Harrison Barnes preaching 'culture of family' to young Kings in Vegas


Harrison Barnes preaching 'culture of family' to young Kings in Vegas

After trailing by as many as 15 early, the Kings turned up their defensive intensity and made a game of it during Monday’s Las Vegas Summer League action. The end result was a gritty 105-100 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.

Milton Doyle caught fire, scoring a team-high 22 points on 8-for-13 shooting from the field and 3-of-5 from long range. 18 of his points came in the fourth quarter as the Kings pulled away. 

Kyle Guy fared well again, finishing with 19 points, three assists and two steals. One of his dimes came on a transition feed to fellow rookie, Justin James.

James continued his aggressive defensive play and added 10 points and two assists in 22 minutes. He needs to get stronger, but he’s looking more comfortable with each game. 

Semaj Christon is making a case for a possible training camp invite, posting 15 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. Big man Eric Mika chipped in 11 points, eight rebounds and a block.  

Cameron Payne went off for Dallas, lighting the Kings up for 32 points on 7-for-12 shooting from behind the arc. He hit a series of 3-pointers during the fourth quarter to keep the Mavs in the game. 

During halftime, Harrison Barnes, fresh off signing a new four-year, $85 million contract with the Kings, stopped by and spoke to NBATV’s Jared Greenberg about his decision to rejoin Sacramento.

“We’d been talking with the Kings and got feedback from around the league,” Barnes told Greenberg. “I felt that I could be able to add my defensive presence, I’ve been a proven scorer before and I’m really looking forward to just building with these young guys.”

Barnes isn’t the only Kings player in Las Vegas to support the Summer League squad. Newly signed Dewayne Dedmon, Cory Joseph and Trevor Ariza swapped off sitting courtside with general manager Vlade Divac. On Divac’s other side was Harry Giles, followed by Marvin Bagley, and Buddy Hield was in the gym as well.

“We just want to continue to build that culture of family,” Barnes said. “Letting these young guys who are here see that it’s not just you playing here in Summer League.”

The core group of players on the roster showed up in force during the California Classic in Sacramento last week. A team-first mentality is the focus of the franchise as they attempt to snap the franchise’s 13-year playoff drought.

As for the Kings' chances of building off last season’s 39-win season and possibly jumping into the postseason picture, Barnes seems confident.

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“We have a lot of guys with a lot to prove,” Barnes added. “We’re a group, a team, a city that’s excited to get the ball rolling and get to work as soon as possible.”

Barnes, along with free agent acquisitions Joseph, Dedmon and Ariza, are scheduled for an introductory press conference in Las Vegas on Monday afternoon. Center Richaun Holmes will not be in attendance, but plans to sign his new contract with the Kings at a later date.

Kings' De'Aaron Fox targeting return to lineup vs. Hornets on Tuesday

Kings' De'Aaron Fox targeting return to lineup vs. Hornets on Tuesday

De'Aaron Fox won't play Sunday against the Warriors in San Francisco, but the injured Kings point guard is close to returning.

"Right now, after talking to [the training staff], it could be as early as the Charlotte game," Fox told reporters in Sacramento before the Kings lost to the Knicks, 103-101 on Friday night. "I don't see it being as late as after Christmas, or even the Houston game right before Christmas. So right now, we're looking at between the Charlotte game and the Memphis game."

After making the drive down to San Francisco, the Kings head out on a three-game road trip. On Tuesday, they face the Hornets, followed by the Pacers on Friday. They finish the trip with a game against the Grizzlies on Saturday, Dec. 21.

Fox has been out since Nov. 11 when he sprained his ankle during practice. The team diagnosed him with a Grade 3 ankle sprain.

In Fox's absence, the Kings have gone 8-8, including Friday's fall to the lowly Knicks.

Offseason acquisition Cory Joseph has started every game since Fox got hurt and is averaging 5.7 points and 4.9 assists in 15 contests. Once Fox returns to the starting lineup, Joseph will move back to his bench role and lead the second unit.

[RELATED: Lack of intensity costs Kings against Knicks]

When Fox returns, the Kings will be fully healthy and should be poised to go on a run.

Kings' lack of maintaining intensity costs them game vs. lowly Knicks

Kings' lack of maintaining intensity costs them game vs. lowly Knicks

SACRAMENTO -- By the time the media arrived in the Sacramento Kings’ locker room Friday evening at Golden 1 Center, half of the locker room was already gone.

A few players stayed by to answer for the team’s disappointing 103-101 loss to the New York Knicks, but not nearly enough.

In classic Kings fashion, they went up big on a less than stellar opponent and then let off the gas. The victory by New York was just their sixth of the season against 20 losses.

“We took our foot off the pedal and let them come back and stick around the game when we had them kind of buried,” veteran Cory Joseph said.

In front of a sold-out crowd on their home floor, the Kings took a 16-point lead with 4:45 remaining in the third quarter. After a series of substitutions, Sacramento stopped moving the ball and settled for perimeter shots.

New York hit the Kings with an 11-3 run to finish the third to pull within eight points going to the fourth.

“We got up big and we just stopped doing the things that got us there,” Joseph said. “We stopped playing with that aggression and they out physicaled us down in the paint.”

The Knicks destroyed the Kings down low, outscoring them 56-32 in points in the paint, including an 18-10 advantage in the third as they tightened the game up.

“I’ve got to watch the film,” Marvin Bagley said. “They started getting easy buckets. I’ve got to go see what went wrong, but I really don’t know.”

The final 12 minutes was more of the same, except New York started to hit an occasional perimeter shot to help open the lane even more. The Knicks knocked down 4-of-8 from the perimeter in the fourth. Sacramento matched the number of makes with four, but they took 15 3-pointers in order to do it.

“We didn’t play enough of the 48 minutes to secure a win tonight,” coach Luke Walton said. “Give the Knicks credit. They knocked down shots. They made plays as that game went on.”

This isn’t the first time this season that the Kings have struggled against a beatable opponent on their home floor. They fell apart early in the season against the Hornets and then lost a game to the Chicago Bulls to open then December schedule. For a team with playoff aspirations, these are must-win games.

“Our guys were ready to play, we came out and were the aggressors, we built up a double-digit lead and then we didn’t do a good enough job of maintaining that type of play,” Walton said.

[RELATED: Walton suits up at Folsom to support criminal justice reform]

It’s back to the drawing board for the Kings. They’ll face another struggling opponent on Sunday when they travel to San Francisco to face the Golden State Warriors.

After playing in five straight NBA Finals, the Warriors are just 5-22 to start the season and they’ve lost three straight. Instead of playing to get back to .500, the Kings are 11-14 and back on the outside looking in of the Western Conference playoff standings.