Kings

Dave Joerger not happy with Kings after loss to Mavs: 'We were awful'

Dave Joerger not happy with Kings after loss to Mavs: 'We were awful'

SACRAMENTO -- Chaos is becoming the norm in Sacramento. With protesters barring more than 10,000 fans from entering Golden 1 Center for the second time in a week, the Sacramento Kings put up a lackluster effort and lost to one of the league’s worst teams.

Following the 103-97 loss to the Dallas Mavericks, head coach Dave Joerger expressed his displeasure with his team’s effort, even showing a rare bit of emotion in his answer.

“We were awful,” Joerger said. “We played with no force, no physicality and no toughness whatsoever.”

Joerger was quick to exempt veteran big man Kosta Koufos from his comments. The 10-year vet brought his lunch pail like usual, finishing the night with 15 points and seven rebounds in 14 minutes of action.

The rest of the group, Joerger was less than happy with.

“Training wheels come off next season,” Joerger said. “We can talk about this after the season, but those guys have to feel it and they’re going to have to step up against teams like this or other teams.”

Joerger went young the entire second half, relying on De’Aaron Fox, Frank Mason III, Buddy Hield, Justin Jackson, Skal Labissiere and Willie Cauley-Stein to fight through the struggles. He sprinkled in minutes for JaKarr Sampson and Bruno Caboclo as well, but his young core was on full display and they fell flat.

“There is going to be some bumps and we are going to take steps forward and we’re going to take steps backward, but you’ve got to be ready to go and you’ve got to play with a certain amount of force and physicality,” Joerger added.

Some of the players cleared out early, others stood in to try and explain how the Kings dropped their 51st game of the season, this time to a team that came into the night with just 22 wins.

“It’s different, but we just have to play the game like professionals,” Hield said following the loss. “You can’t worry about what’s going on outside and whatever the noise is going on. We’ve just got to come out and handle our business and tonight, we didn’t handle it well. There’s no excuse to it. We’re professional. We have to go out there and do our job.”

Tuesday evening’s game was particularly frustrated for the team after they put in solid work at practice on Monday. For some reason, the energy didn’t carry over to the game the next night.

“I have no idea, that’s how it goes sometimes,” Cauley-Stein said of why practice didn’t carry over to the game. “We’re young. That’s it. Say that. We’re young.”

That excuse only works so long. 73 games into an NBA season, most of these players have seen enough court time to know what to expect on a game night. Of all the young players on the Kings’ roster, Cauley-Stein is the most experienced, playing 207 total games over his three seasons in the league.

The Kings will have to regroup and show that they are ready to finish the last second game strong. They’ll face their former teammate, Darren Collison, and the Indiana Pacers on Thursday evening. Indiana is currently tied for the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference playoff chase and they come into Golden 1 Center riding a three game win streak.

NBA Draft Prospect Profile: Luka Doncic

NBA Draft Prospect Profile: Luka Doncic

Draft Profile: Luka Doncic

Shooting Guard/Small Forward - Spain

Age: 19 Height: 6-foot-8 Weight: 230

Stats: 14.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.1 steals, .4 blocks, 30.9% 3-point

Player Comparison: Toni Kukoc, Brandon Roy, Manu Ginobili

Strengths

A multi positional player with a basketball IQ off the charts, Doncic is the most accomplished player to come from the European game, perhaps ever. He’s a wizard in the pick-and-roll and he can score at all three levels. Doncic is also a proven winner that makes his teammates better and he has the hardware to prove it.   

Weaknesses

There is some concern that Doncic lacks the athleticism and lateral quickness to dominate in the NBA like he did in Europe. While he can play the point guard, shooting guard and small forward position on the offensive end, he’s more of a three on defense at the NBA level. He masks any physical liabilities with incredible instincts, but that might not fly every night at the NBA level.

Fit

With Sacramento, Doncic would jump in and start at the small forward position on day 1 alongside the backcourt of De’Aaron Fox and Bogdan Bogdanovic. He would add a scoring threat and another ball handler to the Kings’ first unit.

Chance of going No. 2

Doncic is on a short list of players the Kings are considering at No. 2. They have scouted him all season in Europe and gone overseas to visit the Slovenian prospect twice in the last month leading up to the draft.

NBA Draft Prospect Profile: Michael Porter Jr.

NBA Draft Prospect Profile: Michael Porter Jr.

Michael Porter Jr. - Small Forward - Missouri - Freshman

Age: 19 Height: 6-foot-10.75 Weight: 211

Stats: 10.0 points, 6.7 rebounds, .3 assists, 1.0 steals, .3 blocks, 30.0% 3-point

Player Comparison: Danilo Gallinari, Tracy McGrady

Strengths

Porter is an incredibly gifted scorer that projects as a legitimate number one option at the NBA level. His handles need some work, but he can take opponents off the dribble, rise above defenders in the mid-range and shoot from deep. He’s also a solid rebounder for his position and has the size and athleticism to be an adequate defender.

Weaknesses

Porter underwent back surgery after just two minutes of play during his freshman year at Missouri. He returned late in the season, but was limited to just 53 minutes of play for the Tigers. His shot selection will need work and he weighed in at just 211 pounds at the combine. He’ll need to get stronger and work the kinks out with his back issues if he hopes to fulfill his enormous potential.

Fit

If it wasn’t for the back issues, Porter would be the perfect addition for the Kings. He could start at the small forward position and slide over and player stretch four for stints. Sacramento could use a pure scorer like Porter, but health is a big concern.

Chance of going No. 2

Sacramento would love to take the gamble on Porter, but they’re going to need a clean bill of health. They attended his evaluation day last Friday, which reportedly went well. But with other options on the table, they are going to need assurances that the herniated discs issue was a one time thing.