Kings

Bogdan Bogdanovic's return creates a good problem for Dave Joerger

Bogdan Bogdanovic's return creates a good problem for Dave Joerger

SACRAMENTO -- There were plenty of questions coming out of the Sacramento Kings offseason, but one thing was known - the team knew who their starting backcourt was. 

De’Aaron Fox and Bogdan Bogdanovic finished off the 2017-18 season building chemistry and playing off one another. Fox is the speed merchant with star potential. Bogdanovic is the wise European player with an advanced feel for the game and deadly outside shot.

Sacramento’s plan was thrown out the window when Bogdanovic tweaked his left knee playing for the Serbian National team late in the summer and underwent a procedure to repair the joint on Sept. 25. 

The injury cost Bogdanovic all of training camp and another 10 games of the regular season. It was also Bogdanovic’s second procedure on the same knee this summer, which forced the Kings to take a more cautious approach.

Six minutes into the first quarter of the Kings’ 114-105 loss to the Toronto Raptors, Bogdanovic finally made his season debut. He even received a huge ovation from the Sacramento crowd when he stepped to the scorers table to check in.

“It was good for him, just to see him back out there playing with us,” Willie Cauley-Stein said. “Any time one of your guys goes down with injury it’s always nice to see them come back.”

Bogdanovic didn’t make the fans wait long to hear his name over the PA system. At the 4:51 mark of the quarter, he made a driving layup to give the Kings a seven point advantage. 34 seconds later, he drilled a 3-pointer and started to look like his old self.

“I thought Bogdanovic looked solid,” coach Dave Joerger said. “He got tired, there was no question about that and it showed a little bit - but I’m very proud of him and our entire team.”

Joerger is going to bring Bogdanovic along slowly, especially with the team’s new uptempo style. He played the 26-year-old guard 18 minutes, but he did so in short bursts. Bogdanovic played five minutes in the first quarter, a little over four in quarter number two. He totaled nine minutes in the second half, split evenly between the third and fourth quarters.

“He’s trying to find his rhythm,” De’Aaron Fox said. “He’s a great scorer and he shoots the ball well and a good playmaker. It adds another dynamic to the our team.”

Following the game, the Serbian-born wing spoke to the media. 

“I’m not 100 percent, condition wise, I’m healthy, that’s most important right now,” Bogdanovic said. 

After sitting out most of the last six weeks, Bogdanovic finished the night with seven points on 3-of-7 shooting. He also grabbed two rebounds and dished out an assist in the loss. 

He played four positions for the Kings on the evening, including the one, two, three and four. 

“I felt good honestly,” Bogdanovic said. “I’m just happy to be part of the team and to be healthy.”

Joerger has some difficult decisions to make in the near future. Bogdanovic’s setback opened the door for shooting guard Buddy Hield to step into the lineup and he’s taken full advantage in the team’s surprising 6-5 start. Through the first 11 games, Hield is posting over 20 points per game and shooting the lights out from all over the court. 

Bogdanovic will take a few games to get back into NBA shape, but when he’s ready, he is a player that commands major minutes with his play. 

When asked about how difficult it will be to fit Bogdanovic back into his rotation, Joerger was all smiles.

“Not a problem,” the veteran coach said. “He’s pretty good.”

It’s possible that Joerger will eventually start Bogdanovic alongside Fox and Hield in a three guard set. It’s also possible that Bogdanovic comes off the bench as a multi-positional super sub. Either way, having him back in the fold is a good problem to have for Sacramento. 

Bogdanovic won’t have long to wait for his next opportunity to run up and down the court. The Kings play a home-and-home back-to-backs on Friday and Saturday beginning with the Minnesota Timberwolves, followed by the Los Angeles Lakers.

Kings team up with American Red Cross to aid victims of the Camp Fire

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USATSI

Kings team up with American Red Cross to aid victims of the Camp Fire

SACRAMENTO -- A little over two years after its opening, Golden 1 Center continues to be the centerpiece of Sacramento. For the last few days, the home of the Kings has been under siege by invading smoke from the Camp Fire that has destroyed most of the city of Paradise, California, some 90 miles north of Sacramento.

During the loss to the Lakers on Saturday evening, LeBron James and other Lakers players commented on the smoke inside the building. But during Monday evening’s victory over the San Antonio Spurs, the air was close to normal in the 17,000 seat arena.

The Kings have been working overtime to process and remove smoke from inside the building. It’s an ongoing challenge that required the team to bring in heavy machinery, including additional HVAC units and carbon filters, to properly control the air quality in the arena. 

During shootaround on Monday, Golden 1 Center looked mostly clear with giant machines humming in the background. Smoke started to roll into Sacramento in the early afternoon, but the team was successful in keeping most of the unhealthy air outside throughout the game. 

According to the Sacramento Bee, the 125,000 acre Camp Fire is 35 percent contained. It has consumed 7,600 structures and the death count is currently at 42, with hundreds still missing and thousands left homeless.

The Kings are accepting donations on behalf of the American Red Cross and will match up to the first $15,000. In addition, the team’s staff is spending time calling Kings fans to help drive the fundraising initiative.

According to the team, Golden 1 Center visitors can donate directly to the Red Cross at Local Eats stands during concerts, games and events. Additionally, at an upcoming Kings game, the Kings Foundation 50/50 Raffle proceeds will directly benefit the American Red Cross.

Two positives, two negatives from Kings' streak-busting win over Spurs

Two positives, two negatives from Kings' streak-busting win over Spurs

SACRAMENTO -- When you looked at the Kings' November schedule, there was an instant cringe. After a quick start to the season, an already difficult schedule turned down right nasty for Sacramento. 

So far, the Kings are plugging along and ignoring the odds makers. Monday’s victory over the San Antonio Spurs pushed the team’s record to 3-3 in November, with wins coming against the Hawks, Timberwolves and Spurs. 

The schedule continues to get more difficult as the month goes on, but the Kings appears up for the challenge.

The Kings currently stand at 8-6 on the season after a 104-99 win over the Spurs.

Here are two positives and two negative from the game. 

POSITIVES

Bogi Ball

Bogdan Bogdanovic had the unenviable task of sitting on the sidelines and watching as his team got off to a fast start this season. A knee injury had the 26-year-old guard down through training camp and missing the first 10 games of the regular season.

When he did finally step on the court, the Kings lost, first against the Raptors and then again Saturday against the Lakers. Monday’s victory over the Spurs marked the first time Bogdanovic got to celebrate a victory as a player this season and he played a big role in the upset win.

With minute restrictions slowly being lifted for Bogdanovic, he managed to post a team-high 22 points on 9-of-17 shooting in 25 minutes of action. Following the game, Bogdanovic said he planned to play in both of the team’s back-to-back games later this week and is hopeful his minutes restrictions will be lifted soon. 

Streak busters

When you are a franchise that has struggled through more than a decade of losing, some nights the game notes have some alarming stats. Last year, the notes mentioned something about the Kings not winning in South Beach since Crockett and Tubbs were still on the beat. 

Against the Hawks, Sacramento’s losing streak dated back to the George W. Bush presidency, which seems like a long time ago.

When the Kings hosted San Antonio on Monday evening at Golden 1 Center, they were up against a 14-game losing against the Spurs, dating back to 2014.  

It’s a new day in Sacramento. The Kings are young and fun and they no longer want to read about extended losing streaks. So they have decided to go out and smash a few of them. 

NEGATIVES

Get to the line 

Last season, the Kings ranked last in the league in free throw attempts. They were timid going to the rim, choosing fall away jumpers and floaters over contact in traffic. The team has improved this season and currently ranks ninth in the league with 23.7 attempts per game, but against San Antonio, they reverted back to their old ways. 

The Spurs are a veteran team and they understand how to play defense without getting in foul trouble. On the evening, San Antonio committed 12 personal fouls and yielded just 12 free throw attempts to the Kings. 

The lack of free throws didn’t cost the Kings a win, but in a tightly contested game, Sacramento has to learn how to continue to attack and draw contact. In the final quarter of a five-point victory, the Kings didn’t go to the free throw line a single time. 

Trouble at the wing 

In a reoccuring theme this season, the Kings continue to struggle with offensive production from the small forward position. Iman Shumpert started the game and finished with two points, two assists, two rebounds and three steals in 26 minutes.

Justin Jackson came off the bench and went scoreless with four rebounds and two assists in 19 minutes. 

Shumpert ran a team best +9 in the plus/minus category and played well defensively against All-Star DeMar DeRozan. Jackson helped out on the defensive end as well and was a plus-one for the game.

Sacramento has plenty of scorers and neither player is expected to put up huge point totals. But if they want to keep the defense honest, they have to do better than a combined two points on 1-of-6 shooting over 45 minutes of game action.