Kings

Fox takes losses in stride: 'It's part of the game'

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USATSI

Fox takes losses in stride: 'It's part of the game'

SACRAMENTO -- 1-8 doesn’t feel good to anyone, especially for a group of rookies trying to find their way in the league. The NBA is a cruel world that doesn’t care who you were in college or how high you were drafted.

The Kings take a seven-game losing streak into Tuesday evening’s game against the Thunder. Outside of Harry Giles, who’s Duke team went 28-9 last season, the other three draft picks have already lost more games this season than they did last year in the NCAA. We aren’t even 10 games into the 2017-18 season.

“A lot of these guys have been so accustomed to winning, but I was draft in the lottery, so you kind of come in kind of expecting something (like this),” De’Aaron Fox said Monday following practice. “We want to turn this around. Nobody likes losing.”

It’s an interesting perspective for a 19-year-old kid. Fox led his Kentucky team to a 32-6 record last season in the NCAA. But in the pros, you are starting over. When a team takes you with the fifth overall selection, you have to assume you are going to a team that’s struggled. Not everyone gets to walk into Jayson Tatum’s situation in Boston.

“It’s part of the game,” Fox said. “Every player drafted that high, basically, has had to go through bumps in the road.”

Fox is off to a quality start in Sacramento. He’s leading the team in scoring at 12.7 points a night and also assists at 5.0 per game. He’s shooting 41.7 percent from the floor, which could improve and he’s shooting just 27.3 percent from behind the arc.  

“I’m just trying to shoot the ball better, try and get my teammates involved more,” Fox said. “For me, doing that is just staying in attack mode. I can attack and get people involved. I can attack and score for myself. Even defensively, just being aggressive.”

Fox faces one of his favorite players growing up Tuesday night when the Oklahoma City Thunder roll through Sacramento. He’ll get a shot to defend Russell Westbrook, the reigning MVP and one of the most aggressive players in the league.

It’s baptism by fire for the Kings’ young point guard. You have to have a short memory. There’s always another game just around the corner and win or lose, there is plenty to glean from going up against one of the best.

Bobby Jackson hired to Kings' staff as assistant player development coach

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AP

Bobby Jackson hired to Kings' staff as assistant player development coach

Dave Joerger is making changes to his Sacramento Kings coaching staff.

After Jenny Boucek's departure earlier this offseason -- she joined Rick Carlisle’s staff in Dallas -- the Kings had a vacancy. On Thursday afternoon, they filled the spot with fan favorite Bobby Jackson.

Jackson will work as an assistant player development coach after spending the last three seasons as a collegiate scout for the team. 

This is the second go-around on Sacramento’s staff for Jackson, who spent two seasons as an assistant coach for Paul Westphal from 2010 to 2012 after retiring as a player in 2009. 

Jackson spent 12 seasons in the NBA, including two stops in Sacramento. He averaged 9.7 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists for his career. In 2002-03, Jackson was named NBA Sixth Man of the Year with Sacramento when he averaged 15.2 points per game. 

Source: Kings in recruiting phase with forward Nemanja Bjelica

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USATSI

Source: Kings in recruiting phase with forward Nemanja Bjelica

After a slow start to free agency, a source has confirmed to NBC Sports California that the Kings are in the recruiting phase with unrestricted free agent Nemanja Bjelica. 

No contract has been discussed, but the team is attempting to convince the Serbian forward that there is value in staying in the NBA.

News of potential interest between the parties first broke Wednesday afternoon.

Bjelica agreed to a one-year, $4.5 million deal with the Philadelphia 76ers on July 5, but he never signed on the dotted line and informed the team earlier this week of his decision to return to Europe this season.

The 6-foot-10 combo forward spent the last three seasons coming off the bench for the Minnesota Timberwolves. He posted 6.8 points and 4.1 rebounds in 20.5 minutes per game under coach Tom Thibodeau, but his opportunities were limited in the T-Wolves' system.

At 30, Bjelica is older than most of the Kings’ recent targets, but he potentially could fill a glaring hole in the roster as a shooter at both the three and the four. Bjelica split his minutes between both forward positions in Minnesota last season, knocking down a career-best 41.5 percent on 2.7 attempts per game from behind the arc. 

There is no word yet on the exact dollar figure offered by the Kings. Sacramento has a whopping $20.5 million in salary-cap space to work with, and the free agent market is nearly dried up. 

While four years older, Bjelica compares favorably as a player to the Spurs’ Davis Bertans, who signed a two-year, $14.5 million contract to return to San Antonio earlier this month as a restricted free agent. 

According to a source, Sacramento likes Bjelica’s versatility and believes he can eat minutes at small forward this season, as well as shifting over to play the four.