Kings

Gameday: Can Willie Cauley-Stein contain Joel Embiid?

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AP

Gameday: Can Willie Cauley-Stein contain Joel Embiid?

Buddy Hield saved the day for Sacramento on Tuesday, scoring 15 of his 21 points before the half as the Kings shook off a horrible first quarter performance. Zach Randolph rallied in the third and fourth quarter to help the Kings hang on for the win. Rookie Justin Jackson set a new career-high with 16 points.

Philly is riding a five-game win streak, including a big win over the Utah Jazz in the first of their five-game road trip that began on Tuesday. Joel Embiid is putting up 20.5 points and 10.1 rebounds so far this season, but it’s rookie Ben Simmons that is turning heads with his near triple-double stats.    

BETTING LINE 

76ers by 6.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Willie Cauley-Stein vs. Joel Embiid -- Cauley-Stein has had an up and down season so far, but he’s still getting the call with the first unit. Embiid looks like an All-Star in the making, but he’s played just 39 games since being drafted with the third overall selection in the 2014 NBA Draft. Cauley-Stein came into the league as a defender that can guard multiple positions. He’ll face a big that can score from anywhere on the court and stuffs the stat sheet every night.  

WHERE THEY STAND 

Kings: 2-8, fifth place in Pacific

76ers: 6-4, second place in Atlantic

INJURY REPORT 

Kings: PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out.

76ers: PG Markelle Fultz (shoulder) out, G Jerryd Bayless (wrist) out.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

RINSE AND REPEAT -- Hield was everything the Kings needed and more against the Thunder, but he’s struggled with consistency. If he’s hitting his shots, the second-year guard is all over the court. If he comes out cold, he has to find ways to help out. Hield’s averaged 17 points and 7.3 rebounds per game over his previous three games. 

BETTER STARTS -- Sacramento set a new NBA record when the second team posted 29 points against the Thunder before the team’s starters could score a single point. The Kings continue to fall behind early and they’ve been less than successful on most night digging out of those holes. If the starters can’t get it going early, Joerger is going to have some difficult decisions to make.

MOMENTUM -- OKC isn’t a world beater yet, but they boast three All-Stars, including the league’s reigning MVP in Russell Westbrook. Sacramento fought through a rough start to come away with a big win on Tuesday. They have winnable games against young, inexperienced teams over the next week. There is an opportunity to steal a few victories and get the season back on track. 

SERIES HISTORY 

These two teams split the season series 1-1 last year with each holding home court. The Sixers have a 30-32 lead during the Sacramento-era and Philadelphia holds a 163-125 advantage all-time.

Bagley ready to get started in Sacramento: 'I've worked my whole life for this'

Bagley ready to get started in Sacramento: 'I've worked my whole life for this'

SACRAMENTO -- Welcome to sunny Sacramento, California, Marvin Bagley III. The Kings' prized rookie made his way to the Capital City following Thursday night’s draft. On Saturday afternoon, he dropped by Golden 1 Center for his first official media appearance.

While being flanked by his general manager, Vlade Divac, and his head coach, Dave Joerger, the 6-foot-11 big man was all smiles as he held up his new No. 35 Kings jersey.

“To know that I’m going to be in Sacramento, building something and just getting better as a player, it kind of gives me a chance to focus in and lock in on everything I need to get better at,” Bagley said. “I’m definitely excited.”

[WATCH: Marvin Bagley III's full introductory press conference]

Kings fans showed up in force to greet Bagley at the airport Friday afternoon and again at a "Music in the Park" gathering Friday evening. The passionate fanbase that is already embracing the 19-year-old rookie.

“The reaction from the fans everywhere I’ve been so far, it’s been great, it’s been great,” Bagley said. “It makes you feel good and it makes you want to work harder and get ready to go out and play in front of fans like that who have your back.”

Building up to the draft, Bagley told his inner circle not to tell him where he was going. He wanted the moment to be a surprise.

“I was just anxious, I wanted to find out for myself,” Bagley said. “Hearing my name being called, it was kind of an outer body experience, I would say. I’ve worked my whole life for this.”

After bouncing around during his high school career and playing just one season at Duke, Bagley is looking for some stability. He’s moving his entire family out to California with him, including his two younger brothers, who will attend school in the Sacramento area.

Bagley is familiar with a few of the young players, including De’Aaron Fox and Harry Giles, who he played against on the AAU circuit. The trio spent a little bit of time together during the draft process while Bagley was visiting the Kings’ facility.

The plan is for the young Kings players to reconvene on Thursday for a mini-camp leading up to the summer league schedule. It’s a test run for what should be an interesting season of Kings basketball. 

Sacramento will continue to develop their young roster than now includes nine players on rookie-scale contracts. Bagley is expected to see major time in his rookie year as Joerger “takes off the training wheels” for this season.

Bagley likes the nickname MB3Five or MBIII, although he’s leaving it open for suggestions. He’s also been in the studio cutting a track or two.

“Music is a way to express myself,” Bagley told NBC Sports California.“A lot of people see me as a player, only on the court playing basketball. Music gives me a platform to kind of express myself and share my story of how I got here.”

Bagley is an engaging young man with tremendous upside. The Kings hope they landed a future All-Star level player with the second overall selection.

The rookie will make his debut in a little over a week at the California Classic at Golden 1 Center. The three-day tournament over July 2, 3 and 5 will feature the Kings summer league roster, along with teams assembled by the Golden State Warriors, Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers.

Bagley is also schedule to play in the Las Vegas Summer League in the first week of July.

Divac explains why Bagley over Doncic was an 'easy choice' for Kings

Divac explains why Bagley over Doncic was an 'easy choice' for Kings

SACRAMENTO -- Deliberate. Calculated. Secretive. The Sacramento Kings held the NBA in suspense throughout the 2018 NBA Draft process. It wasn’t until Thursday morning that anyone knew for sure what Vlade Divac and his group were going to do and even then, there was a possibility of a last minutes swap.

With the second overall pick the Kings selected Duke big man Marvin Bagley III. According to Divac, Sacramento focused on the 19-year-old leaper early in the draft process.

“He’s a guy who works hard, wants to improve, learn, coachable, good teammate, checks all the boxes of what we want,” Divac said.

Bagley tore up the ACC in his lone season as a Blue Devil and has been vocal about his want to be the first overall selection. He reiterated that desire on his post draft phone call with Sacramento media members on Thursday.

“That’s just the kind of player I am, I have confidence in my game,” Bagley said. “I still think I’m the best player in the draft and I stand by that. I put a lot of work into it and I’m glad I’ll be able to show it with Sacramento and I’m super excited.”

With Bagley in tow, the Kings now have six big men, including veterans Zach Randolph and Kosta Koufos, as well as young players Willie Cauley-Stein, Skal Labissiere and Harry Giles. It’s a crowded frontline that Divac will need to adress, or maybe not.

“He can play small forward,” Divac said of Bagley. “He can play 3, 4 and 5. Marvin’s a unique talent. He can play multiple positions.”

[RELATED: How Marvin Bagley fits with Kings]

Whether or not Bagley can play the wing is unknown at this time. He played primarily at the power forward and center position at Duke. At 6-foot-11, 234 pounds, he is a lean athlete and he shot nearly 40 percent from behind the 3-point line last season.

Much to the ire of plenty of Kings fans, Sacramento’s front office passed on Slovenian star Luka Doncic. When asked about the decision, Divac made it clear where his group ranked Bagley.

"Marvin, for us is better fit, better player. Great talent. So it was an easy choice for us," Divac said.

Bagley will land in Sacramento Friday morning. The Kings will introduce him to fans during Music in the Park at Cesar Chavez Plaza at 5pm.

He will meet with the media on Saturday for his introductory press conference, and according to Divac, fans won’t have to wait long to see him in action. The plan is for Bagley to see action in both Sacramento and Las Vegas summer league tournaments beginning in early July.