Kings

Kings already back at team's practice facility early in NBA offseason

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USATSI

Kings already back at team's practice facility early in NBA offseason

SACRAMENTO -- The bounce of a ball is a siren's call for true hoopers. With the offseason fewer than six weeks old, Kings players have already descended on the team’s practice facility floor.

A few players took a quick break before jumping right back into the action. But, with the NBA draft still a month away, it’s already time to get the band back together.

De’Aaron Fox has been hitting the weight room hard for the last three weeks. He’s ready to back up his sophomore jump with another step forward in year three.

Frank Mason and Willie Cauley-Stein were in the gym shooting jumpers following Thursday’s draft prospect workout. Mason is getting a fresh start with a new head coach. The team has a third-year option on the former second round pick that becomes guaranteed in October, so he’s not wasting any time auditioning for Luke Walton and the Kings brass.

Cauley-Stein is a King until he’s not. The 25-year-old big can become a restricted free agent on June 30. It is unknown at this time if general manager Vlade Divac will extend a $6 million qualifying offer to the team’s starting center and make him an RFA, or if they will allow him to walk away for nothing.

Harry Giles continues to rehab his quad, and he’s getting stronger. He’s trying to show that he is part of the young core moving forward and he needs to bulk up if he’s going to play primarily at the center position.

After a quick trip to India with the NBA, Harrison Barnes is also back in Sacramento. The veteran forward has a player option for next season at $25 million that he’s likely to pick up. He has openly talked about the Kings’ trip to play in Mumbai during the preseason and it doesn’t look like he’s going anywhere.

Nemanja Bjelica has spent time in the gym, too, as has two-way player Wenyen Gabriel. Gabriel finished the season in a walking boot after a foot injury, and he’s just now starting to get up shots. Like most of the young Kings, his focus this summer is on getting stronger -- whether it’s for a second season with the Stockton Kings of the G League or with the parent club.

Stockton head coach Ty Ellis is in town helping run prospect workouts, as is player development coach Bobby Jackson.

Luke Walton is working to fill out his coaching staff and has not been made available to the media. The team has yet to place a timetable on the investigation into sexual assault allegations made against the 39-year-old and they have no plans to comment publicly on the situation until a joint investigation with the NBA is completed.

While no additions to Walton’s staff have been announced, Jesse Mermuys -- who was an assistant with Walton in Los Angeles with the Lakers -- has been at the workouts as well, and is expected to join the staff in Sacramento.

[RELATED: Warriors, Kings games could start earlier in near future]

Assistant general managers Peja Stojakovic and Ken Catanella, and the team’s scouting staff, have been in attendance for the prospect workouts with Divac in Europe for the EuroLeague Final Four.  

More prospect workouts are expected this week as the Kings continue search for players worthy of the No. 40, 47 and 60 picks in the upcoming draft.  

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?