The Sacramento Kings opened their 2017 Las Vegas Summer League schedule Friday night against the Phoenix Suns. It was a wild up and down game, with plenty of high-end talent on both sides of the ball. Here are five takeaways from the Kings 89-85 loss to the Suns.
-- De’Aaron Fox is fast. It was understood when the Kings drafted Fox with the fifth overall selection that he was one of, if not the quickest player in the 2017 NBA Draft. The 19-year-old point guard swiped a steal early in the game and took it coast-to-coast. He took the Suns off the dribble and was so fast around the corner he lost a shoe. The rookie point guard showed flashes of brilliance, finishing the night with 18 points, four assists and five steals in 27 minutes of action. He hit jumpers and even played off the ball alongside fellow rookie Frank Mason.
-- Justin Jackson is as advertised. Smooth on the offensive end, the rookie out of North Carolina looks ready to compete for minutes in training camp. He’ll need to get stronger on the defensive end, but the 22-year-old wing scored 18 points on 7-for-11 shooting, including a pair of triples in his debut. He hit jumpers off screens and used a head and shoulder fake to get in the paint where he finished with some fancy floaters.
-- Buddy Hield doesn’t belong in Summer League. The second-year guard struggled with his shot in his 18 minutes of action, scoring 16 points on 6-for-16 shooting. It was nice of him to show up to play with his new teammates, but Hield is an NBA regular, not a player who needs to prove something in Vegas. Don’t be shocked if he watches from the sidelines later in the tournament.
-- Georgios Papagiannis looks like a different player. The giant out of Greece turned 20 earlier in the week and he’s shed major pounds since the season ended in mid-April. He didn’t have a big night statistically, unless you’re counting personal and technical fouls, but he dominated the glass for stretches and the Kings are cautiously optimistic about the 7-foot-1 center.
-- Malachi Richardson’s transition to the three is going to take time. With the additions of Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic, Richardson needs to steal minutes at the small forward position if he wants to get on the floor. He held his own against rookie Josh Jackson, but he looked uncomfortable for stretches. The second-year wing needs to do more than just score if he hopes fend off Justin Jackson, who looked very nice in his debut.