Bogdan Bogdanovic, Richaun Holmes building early chemistry with Kings

Bogdan Bogdanovic, Richaun Holmes building early chemistry with Kings

SACRAMENTO -- Instant chemistry.

With so many new additions, the Sacramento Kings are a work in progress. But in the team’s 105-88 win over the Phoenix Suns in Game 3 of the preseason, an outline of something interesting is already forming.

Bogdan Bogdanovic and Richaun Holmes already look like a seasoned pick-and-roll tandem.

“We know Bogi is a very talented, smart, and skilled player; so pick-and-roll games with a big man, a dynamic roller like that, we had envisioned as something that could be a weapon for us, but it’s happening pretty quickly,” head coach Luke Walton said following Sacramento’s first victory of the preseason.

After tearing up the FIBA World Cup competition in China, Bogdanovic came into camp in incredible shape. He’s primed for a big season as the primary ball-handler with the Kings’ second unit and pairing him with a player like Holmes is a perfect fit.

“He’s a tremendous pick-and-roll player,” Bogdanovic said of Holmes. “He can jump like crazy. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s really crazy athleticism.”

This isn’t the first time Bogdanovic has played with an athletic roller in Sacramento. The 27-year-old Serbian worked the two-man game to perfection plenty of times with big man Willie Cauley-Stein over the last two seasons with the Kings.

Cauley-Stein left for the Warriors in free agency over the summer, but Bogdanovic sees plenty of similarities between he and Holmes.

“It’s part of my game, but (playing with) Willie also helped,” Bogdanovic said. “He’s the same type (of player) as Willie. He’s a quicker roller than Willie and he can dunk some.”

Despite limited experience together, the duo showed incredible patience when paired together. Holmes set big picks to free his guard. Bogdanovic used a variety of moves to keep his defender off balance and put the ball in Holmes hands once the defense committed his way.

“He’s such a smart player, such a high IQ player,” Holmes said of Bogdanovic. “You give him the ball and he makes things happen. I just try to get in the right spots. He tells me where he wants me and he likes to pass the ball. It’s been working so far.”

Bogdanovic isn’t the only player on the Kings roster that is a fan of Holmes. According to Buddy Hield, he asked general manager Vlade Divac to go out and get the former Suns big man during the offseason.

“I love the way he plays,” Buddy Hield said. “He brings a lot of energy. He gets after it, and he’s that missing piece that will help you go far. He’s going to be a big part of this team going down the stretch."

Starting point guard De’Aaron Fox agreed with Hield’s assessment. Holmes brings something different that they were missing last season.

“He comes out, he’s going to play with energy, he’s going to block shots, he’s going to rebound,” Fox said. “You know what you’re going to get out of him. That’s one of those guys you love playing with.”

Fox is still learning the two-man game, but when he attacks the rim, having a player like Holmes down low is a huge plus.

“He keeps the other big honest,” Fox said. “If you step up, you can just go right over their head for a lob. If they don’t step up, I’m still putting pressure on the rim. That’s one thing he definitely does - he puts a lot of pressure on the rim so bigs have to make decisions.”

[RELATED: Can Holmes recapture 3-point sucess?]

It’s early, but Holmes’ play style is taking very little time to integrate into the Kings’ system. He finished Thursday’s game with 11 points on 5-of-5 shooting and chipped in six rebounds in 20 minutes of action off of Walton's bench.

The 25-year-old signed a two-year, $10 million contract with Sacramento over the summer. If he continues to develop chemistry, Holmes may end up being one of the bigger steals of the offseason for the Kings.

Kings' Bogdan Bogdanovic listed as questionable day after career night

Kings' Bogdan Bogdanovic listed as questionable day after career night

The hits keep rolling for the Sacramento Kings.

De’Aaron Fox is out for the foreseeable future with an ankle injury. Marvin Bagley traveled with the team on the current four-game road trip, but will not play due to his still healing broken right thumb. And now Bogdan Bogdanovic, Cory Joseph and Trevor Ariza are having an issue as well.

Bogdanovic set a new career-high in scoring on Tuesday evening when he dropped 31 points in the Kings’ win over the Suns, but he watched the final 1:22 of the fourth quarter from the bench.

Sacramento's super-sub is dealing with tightness in his left hamstring and is questionable for Friday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets.

The 6-foot-6 wing could be seen grabbing at his left hamstring late in the win over Phoenix. Following the game, he said that his leg felt okay and believed it was just a cramp. He is expected to be listed as day-to-day moving forward.

After a rough start to the season, Bogdanovic is on a tear as of late for Sacramento. Over his six games, the 27-year-old guard is averaging 21.3 points, 6.7 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 2.3 steals in 32.6 minutes per game. He’s also shooting 53 percent from the field and a stunning 56.5 percent from 3-point range on 7.7 attempts per game.

Bogdanovic is a huge reason the Kings have rallied back after starting the season 0-5. He’s taken over as the primary ball handler with Fox out of action and his confidence is at an all-time high.

[RELATED: How Kings' Serbian connections help make Bogi feel at home]

In addition to Bogdanovic, Joseph is banged up as well and listed as questionable with a sore left heel. The veteran point guard has started the last four games in Fox's absence, posting 3.3 points and 6.3 assists in 31.7 minutes per game. While his numbers are down, he's provided a steady hand with the offense and his defense has helped the Kings win games.

Lastly, Ariza is still recovering from a right groin injury and is away from the team due to personal reasons. According to a league source, he will miss the entire four game trip.

If Bogdanovic and/or Joseph can’t suit up, head coach Luke Walton will have to get creative with his rotations. Expect to see Buddy Hield to carry even more of the load in the backcourt and veteran Yogi Ferrell will likely get a longer look with the second unit.

The Kings also have rookie Justin James and two-way player DeQuan Jeffries on the roster if they need some added depth. If Walton is looking for help at the wing, Wenyen Gabriel is available to steal some minutes and brings plenty of energy.

Marvin Bagley re-evaluated by Kings, will not play on four-game road trip


Marvin Bagley re-evaluated by Kings, will not play on four-game road trip

Before the Sacramento Kings boarded a flight to New York City on Wednesday morning, they took care of some medical news.

According to the team, Marvin Bagley underwent an x-ray on his broken right thumb and has been re-evaluated by the team’s medical staff.

Bagley is progressing in his recovery and will make the four-game trip to the east coast, but he will not suit up for the Kings as they push to get back to the .500 mark. The 20-year-old power forward will undergo another re-evaluation when the team returns home next week.

After a solid rookie season, Bagley was injured on opening night against the Phoenix Suns. He’s missed the last 12 games but has ramped up his activity both in practice and in pregame over the last week.

“Once he’s cleared, we have to get him on the practice court,” head coach Luke Walton said during pregame on Tuesday. “I’ve played with players like Kobe (Bryant) who could miss four weeks and come back and they are ready to go at a high level. And then I’ve been a player myself, where if I missed four weeks, I need another four weeks just to be able to run with the guys out there. So it’s different for everybody.”

Bagley is likely closer to the Kobe model than the Walton model in this particular instance. He’s been on the floor working out and staying in shape during the injury, despite wearing a removable brace on his right hand.

The injury is also to Bagley’s non-dominant hand, which has allowed him to continue to work not just on cardio, but on shooting drills as well.

A lot has changed in the 12 games Bagley has missed. Nemanja Bjelica has stepped in and played extremely well at the power forward position and Richaun Holmes has taken over the center position for veteran Dewayne Dedmon.

Bjelica is averaging 11.4 points and 6.3 rebounds in 25.8 minutes per game as a starter. He’s also shooting 53.1 percent from 3-point range during that time and his true shooting percentage of 67.8 is tops on the team.

With Bjelica spacing the floor, Holmes has found a home in the paint. The athletic 26-year-old is averaging 11.8 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 29.6 minutes over nine games as a starter.

The combination of the two players has helped the Kings recover from their slow start to the season, but the team is also excited to get Bagley back in the fold.

“We can’t wait,” Richaun Holmes said of Bagley’s potential return. “When he gets back, to have a talent like that inside our lineup, all know what he can do on the floor, that’s just going to make us better. We’re looking forward to getting him back.”

Bagley has a different skill set than either Holmes or Bjelica. He isn’t the shooter that Bjelica is and he’s still learning the pick-and-roll game that has made Holmes so successful. But Bagley is likely the best rebounder of the lot and his ability to get easy baskets as a true back to the basket scorer is a welcome sight.

“No complications to me,” Holmes added. “He’s talented. You know we’re going to need him. We need everyone in this locker room. When he gets back, we’re ready to have him back out on the floor.”

[RELATED: Kings must adapt with Bagley missing time]

Bagley’s original diagnosis had him missing 4-6 weeks of action. We’re currently at the four-week mark, which means he’s getting close.

Walton will have a tough decision to make when Bagley is finally ready to return. The chemistry of his team is building. They’ve won six of their last eight games to move within a game of .500. But Bagley is the future of the Kings and after an adjustment period, he is going right back into the starting lineup.