Kings

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Kings Summer League loss to Lakers

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Kings Summer League loss to Lakers

LAS VEGAS, NV --  The Lakers pulled the plug and the ballyhooed matchup between Lonzo Ball and De’Aaron Fox Monday night. Los Angeles chose to sit their star young point guard, which opened the door for Sacramento to pick up their first win during the 2017 Summer League schedule.  But that’s not what happened. Los Angeles jumped all over the Kings early, leading by as many as 28. Sacramento made a late run, but fell by a final of 95-92.

-- Frank Mason is finding his stride. The former Kansas Jayhawk star looked like the little engine that could against the Lakers. He broke down Los Angeles’ defense and found open shooters. With others struggling, the second-rounder gave the Kings a boost with 24 points, six assists and five rebounds off the bench.

-- Buddy Hield is all over the board. After going cold in games 1 and 2, Hield lit the Lakers up for two 3-pointers early. And then he forced the action. He’s put on himself to have a big Summer League appears to be wearing on the second-year guard. He caught fire late, knocking down four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to finish with 22 points.

-- Justin Jackson is a nice asset to have. In today’s NBA, it’s refreshing to see a player who can play without the ball in his hands. After going 0-of-8 from long range on Sunday, the 22-year-old forward finished with 16 points on 7-for-16 from field. While he shot just 2-of-6 from deep, he plays the game under control and with confidence. That third year at UNC is paying off early.

-- De’Aaron Fox knows how to silence a crowd. With Laker fans chanting “over-rated” in the first half, Fox ran right by his defender for a lay-up. There might not be a faster player in the league. He needs to get his teammates involved, but Kings fans should be excited about their prized top five pick.

-- Ignoring your bigs is ill-advised. Georgios Papagiannis has struggled big time in Las Vegas and Skal Labissiere has been a non-factor in game 3. Sacramento over-dribbled on the perimeter and forced up bad shots, limiting their starting power forward and center to a combined nine shots, none of which found the bottom of the net.

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

Kings look to get healthy with opener just days away

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USATSI

Kings look to get healthy with opener just days away

SACRAMENTO - All hands on deck. The Sacramento Kings open the 2017-18 schedule Wednesday night against the Houston Rockets at Golden 1 Center and it looks like they might do so with a full arsenal of players at their disposal.

Point guard De’Aaron Fox returned to practice on Sunday and then participated in the team’s annual Fanfest. If his dance moves are any indication, the 19-year-old’s back is feeling just fine.

Veteran George Hill tweaked his groin Friday against the Golden State Warriors, leaving his availability for opening night in question. Hill, 31, who has a history of groin injuries, was on the court Monday practicing and said he is ready to play.

“Everything is feeling good right now,” Hill said Monday following practice.

The only player who didn’t practice on Monday is rookie Bogdan Bogdanovic, who sprained his right ankle against the Warriors. According to head coach Dave Joerger,  the team is hopeful that the Serbian sharpshooter will return in time for Game 1.

“We’re still shooting for Wednesday for both of them,” Joerger said of Hill and Bogdanovic.

New look Rockets

The Rockets went 55-27 last season under head coach Mike D’Antoni, but that didn’t stop them from going all in during the offseason. With MVP runner-up James Harden already manning the backcourt, Houston added nine-time All-Star Chris Paul as their new starting point guard.

“Leadership, he’s a floor general,” Hill said about Paul. “Anywhere he goes, he’ll make a team better. We know they were already a good team without him, coming in with him is going to be a bigger task.”

It’s a new look roster and the expectations are huge for the Rockets. Houston averaged 115.3 points per game last season and led the league in both 3-point attempts and makes. This season, they also added two strong perimeter defenders in P.J. Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute.

It’s a huge test coming out of the gate for Sacramento. Following the contest against the Rockets, the Kings hit the road for three straight before returning to Golden 1 next Thursday to face DeMarcus Cousins and the New Orleans Pelicans.


Camp notes

With the season just around the corner, the Sacramento Kings made their final roster cuts on Sunday afternoon. David Stockton, Matt Jones and Reggie Hearn were waived, leaving the Kings with 15 rostered players and two two-way players in Jack Cooley and JaKarr Sampson.

Stockton, Jones and Hearn are all expected to join the Reno Bighorns of the NBA’s G-League.