How Harry Giles, Nemanja Bjelica benefited from Marvin Bagley's injury

How Harry Giles, Nemanja Bjelica benefited from Marvin Bagley's injury

With Marvin Bagley expected to return soon, possibly as early as later this week, Kings coach Dave Joerger’s rotations will have to adjust again.

The rookie was rolling before injuring his left knee in the Kings' Feb. 27 overtime loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. His absence opened a door of discovery, and two players made the most of the opportunity.

After starting 55 of the Kings’ first 56 games this season, Nemanja Bjelica had fallen out of the rotation at the time of Bagley’s injury. Joerger turned back to Bjelica over the last five games, and he’s played extremely well.

In five games in March, the 30-year-old forward is averaging 9.2 points and seven rebounds in 26.4 minutes per game, and his impact goes beyond the raw stat line. Bjelica is posting a combined plus-45 in the plus/minus category over the stretch, and he earned a spot for the stretch run.

Bjelica is not the only player to show his worth during Bagley’s absence. Rookie Harry Giles doesn’t play the same position as Bagley, but he’s thrived with the additional touches in the offense.

When Bagley left the Bucks game, Giles took over, finishing with 18 points and seven rebounds. He continued that push over the first five games of March.
Giles is averaging 11.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 20.2 minutes per game in the month. Like Bjelica, his plus/minus numbers show that his impact goes beyond the standard box score. He’s posted a positive in four of the five games Bagley has missed, and is a combined +11 over the stretch.

Joerger has shrunk his rotation to eight main players with Yogi Ferrell or Alec Burks picking up a few minutes on the side. When Bagley returns, those extra minutes might completely disappear.

Bjelica can either start or come off the bench at power forward, and he’ll likely share minutes with Bagley as he works his way back into playing shape. Giles is splitting time at center with Willie Cauley-Stein and showing major improvement down the stretch.

[RELATED: Time for a Kings lineup change?]

If Bjelica sticks in the rotation, it would allow Joerger to move Barnes back to small forward for more minutes and Bogdan Bogdanovic to eat more minutes in the backcourt.

Joerger is in a never-ending battle to find the right pieces to put into place. The silver lining to Bagley’s injury is that it gave Bjelica and Giles time to build confidence and momentum as the Kings head into the final 16 games of the season.

De'Aaron Fox responds to remarks on NBA Most Improved Player candidacy

De'Aaron Fox responds to remarks on NBA Most Improved Player candidacy

De'Aaron Fox doesn't have time for your snippy comments.

On Thursday, the Kings posted an image on Instagram stating Fox's case to win the Most Improved Player award.

Among the hundreds of comments were fans stating Fox was supposed to improve from Year 1 to Year 2.

He wasn't having it.

As NBC Sports California's James Ham wrote, Fox took a massive leap this past season. The point guard went from 11.6 points per game as a rookie to 17.3 as a sophomore. His assist numbers spiked from 4.4 to 7.3. And he improved vastly as a shooter, boosting his field-goal percentage from 41 percent to 45 percent. From 3-point range, Fox went from 30 percent to 37 percent.

[RELATED: How Kings chose Fox over Luka with draft choices]

But the competition for the award will be fierce. Along with teammate Buddy Hield, Raptors forward Pascal Siakam, Nets guard D'Angelo Russell, Clippers big man Montrezl Harrell and Hawks forward Jon Collins also will garner lots of support.

One thing is for sure. Fox definitely is Most Likely To Snap Back At Your Comments.

Why NBA journeyman Corey Brewer hopes he found steady home with Kings


Why NBA journeyman Corey Brewer hopes he found steady home with Kings

Corey Brewer has been around the NBA. 

The Kings are the eighth team the journeyman forward has suited up for in his 12-year career, and the ninth organization he's been a part of overall. But after finishing the 2018-19 season in California's capital, Brewer hopes he has found a more permanent home. 

“Just being around these young guys has been fun,” Brewer told the Kings' website. “Just being able to help them as best I can, and knowing how good they can be and how good they’re going to be.”

After Sacramento traded Iman Shumpert ahead of the deadline, Brewer gave the young Kings team some much-needed veteran leadership. The 33-year-old signed a pair of 10-day contracts in January, before signing with the team for the remainder of the season in February. 

“He’s been good for us,” point guard De’Aaron Fox said back in February. “When he gets on the court, you know what he’s going to bring.”

[RELATED: Walton must improve defense for Kings to win]

In 24 games with the Kings, Brewer averaged 4.1 points and 2.5 rebounds in just under 15 minutes per. His impact was particularly felt on the defensive end, as writer Alex Kramers noted, where Sacramento gave up 4.1 fewer points per 100 possessions with him on the floor,

Brewer can become an unrestricted free agent this summer, but it sounds like he doesn't have much intention of signing anywhere else.