Five down, one to go. The Sacramento Kings limped through their fifth preseason game Thursday night in Los Angeles. With De’Aaron Fox out and George Hill going down early, the team’s depth was tested. In the end, the experience of the Clippers won out as they came away with the 104-87 victory to push the Kings to 1-4 in the exhibition season.
1- Bogdan Bogdanovic breaks out. The Kings’ coaching staff has been waiting for the Serbian sharpshooter to get a little more selfish. He attacked the Clippers Thursday evening, scoring a preseason-high 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting from the field and 2-for-3 from behind the arc. Be it as a starter or off the bench, Bogdanovic is going to have a big time role on the Kings this season. Unfortunately, the 25-year-old went down with a sprained right ankle at the end of the third quarter and didn’t return.
2- Temple run. Garrett Temple is the Kings’ jack of all trades. He can play both wing positions and defend the one, two or three. Against the Clippers, he was the hot hand, hitting 3-of-4 from downtown on his way to 13 points. If Temple can give Sacramento another reliable 3-point shooter, he becomes one of the team’s most valuable assets.
3- Frank Mason is plan B. With both Fox and Hill on the shelf, the rookie point guard out of Kansas dropped in 13 points on 5-for-7 shooting. He added four assists and three rebounds in 24 minutes of action. Hill has a history of missing games, so being a third point guard on this Kings team might not be a bad thing.
4- Buddy Hield looked comfortable with the starters. He hasn’t exactly shot the lights out during the preseason, but the second-year guard had a solid night for Sacramento. The former sixth overall pick dropped in 12 points on 3-of-5 shooting from deep and added three rebounds and three assists. He can score in bunches, but Hield needs to continue to improve his all-around game if he hopes to hold onto the starting shooting guard spot.
5- Mixing the young with the old. For the second time in preseason, Dave Joerger turned to a starting frontcourt of Zach Randolph and Willie Cauley-Stein. Z-Bo attacked the Clippers early, finishing with 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting in 23 minutes at the power forward spot. Cauley-Stein got it going late, chipping in 10 points and seven rebounds. This might be the opening night pairing in the post.