). They also only face 16 playoff teams in the final 33 games (21 of which are at home). So these young Kings will be baptized by fire but if they come out in one piece, they will have an opportunity to make up some ground.The imbalanced portion of the 66-game schedule is fairly neutral. In the Eastern conference two out of the three teams they play twice are playoff teams from last year (Chicago and New York, who project to be again this season), but the third team, Detroit, is about as juicy an Eastern conference opponent as you could ask for. The teams they play only once (Boston, Atlanta, Indiana and Orlando) will all travel to Northern California. The Kings will have to play Miami and Philadelphia on the road, but also get road games against weaker Eastern teams like Toronto, Cleveland, Washington and Charlotte.In the West, the Kings play four against Oklahoma City, the Blazers and the Hornets (who are now Chris Paul-less), but also get four against the Warriors, Jazz and T'wolves. Of the three-game series, they play two roads-one home with the Mavs, Nuggets and Grizzlies, but get two home-one road against the Spurs and Lakers. So the Kings are neither winners nor losers when it comes to the imbalances of the 66-game schedule.Also, the Kings actually had more back-to-backs in 2010-11 than they will this season. They played 18 last season and are only scheduled for 17 this time around. They do pick up more stretches with four games in five nights (five this season) compared to only three a year ago. Finally they will have one murderous stretch where they play five games in six nights right at the start of the season (Dec. 31 to Jan. 5). Safe to say the Milwaukee game on Jan. 5 won't be a very pretty brand of basketball.The Kings actually have the roster to benefit in the lockout-shortened season. It will just be whether they can get it together fast enough to survive a rough first half.Here is the breakdown of their schedule by month:Games
HomeRoad2010-11 Playoff teamsWestern Conference OpponentsEastern Conference OpponentsDec.431422Jan.1751211125Feb.1358676March181268144April14868131

Mike Kreuser is a production assistant with Comcast SportsNet California.

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


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.


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.


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


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.