Five things to watch from Marvin Bagley's breakout game vs. Spurs


Five things to watch from Marvin Bagley's breakout game vs. Spurs

Programming note: Watch the re-air of the Kings’ victory over the San Antonio Spurs from Feb. 4, 2019 tonight at 6 p.m. PT on NBC Sports California.

To pass the time while the NBA figures out it’s next moves, NBC Sports California is bringing fans some of the best games from the last few seasons.

In our eighth installment, we go back to last season when the upstart Kings were riding high heading towards the NBA All-Star break. 

While we know the final outcome, sometimes the details become murky over time. Here are five things to watch from the Kings’ 127-112 win over the San Antonio Spurs at Golden 1 Center.

Marvelous Marvin

Marvin Bagley has played in just 13 games this season, so it might be easy for some fans to forget how talented he is. This game is a reminder of the potential hiding in the 21-year-old power forward.

While Bagley already has posted a string of double-doubles, this was his breakout game. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft posted 24 points on 10-of-17 shooting to go with 12 rebounds, four assists and three blocks in 31 minutes off the bench. 

Bagley came up huge on both ends of the court against veteran LaMarcus Aldridge and his four assists are a career-high. 

Put them away early

The Kings have a bad habit of letting teams stick around in games, but not in this one. Sacramento got off to a fast start, dropping 37 points in the first quarter on the Spurs. 

They let San Antonio back in during the second quarter, but still took a four-point lead into the break. In the third quarter, De’Aaron Fox put on the jets, scoring 11 of his 20 points.

Fox played well enough in the third that coach Dave Joerger needed him for fewer than three minutes in the final frame. 

Yo-Gi ...Fer-rell

In his first season with the Kings, Yogi Ferrell not only played spark plug off the bench, but he became a fan favorite. Against the Spurs, Ferrell was lights out.

Ferrell scored 19 points on a perfect 7-of-7 shooting from the field, including four makes from long range, in just 17 minutes off the bench.

Ferrell has seen his role reduced in Year 2 with the addition of Cory Joseph, but he has had a few moments here and there. When the Kings need a bump off the bench, he has the ability to score quickly.

Value the ball

The Kings played at a crazy pace during the 2018-19 season, but that didn’t mean they were sloppy with the ball. This game is a prime example of the team valuing the possession against a solid veteran club. Sacramento turned the ball over just eight times on the evening and posted a 26-to-8 assists to turnover ratio. 

Sacramento was efficient in their offense, shooting 55.6 percent from the field and 40.6 percent from behind the arc in the 15-point win.

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Second team blows up

Bagley broke out, Ferrell was perfect from the field and Harry Giles and Bogdan Bogdanovic were solid as well. Overall, the Kings’ second unit was terrific in this game.

The Kings’ reserves dominated the Spurs, coming away with a 60-32 advantage in bench scoring. Those are numbers you would expect to see in a complete blowout, which this was not. 

Sacramento’s bench ranked fifth in the league last season, averaging 42.7 points per game. They were solid all season long, but this game was over the top.

Harrison Barnes, Kings want chance to make NBA playoffs upon restart

Harrison Barnes, Kings want chance to make NBA playoffs upon restart

When the global coronavirus pandemic shut down the 2019-20 NBA season back in March, the Kings were 28-36. Not the prettiest record.

But Luke Walton's team was making progress. They had won seven of the last 10 games, and were 3.5 games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the No. 8 playoff seed in the Western Conference.

Now, with the NBA nearing a return-to-play plan, the question becomes: Will the Kings get a chance to compete for that final playoff spot or will the league move forward with the current 16 playoff teams?

"For us, we're kind of in a tough situation because we're on the fringe," Kings forward Harrison Barnes told Bleacher Report's Howard Beck on the "Full 48" podcast. "So in all these scenarios that are coming about, we're kind of that unique case where 'Well, do they get the play-in tournament? Do they get the five games? Since they're three games out, do they just go with playoff teams?' So you just try to stay in shape, stay ready, but you know whatever decision comes about, it's going to be made with everybody in mind, but not everyone's going to be able to be comfortable with that solution. Someone's going to get the short end of that stick, and we hope to have the opportunity to play."

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One rumored scenario would see all teams returning and playing a few regular-season games before the playoffs start. Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard opposed that idea last week because he doesn't feel his team would get a true shot at making the playoffs. He would prefer the Kings, Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans and San Antonio Spurs compete with Grizzlies in a play-in tournament to determine the playoff seed.

"I think Dame is right," Barnes told Beck. "I mean, if you come back and play, you want to be playing for something. The risk of traveling, being in Orlando in that type of environment, with any precaution that can be taken, there is a risk in that, so if you're going to be playing, you want to be playing for something. All of us who have been in isolation, we've been training, we've been hoping for this moment. You want to see that rewarded if you can, but if you're going to be in a situation where you do all this training and you come out there for a few games and you're not able to qualify for the playoffs, then it makes sense to probably have playoff teams and go from there."

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Barnes and the Kings are a young team that entered the 2019-20 season with high expectations. But injuries to De'Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley early in the year set the team back. Now, with everyone healthy, the veteran forward wants to see what the team could do if they were given the chance to compete against the Western Conference bubble teams.

"Our team is a little bit different because we had a lot of injuries throughout the season, and we were starting to hit our stride," Barnes said. "But now we're healthy, so if the opportunity is there for us to play and make the playoffs, we want that opportunity, we want to see where we're at. There's no other simulation we can get for games. This group, where we're at, we need to play, we need to play together, and playing for something is important."

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NBA rumors: Kings to get playoffs shot in potential Adam Silver plan

NBA rumors: Kings to get playoffs shot in potential Adam Silver plan

The Kings would get a chance to end their 13-year postseason drought in a proposal to restart the NBA season that reportedly is gaining momentum among the league's owners.

Sacramento would be one of 22 teams headed to Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports just outside of Orlando in a plan that has "growing support," ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne reported Friday, citing sources. The Kings would also be included in a 20-team format that "remains alive," sources told ESPN.

Wojnarowski and Shelburne reported that the NBA will vote Thursday on a format to restart the season during a board of governors call. The league requires a three-fourths majority to approve any such plan, and the owners reportedly will vote with whichever format commissioner Adam Silver recommends.

The Kings were in the thick of a playoff chase when the NBA suspended its season on March 11 due to the coronavirus' spread, just 3.5 games back of the Western Conference's eighth and final playoff spot. Sacramento's game that night was supposed to the be the last before the league indefinitely shut its doors, but the New Orleans Pelicans -- the Kings' opponents that night -- were reluctant to take the court once they learned referee Courtney Kirkland had recently worked a Utah Jazz game. Jazz center Rudy Gobert's positive coronavirus test earlier that night prompted the league to suspend the season.

Teams that were within six games of the final playoff spots in each conference would be included in the 22-team format, according to Wojnarowski and Shelburne. The 20-team format reportedly would only include the top eight seeds in each conference and the four teams, including the Kings, within four games of the eighth seed. If the NBA opts to resume the season with 22 teams, there would be regular-season games and a play-in tournament "to compete for playoff berths in both the Eastern and Western Conference," Wojnarowski and Shelburne reported.

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The Kings have gotten good news all week, with NBA general managers reportedly preferring by a wide margin a "Playoffs Plus" format to resume the season with 20 or more teams and their inclusion in all the formats gaining traction among the league's decision-makers. 

Sacramento could get even better -- and more official -- news next Thursday if either a 20- or 22-team format is approved.