Kings

Kings' roller coaster ride takes another turn in loss to Suns

kings-sidebar-usatsi.jpg
USATSI

Kings' roller coaster ride takes another turn in loss to Suns

SACRAMENTO -- Learning the hard way. The Sacramento Kings are one of the few teams in the league that could lose to the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday, beat the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday and then stumble against the Phoenix Suns on Friday.

It’s a focus issue. It’s a consistency issue. It’s a young team issue. It’s an issue.

“Tough one,” Bogdan Bogdanovic said. “We felt good after (the) Cleveland win. But that’s the thing you have to learn in this league, that we have to go every night hard and (with) the same mindset.”

From the opening tip, the Kings looked out of sorts. They had no answer for forward T.J. Warren. They couldn’t get a rebound. They were out-hustled and outshot by an equally young team.

“They made shots and we missed shots,” George Hill said from his locker stall. “I thought they kind of beat on the rebounds and second chance points and things like that.”

The final rebounding numbers have Phoenix leading 45-38. Sacramento's minus-seven rebound differential happened on the offensive end, where the Suns beat the Kings 16-9. Those 16 rebounds led to a 19-11 advantage in second chance points. “Rebounding and second chance points and things like that" pretty much sums up the evening.

“We got off to a slow start in the first quarter,” a befuddled Dave Joerger said following the 111-101 loss. “The game plan was to be aggressive, to be physical, to get back in transition, to keep them off the glass as much as possible.”

The game plan went out the window early. Phoenix jumped out to a 35-25 lead after the first quarter and held a 16-8 rebounding advantage. Sacramento clawed back in the game late, even taking a four point lead in the fourth quarter, but a series of errors did them in.

Phoenix finished the game on an 18-4 run over the final six minutes of the game. After a blissful win over the Cavs, the Kings were left once again scratching their heads.

It’s a process. The Kings are competing every night. They have even learned how to finish in certain situations. But bringing a consistent energy and effort is still an issue.

“I don’t know if you can teach,” Garrett Temple said of team’s young players. “I think they just have to learn through trial and error - the losses teach them. You have to learn something from the losses and I think the losses will teach them that you have to be ready for each game.”

The search for consistency continues New Year's Eve when Sacramento plays the third contest of their six-game homestand. The Kings draw another sub-.500 club on Sunday when the Memphis Grizzlies roll into Golden 1 Center. Which Sacramento Kings team will show up?

 

Kings shut down first-round pick Harry Giles for entire 2017-18 season

giles-harry-us.jpg
USATSI

Kings shut down first-round pick Harry Giles for entire 2017-18 season

SACRAMENTO -- The mystery of Harry Giles has been solved. The Sacramento Kings officially made their decision known Thursday morning that they will redshirt the talented rookie out of Duke University, sitting him out the remaining 38 games of the season. 

It’s probably been the plan all along. Sacramento spent the 20th overall selection in the 2017 NBA Draft on the 19-year-old, after a full medical review of his previous knee issues. They’ve relied heavily on the medical and science field to come up with an appropriate plan of treatment and chosen a smart, measured approach to his rehabilitation.

Giles is one of six players in the history of the league to attempt to play after tearing his ACL in both knees. The team understood the risks of selecting him coming into the draft and they are hoping their cautious approach will hopefully pay dividends over the course of a long career for Giles.

After consulting multiple experts on bilateral knee injuries, the Kings made the early decision to wait a full year from the date of Giles’ last ACL surgery before allowing him to see unrestricted court time. That date has passed, but without a conventional training camp, Sacramento has chosen to err on the side of caution and prepare Giles for a healthy offseason program and Las Vegas Summer League appearance. 

Earlier this month, the team sent Giles, along with assistant general manager Brandon Williams, to P3 for biometrical and neuromuscular evaluations. According to the team, those tests proved overwhelmingly successful. 

Not only are Giles’ ACLs 100 percent healed, but the the 6-foot-10 forward is showing major signs of improvement in agility, strength and athleticism. According to P3’s testing, Giles is no longer considered an injured player and the team has cleared him for normal duty. 

The former top high school prospect has also added a few pounds of muscle, weighing in at 249 pounds, up from 222 that he was listed at during pre-draft. 

Giles will continue to practice with the team, and in addition, the training and medical staff will work to strengthen his core and leg muscles while keeping close tabs on his progress. 

Sacramento will spend the upcoming months preparing Giles both physically and mentally for the 2018-19 campaign, where they will likely add another lottery selection. He hasn’t had a single setback since joining the club and they would like to continue to build for the future. 

The tests show Giles is an elite athlete. If he can stay healthy and get back to the player arc he showed as a prep athlete, the Kings may have found another piece to the puzzle. They are going to give him every opportunity to get right physically before putting him on an NBA court. 

After getting lunch money stolen again, it's time for the Kings to get nasty

After getting lunch money stolen again, it's time for the Kings to get nasty

SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento Kings can take a punch, but can they throw one? In one of the recurring themes of the 2017-18 season, the Kings were too nice Wednesday evening against the Utah Jazz and they got their lunch money stolen.

“I just told them we need to play with more life, we need to play with more athleticism, and we need to play with a lot more nasty,” Dave Joerger said following the Kings 120-105 loss to the Jazz.

The Kings have talent, but so far this season, they are lacking in the nasty department. As the season passes the midway point, opponents continue to look extremely comfortable playing against a Sacramento team that ranks 29th in the league in defensive rating.

Against Utah, it was rookie Donovan Mitchell that dismantled the Kings’ sets. With his shooters dropping in bombs from the outside and his bigs setting picks, the 13th overall selection in the 2017 NBA Draft looked like a superstar.

“Same thing he’s been doing all year - he’s been scoring the ball,” De’Aaron Fox said of his fellow draft classmate. “That’s what he came out and did today.”

Mitchell came in averaging 18.9 points per game, which is tops amongst rookies. He dropped 34 points on 14-of-19 shooting while dicing up the Kings defense.

“We let them go in the paint so many times,” Bogdan Bogdanovic said. “That opened some easy buckets for them and some wide open threes.”

Sacramento’s communication breakdowns were obvious. They cut into the Jazz lead on multiple occasions, but then they would leave a shooter open and pay the price.

Rodney Hood scored 25 points shooting over the Kings defense. He knocked down 4-of-9 from behind the arc and added

Joe Ingles chipped in 14 points on 4-of-7 from deep, including three makes in the third quarter as Utah turned the screws on Sacramento.

“I don’t think we are physical enough,” Bogdanovic said. “We’ve got to play tougher and to bring some dirty game on the floor and some smart decisions, like when it’s time to help and when it’s time to not help. We’re still learning, we’re still new.”

Bogdanovic held his own against the Jazz, scoring a career-high 25 points on 9-of-11 shooting and a perfect 6-for-6 from behind the arc. Willie Cauley-Stein added a 26-point, 10-rebound double-double, but it wasn’t nearly enough.

Call it a lack of energy. Call it nasty or dirty. The Kings need to find a way to make their opponent feel them more on the court or it’s going to be a very long final 38 games to the season.

After dropping six straight, it doesn’t get any easier for the Kings. They embark on a six-game trip beginning Friday in Memphis. Maybe they can find themselves on the road.