Gameday: Kings begin challenging road stretch with a visit to OKC, Westbrook


Gameday: Kings begin challenging road stretch with a visit to OKC, Westbrook

Sacramento’s lost four straight and they begin a stretch of seven of the next eight games on the road. They start the gambit in Oklahoma where the star-studded Thunder await them on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The Kings are coming off back-to-back losses to the Los Angeles Clippers which sunk them to the bottom of the Western Conference standings. Willie Cauley-Stein put up 23 points and 13 rebounds, but the Clippers jumped out to a big lead early and coasted home.

OKC is playing tremendous defense, but they still haven’t figured out how to put it all together. Russell Westbrook’s numbers are steadily climbing as he adapts to additions Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. This team is in the middle of the pack in the west, but they are one hot streak away from jumping up in the standings.


Thunder by 11.5


De’Aaron Fox vs. Russell Westbrook: Take 2 -- Fox seems to have turned a corner since returning from injury. But the 20-year-old will guard one of the toughest assignments in the NBA. Westbrook is fresh off an MVP season and he’s getting dangerously close to averaging a triple-double on the season.


Kings: 13-29, fifth place in Pacific

Thunder: 23-20, second place in Northwest


Kings: PG Frank Mason III (heel) out, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out.

Thunder: SG Andre Roberson (knee) questionable.


Youth Movement -- Dave Joerger has slowly turned to his younger players as the season’s gone on. Fox is starting at the point and Cauley-Stein is playing a big role on the front line, but Bogdan Bogdanovic and Buddy Hield are starting to see an increase in minutes as well. Players are developing, but it doesn’t always look pretty.

Get a Body on Him -- Steven Adams is a beast. The giant out of New Zealand plays physical and he’s strong as an ox. Someone is going to have to keep a body on him or he’ll dominate the glass all game long. Cauley-Stein, Zach Randolph, Kosta Koufos and maybe even Georgios Papagiannis have their work cut out for them.

Live in the Moment -- Games like this against superstar players can be overwhelming for young players. The Kings need to stick to the game plan and play each possession like it’s their last.


The Kings shocked OKC in early November, coming away with a 94-86 win at Golden 1 Center. The Thunder hold a 142-86 all-time lead over the Kings and an 85-50 advantage in the Sacramento-era.

Source: Kings looking at 'multiple options to make our team better'

Source: Kings looking at 'multiple options to make our team better'

It’s been almost two weeks since the Sacramento Kings jumped from the potential seventh overall selection, all the way up to No. 2. The unexpected boost in good fortune has set off a flurry of conversation about what the Kings might do with the pick.

It’s in an enviable position. The 2018 NBA Draft has plenty of talent, especially in the top five. Barring a seismic move that sees the Kings moving out of the top end of the draft, there is potential to land a much needed star.

Sacramento has time to mull over potential offers, research players and make a decision they believe will benefit the franchise long term. After multiple conversations, it appears the team is taking an open minded approach as to which player they will select.

“This is a draft with a handful of elite talents at the top,” a team source told NBC Sports California. “That presents multiple options to make our team better.”

Options are a good thing. Or at least they can be. Phoenix will dictate the opening of the action. They are expected to keep the No. 1 overall selection and Deandre Ayton is the likely choice. After that pick, things might get interesting.

Option 1 - Go with the Flow
There are plenty of NBA experts that believe that Slovenian guard/forward Luka Doncic is the second best player in the upcoming draft. Sacramento spent plenty of time during the season scouting the 19-year-old and a source confirms that they had multiple representatives in attendance at the EuroLeague Final Four.

He’s the most decorated European prospect to come along in decades, winning the European League’s Rising Star award the last two seasons to go with this season’s league MVP and Finals MVP awards.

Doncic has the basketball IQ and playmaking ability to step in and help in Year One. He’s an accomplished player with years of experience playing professionally in Europe. Like Bogdan Bogdanovic last year, Doncic has played non-stop for the last 19 months and is going to need a break this summer.

This might be the safe pick for Sacramento, unless Ayton unexpectedly falls. If Doncic can stick at the small forward position, he instantly fills the team’s biggest need and despite his age, he can step in on Day 1 and play major minutes.

Option 2 - Go Big
This isn’t an Ayton/Doncic or bust situation. There are three big men slated to go near the top of the draft that are intriguing. Marvin Bagley III out of Duke is the most accomplished offensive weapon of the group. Michigan State’s Jaren Jackson Jr. projects as a high-end two-way player with major upside and Mo Bamba out of the University of Texas is raw offensive player with incredible shot-blocking abilities.

The Kings have plenty of bigs, but Bagley, Jackson and Bamba are intriguing prospects. With Willie Cauley-Stein, Kosta Koufos and Zach Randolph all entering a contract year and questions remaining about Skal Labissiere and Harry Giles, Sacramento might be in the market for a big in the near future.

Option 3 - The Gamble
The Kings are very high on Michael Porter Jr. Coming into the 2018 season, he was considered a potential top overall selection, but an early season back surgery wiped out all but three games of his freshman season at Missouri.

Porter fits the team’s biggest need, sliding right into the starting lineup at the small forward position. At 6’-10.75” with a 7-foot wingspan, he has incredible size for the three and he has the athleticism to slide over and play a stretch four.

He’ll need a clean bill of health if he’s going second overall, but don’t be shocked if the Kings take a long look.

Option 4 - Move Down
If Sacramento could move down a few spots in the draft, land the player they want and add a piece or two, that would be ideal. The issue with this plan is that the teams in the top six don’t exactly have a lot to offer in way of trade.

Atlanta appears to be fine sitting at No. 3 and selecting Bagley or Jackson. They have three first round selections this year, a couple of intriguing young players and a top 10 protected Cleveland Cavaliers pick in 2019. They also have plenty of holes to fill in their roster.

The Grizzlies owe a protected 2019 pick to the Boston Celtics. It’s top eight protected in a year, top six protected in 2020 and unprotected in 2021, meaning Memphis can’t offer a first round selection until 2023. In addition, Memphis is void of young prospects that would help the Kings in their quest to improve their roster.

Dallas has a 2019 pick and they also have the ability to take on a contract if the Kings want to clear up some cap space. Like Atlanta, they have plenty of holes to fill in their roster, but this is one of the few trade down partners that might work if the Kings actively shop the pick.

Orlando has the sixth overall selection and a 2019 first round pick, but this might be too far for the Kings to move down. Sacramento would love to get their hands on a player like Jonathan Isaac, but it’s highly unlikely the Magic would use the 20-year-old forward to move up four spots in the draft.

Option 5 - Move Out
It would take a once in a lifetime offer from a team to get the Kings to move out of the No. 2 overall selection and drop out of the top five or six picks in this year’s draft. If a young star becomes available, the Kings would have to kick the idea around, but barring something mind blowing, this option is pretty limited.

There are potential franchise changing players at the top of this draft and Sacramento has an opportunity to change their stars with one pick. They can play it safe, add a big for the future, take a gamble or make a deal. The Kings have options, but whatever path they choose, they need to get it right.

Kings guard Bogdanovic named to All-Rookie Second Team; Fox falls short


Kings guard Bogdanovic named to All-Rookie Second Team; Fox falls short

Kings guard Bogdan Bogdanovic was named to the 2017-18 NBA All-Rookie Second Team, the league announced today.

Bogdanovic finished the season with averages of 11.8 points (.446 FG%, .392 3pt%, .840 FT%), 2.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 27.9 minutes per game in 78 contests (52 starts), earning MVP Honors of the 2018 Mtn Dew Kick Start Rising Stars game as a member of Team World.

The Serbian native ranked in the top-10 among rookies in several statistical categories, including eighth in scoring, 10th in field goal percentage, eighth in assists, fourth in 3-point percentage, and third in free throw percentage.        

Bogdaonovic becomes the 17th player in Kings franchise history and the 12th during the Sacramento era to earn All-Rookie Team distinction, a list that include teammates Buddy Hield (2016-17 All-Rookie First Team) and Willie Cauley-Stein (2015-16 All-Rookie Second Team).   

He is joined on the All-Rookie Second Team by Lakers guard Lonzo Ball, Atlanta Hawks forward/center John Collins, Phoenix Suns forward Josh Jackson and Dallas Mavericks guard Dennis Smith Jr.

De'Aaron Fox received 34 Second Team votes and Frank Mason got one vote.


Player, Team

1st Team (2 Pts.)

2nd Team (1 Pt.)

Total Points

Donovan Mitchell, Utah




Ben Simmons, Philadelphia




Jayson Tatum, Boston




Kyle Kuzma, Los Angeles Lakers




Lauri Markkanen, Chicago







Player, Team

1st Team (2 Pts.)

2nd Team (1 Pt.)

Total Points

Dennis Smith Jr., Dallas




Lonzo Ball, Los Angeles Lakers




John Collins, Atlanta




Bogdan Bogdanovic, Sacramento




Josh Jackson, Phoenix





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