Kings

Kings testing new backcourt twist in Summer League

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SACRAMENTO KINGS

Kings testing new backcourt twist in Summer League

LAS VEGAS, NV -- There is an interesting development happening with the Sacramento Kings Summer League team. De’Aaron Fox is playing plenty of minutes as the starting point guard, but he’s also getting a look off the ball alongside fellow rookie Frank Mason. 

“I like it, it’s a really good adjustment for me, for us,” coach Jason March said about the dual point guard look during his postgame media scrum. “I could go with it for longer amount of time, but we’ve got other guys out there.”

It’s a valuable experience for both Fox and Mason that may pay dividends during the regular season when veteran George Hill is thrown in the mix. In the battle for playing time, versatility is imperative. If Fox can play a few minutes at both guard positions, it may open up some time for Mason.

"I think we both create a lot plays for our teammates," Fox said. "We’re both quick and I think we play really we together."

"We do a good job of playing off each other whenever we’re in there together," Mason added.

The duo did a nice job of breaking the Memphis Grizzlies down off the dribble and hitting open shooters on the perimeter. Unfortunately for their assist totals, both Justin Jackson and Buddy Hield had off nights from long range.

“We missed a lot of shots, I give props to Justin Jackson, he went 0-for-9, but he just kept shooting it,” Skal Labissiere said. “A lot of guys would go 0-for-2, 0-for-3 and stop shooting and I’m sure that’s not comfortable for him to keep doing it, but he kept shooting it. That speaks volumes about him. We want him to keep shooting and eventually they’ll start falling.”

Labissiere was off by one 3-pointer, but who’s counting. Jackson went 0-for-8 from the three and 2-of-13 overall, while Hield went 1-of-5 from deep. It’s hard to create space and driving lanes when the shots aren’t falling.

The Kings get another shot to pick up their first Summer League victory Monday night when they face Lonzo Ball and the Los Angeles Lakers. 

Vince Carter sighting

Eight-time All-Star Vince Carter dropped by Cox Pavilion on Sunday to meet some of his new teammates. The 40-year-old drew a huge crowd everywhere he went as fans tried to get autographs. Carter, along with Hill and Zach Randolph are expected to be announced as free agent signings by the Kings Monday in Las Vegas.

Hamstrung in Vegas

Malachi Richardson entered Cox Pavilion wearing a Kings polo shirt instead of his usual warm-up gear Sunday evening. The second-year wing missed the second half of last season with a hamstring tear and on his last shot Friday night against the Phoenix Suns, he felt a spasm in the same hamstring. Sacramento will take a cautious approach to injury, leaving Richardson’s availability for the rest of Summer League is in question.

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. 

Gameday: Memphis homecoming for plenty of Kings

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USATSI

Gameday: Memphis homecoming for plenty of Kings

Want to get away? After dropping six straight games, the Sacramento Kings hit the road for a season long six-game trip beginning Friday in Memphis. 

It’s a homecoming game for plenty of Kings coaches and players, including Zach Randolph, who is playing in front of a Memphis crowd wearing an opposing jersey for the first time in eight years. Dave Joerger and most of his staff came over from the Grizzlies in the summer of 2016 and Vince Carter and Kosta Koufos spent time in Memphis as well.

Memphis has had a rough season, but two-time former King, Tyreke Evans, has made a tremendous impact in his first season with the team. He’s posting big numbers and looks as healthy as he’s been in years.

BETTING LINE 

Grizzlies by 5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Willie Cauley-Stein vs. Marc Gasol -- Cauley-Stein is blossoming in his third NBA season. He’s become a reliable scoring and rebounding option for the Kings. He’s improved on the defensive end as well, but guard Gasol is as tough as it gets. The 7-foot-1 Spaniard has an old school game. He can pass, hit you from the outside and work you over in the post. Cauley-Stein will have his hands full with the three-time All-Star big.

WHERE THEY STAND 

Kings: 13-31, fifth place in Pacific

Grizzlies: 15-28, fourth place in Southwest

INJURY REPORT 

Kings: PF Skal Labissiere (left shoulder strain) questionable, PG Frank Mason III (heel) out, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) is out for the season.

Grizzlies: C Marc Gasol (illness) questionable, PG Mike Conley (Achilles) out, SG Andrew Harrison (shoulder) questionable, SF Chandler Parsons (knee) out, SF James Ennis (calf) out, .

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

Homecoming -- This should be an emotional night for plenty around the Kings team, especially Randolph. The Grizzlies retired the 36-year-old’s No. 50 jersey, making him the first in franchise history to receive the honor. 

Show Improvement -- The Kings are in a funk, but we are seeing steady improvement from plenty of the team’s young players. Bogdan Bogdanovic continues to post up big numbers, including a career-best 25 against the Jazz on Wednesday.

Break the Streak -- A six-game trip is daunting, especially after a rough stretch. If Sacramento can get out of Memphis with a win, it would take plenty of stress off a young team. 

SERIES HISTORY 

These two teams split their season series 2-2 last season, but Memphis went up 1-0 for the 2017-18 campaign with a win at Golden 1 on New Year’s Eve. The Kings hold a 45-39 advantage over the Grizzlies all-time.