Kings

How Kings' De'Aaron Fox, Marvin Bagley progressing in injury recovery

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USATI

How Kings' De'Aaron Fox, Marvin Bagley progressing in injury recovery

SACRAMENTO -- When media was allowed into the Sacramento Kings’ practice facility on Friday afternoon, there was a surprising face amongst the crowd of players on the floor. De’Aaron Fox, who has missed the last eight games due to a grade 3 left ankle sprain, was back on the court shooting with development coach Rico Hines.

Fox, who rolled his left ankle in practice back on Nov. 11, has missed the last eight games for Sacramento. He was originally scheduled for re-evaluation after 3-4 weeks and Monday is the three-week mark.

A notorious quick healer, Fox was able to shake his walking boot after just five days. He’s nowhere near a full return, but the fact that he is already on the court beginning the rehabilitation process is a very good sign for the Kings.

In addition to Fox, second-year big man Marvin Bagley was on the court as well. The 20-year-old power forward broke his right thumb during the opening game of the season and has missed the last 16 games for the Kings.

Bagley has been working out and shooting for the last few weeks, but he’s still wearing a removable brace on his hand. Originally scheduled to miss four to six weeks with the injury, Bagley has already passed the five-week mark and isn’t expected to play in the next two games for the Kings.

“Marvin is much closer than De’Aaron is, but it’s one of those things that he hasn’t been cleared to go contact yet without anything on,” head coach Luke Walton said following practice. “Will he play tomorrow or Monday? No, but is he getting closer? Yes.”

According to Walton, Bagley has already been re-evaluated by the team’s medical staff. The Kings host Denver on Saturday and the Bulls on Monday before heading back out on the road.

It’s possible that Bagley could return on Wednesday in Portland against the Trail Blazers, but he hasn’t had a full-contact practice yet. Wednesday is the six-week mark if his original injury.

In addition to Fox and Bagley, veteran Trevor Ariza was back at practice after missing the last five games due to a personal reason and a sore right groin. He is not expected to suit up on Saturday, but he is close to a return for the Kings.

[RELATED: Why Kings should be thankful for depth]

With Ariza out, rookie Justin James has stepped in and given the Kings a nice boost of energy off the bench.

Reinforcements are getting close for the Kings, which is huge. They’ve survived the early barrage and currently sit at 7-10 on the season.

Kings' tailspin continues as team hits rock bottom in loss vs. Pistons

Kings' tailspin continues as team hits rock bottom in loss vs. Pistons

What happened to the Sacramento Kings? They’ve been treading just above rock bottom for the better part of a month, but it doesn’t get much worse than the performance they put forth Wednesday in Detroit.

The Kings looked completely disinterested through the first half, almost as if they were just going to show up in the third quarter and blow a completely depleted Pistons team out of the water.

That didn’t happen. In fact, the Kings were embarrassed by a team missing 60 percent of its starting lineup, falling by a final of 127-106.

“Basketball is a simple game, defend without fouling, make the right play and knock down shots early,” Luke Walton told reporters following the loss. “I feel like we didn't do any of those things. Now, I don't know where our competitive spirit was or because of injuries we thought the game might be easy.”

The Kings looked like a team that has completely lost its way. Players started hunting for shots in the third quarter and throwing up one bad 3-point attempt after another.

Instead of attacking the rim, it was a series of misses, followed by defensive rebounds for Detroit. The only time the offense looked anywhere near cohesive was when Walton went to the bench, turning to a group that included Cory Joseph, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Kent Bazemore, Anthony Tolliver and Harry Giles.

Giles has played sparingly over the last week and Bazemore and Tolliver made their debuts with Sacramento after coming over in a trade over the weekend.  

[RELATED: Kings players react to Bazemore-Tolliver trade with Blazers]

“I think our bad stretches are happening for too long, too many times,” De’Aaron Fox told media members. “There are times where we are out there playing good basketball and there are times where we're not. I said it before, you just try to play the best basketball you can for the most amount of time. I don’t think we're doing that right now.”

On the defensive end, the Kings didn’t move their feet and they fouled at will. 12 of the 13 players who stepped on the floor were called for personal fouls, including five each for Buddy Hield and Dewayne Dedmon.

In total, the Kings picked up 28 personal fouls as a team and sent the Pistons to the line for a staggering 44 free-throw attempts, of which they hit 37. Sacramento was outscored by 25 points at the foul line in a 21-point loss.

“There are times where our defense looks great and then we're not making shots,” Fox said. “There are times where we're making shots but we're trading baskets. We just have to be able to piece it together for as long as we can. Like I said before, we can't let our offense affect our defense or vice versa.”

The Kings have now dropped six straight and they are just 3-15 over their last 18 games. At 15-29, they are rudderless and in desperate need of a win.

“It's about where we're going and I'm a very patient person,” Walton said. “I believe in our group, but we need to do a lot of things including starting games with a much more competitive, engaged mindset. So, I still have all the belief in the world in our team. It's still surreal to be coaching this team, but there are some things that we need to improve on and improve on quickly because it's too late in the season to be having these same types of mistakes so frequently.”

With 38 games remaining in the season, the Kings have officially hit a new low. There is still time to make the season respectable and build for next year, but changes have to be made.

Whether that is a rotational move or a trade or something more drastic, the team needs a shock to the system and the current path the Kings are on is completely unacceptable by any standard.

Kings takeaways: What we learned in tough 127-106 loss to Pistons

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USATSI

Kings takeaways: What we learned in tough 127-106 loss to Pistons

BOX SCORE

Are the Sacramento Kings starting to break?

In a season filled with lows, the Kings dropped their sixth straight game Wednesday night to a completely depleted Detroit Pistons team by a final of 127-106. 

Former league MVP Derrick Rose put on a show, finishing with 22 points and 11 assists. Reserve Christian Wood more than doubled his scoring average, dropping in 23 points on 7-for-8 shooting and Reggie Jackson added 22 points in the blowout win.

Here are three takeaways as the Kings look listless in Detroit and fall to a season-high 14 games under .500 at 15-29 on the season. 

Free Throws

The Kings continue to struggle not only with getting to the free-throw line, but with taking advantage once they get there. 

Sacramento got the stripe lust 23 times on the evening and missed 11 of those shots. It was a team-wide issue with seven players missing at least one freebie.

In addition to struggling with their chances, the Kings put the Pistons at the line 44 times, where they hit 37. 

It’s hard to compete when you get outscored at the free-throw line by 26 points. Sacramento needs to be more aggressive in their attack and they have to stop fouling teams at will.

New Guys

With Marvin Bagley and Richaun Holmes out with injury, coach Luke Walton turned to Kent Bazemore and Anthony Tolliver to eat some minutes. 

Bazemore brought the same energy he’s been known for during his eight-year NBA career. With the Kings needing easy buckets, he got to the free-throw line and finished with seven points, three rebounds and a steal.

Tolliver went scoreless in six minutes of action, missing his only two attempts from the field. 

Bombing Bogi

Bogdan Bogdanovic is starting to get his legs under him after a six-game absence. The Kings need even more from their super-sub.

Against the Pistons, the Serbian-born wing went 3-for-8 from long range to finish with 19 points and three assists.

With Buddy Hield struggling to get anything to fall from the perimeter, Walton might need to rely more on Bogdanovic that originally expected if the Kings have any hopes of pulling out of the spiral. 

Would trying a starting backcourt of Bogdanovic and De’Aaron Fox make sense for Sacramento at this point?