Kings

Frustrations seen front and center in Kings' losing streak, 'enough is enough'

Frustrations seen front and center in Kings' losing streak, 'enough is enough'

Slow starts have plagued the Sacramento Kings all season long. The issue reared its ugly head again Saturday afternoon as the Kings dropped their fourth straight game. 

“Being a noon game, the first person with the most energy is probably going to win the game,” Willie Cauley-Stein said following the lopsided 126-105 loss. “Our energy didn’t really come til the second half through. They already got us in a hole.”

After scoring the first two buckets of the contest, Sacramento yielded a 12-0 run to the Clippers. They attempted to play catch up the rest of the afternoon with no luck. 

Thursday following the Kings loss to the Clippers, rookie Bogdan Bogdanovic sounded off on the issue. 

“Everytime, same mistakes,” Bogdanovic said. “We really need to work on video first of all, preparation for a game as well. We can’t let those teams have a 10-point or more advantage. It’s really hard to trail them the whole game.”

“Whoever starts, we start slow. That’s about team, inside, not about personnel. I think as a team, we’ve got to just start better and be more hyped," Bogdanovic added about the slow starts.

Bogdanovic has played years overseas and the issue of energy seems to perplex the 25-year-old Serbian wing. You can see the frustration on his face. It’s the same look that some of his teammates have shown, both veterans and young players.

Some of the young guys are grasping at straws for answers. De’Aaron Fox is one of the fastest players in the league and he’s in the starting unit that’s struggling to show energy to start ball games.

“We just have to play with pace and sometimes when a team comes out and shoots the ball they were doing today, it was kind of difficult to bring that energy,” Fox told reporters following the loss. 

The team isn’t pointing fingers at anyone but themselves. They’ve stayed together, but the current spiral is starting to get out of control. 

“It’s got to come from us, but it’s got to come from us holding each other accountable,” Cauley-Stein said. “Like, enough is enough. I think coach is at that point where, you know, he’s just not going to play you if you're not doing the right things and I think that’s how it should be.”

Dave Joerger has tried countless lineups this season to find a group that starts the game the right way. It might be time for him to try moving a veteran or two out of the starting group to see if the dynamic changes.

The Kings have lost four straight and nine of their last 11 games. They currently sit at the bottom of the Western Conference standings and they play seven of their next eight games on the road, beginning on the road Monday evening in Oklahoma City. 

Kings' Bogdan Bogdanovic re-injures left knee, needs another procedure

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Associated Press

Kings' Bogdan Bogdanovic re-injures left knee, needs another procedure

SACRAMENTO -- After a week of speculation, the verdict on Kings shooting guard Bogdan Bogdanovic’s knee is in.

For the second time this offseason, the Serbian is heading for a procedure on his left knee after an MRI revealed a minor injury. The timetable for his return is unknown at this time.

Bogdanovic re-injured his knee Monday while playing for the Serbian national team in World Cup qualifying. He felt discomfort in the knee during the first quarter against Estonia and left the game early. Once Bogdanovic was back in Sacramento, the Kings medical staff evaluated the 26-year-old wing this week and determined that action was needed.

According to the Kings, Monday’s procedure will be performed by Dr. Riley Williams in New York, and Bogdanovic is expected to make a full recovery. The team will send an update when more is known.

Bogdanovic averaged 11.8 points, 3.3 assists and 2.9 rebounds in 27.9 minutes per game for Sacramento in his rookie NBA season.

Zach Randolph: Kings training camp profile

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USATSI

Zach Randolph: Kings training camp profile

No one was more consistent on the offensive end for Sacramento than Zach Randolph last season. He fought back father time as long as possible and then finished the season as a spectator when the Kings went young.

Nothing is guaranteed in season two as a King for Randolph. The 37-year-old forward cashed in with the Kings, signing a two-year, $24 million deal in 2017. He’s owed $11.7 million this season, making him difficult to move via trade.  

The Kings plan to go young this year from the opening tip. That doesn’t bode well for Z-Bo, who is nearly twice the age of Marvin Bagley III and Harry Giles III. 

Strengths

Randolph is a legendary tough guy that brings a grit and a personality to the floor. As he’s advanced as a player, he’s focused more on his perimeter game, extending all the way to the 3-point line where he shot an impressive 34.7 percent last season. 

Still a reliable scorer in the post, the Kings turned to the 17-year NBA veteran on countless occasions last season to help steady the ship. Randolph shot 63 percent at the rim and 50.9 percent inside of 10 feet last season. 

While he struggles to get off the floor, Randolph still managed to post 9.5 rebounds per 36 minutes last season by positioning and using his strength on the blocks.

On the defensive side of the ball, Randolph’s physical limitations hurt the team in transition and against quicker players. He can still hold his position in the post, but as a defender, he’s not a great option.

Weaknesses

The Kings went out and drafted a Ferrari to play the point guard and then paired him with a mack truck. Randolph is too slow to play in the uptempo offense the team hopes to transition to this season and would be better suited playing for a team that place a more methodical half court game.

As his game has moved away from the basket, Randolph’s field goal percentage and free throw attempts have steadily declined. He posted 2.2 assists per game last season, which is well above his career average, but he’s not a natural passer. 

Father time is undefeated. Randolph is stationary on both ends of the court. He can still score in bunches and get a rebound when you need it, but he can’t defend more athletic fours.

Path to Improvement

There is no way to turn back the hands of time. By adding the 3-point shot, Randolph extended his NBA career for few extra seasons, but even that has its limitations. 

The only path for improvement this season for Randolph is taking on an even larger role as a leader and locker room influence behind the scenes. With a fleet of young bigs, the Kings need Randolph to become more of a coach than a player and help teach the ins and outs of being a professional and the finer nuances of NBA post play. 

Projection

This is a complex situation. If the primary focus was just on wins, Randolph could still play 18-20 minutes per game and put up numbers. The Kings are going to run and gun and it’s hard to imagine Z-Bo keeping up. 

Bagley, Giles and Willie Cauley-Stein are the future and the present. Nemanja Bjelica fits the role of stretch four and Skal Labissiere is going to need some minutes as well. It’s a crowded front line and we haven’t even mentioned veteran Kosta Koufos. 

Z-Bo started 57 games and played 25.6 minutes per night last season for Dave Joerger. It would be shocking to see that again this year. Things can change, but Randolph’s court time should be limited this offseason barring a series of injuries or a complete collapse of scheme.