Kings asking for divine intervention in season full of tough injuries

Kings asking for divine intervention in season full of tough injuries

SACRAMENTO -- This wasn’t how anyone drew up the first half of the season for the Kings. After an encouraging 39-43 season in 2018-19, management added new players and turned over the coaching staff. Every move was with the hope that it would put the franchise in position to snap a 13-year playoff drought.

At 15-24, the Kings have underperformed from the opening week of the season. There still is time to recover, but injuries continue to plague Sacramento and it seems like there is no end in sight.

Point guard De’Aaron Fox managed to capture the entire feel of the season in one postgame quote Friday evening.

“Well s--t, Harrison [Barnes] just got hurt so I don’t know,” Fox said about whether he felt like the Kings were finally starting to get healthy. “I don’t know. Belly [Nemanja Bjelica] rolled his ankle last game. He’s in the training room right now. Harrison just got hurt. So I can’t say so.”

Coming into Monday’s showdown with the Orlando Magic, Kings players have missed a combined 76 games on the season due to injury or personal reasons (70 injury, 6 personal). For comparison, Sacramento missed a combined 75 games over the entire 82-game schedule last season.

Marvin Bagley is on the mend and is scheduled to return this week after playing in just nine of the team’s 39 games. Fox has missed 17 games with an ankle injury and another with back spasms. Bogdan Bogdanovic has sat out eight games due to a myriad of leg issues and Harry Giles missed the first eight games of the season with a knee issue.

It’s almost impossible for Luke Walton to know who he will have on a nightly basis. Monday’s game against the Magic is a microcosm of the entire season.

Bagley might finally return after a seven-game absence, but nothing is for sure. There is no word on whether Richaun Holmes’ right shoulder has healed up or if Bogdanovic’s right ankle is any better after missing the last four games.

In addition, Barnes took a shot to the thigh and couldn’t finish out the game against Milwaukee, and Bjelica somehow played nearly 40 minutes against the Bucks after coming into the day questionable with an ankle sprain.

Walton could have a full roster against the Magic. He could also be down three starters, his sixth-man and a promising young big in Bagley. Welcome to the 2019-20 Sacramento Kings season.

It’s hard to point fingers when a player breaks a thumb in the season opener or the team’s starting point guard gets a Grade 3 ankle sprain in practice.

Bad luck seems to follow the Kings’ franchise. To compound matters, they have major decisions coming up in regard to player extensions. Midway through the season, the Kings have no idea if they are about to go all in on a roster that will struggle to win 30 games or if they have the pieces in place to become something special.

[RELATED: Kings limit Greek Freak, but still blown out by Bucks]

Shooting guard Buddy Hield, who has miraculously avoided the injury bug this season (knock on wood), thinks it’s time to ask for some divine intervention.

“We’ve just got to go Jesus, ask Jesus to heal us real quick,” Hield said.

If he can’t heal the Kings, maybe Vlade Divac and his staff can sign Jesus to a 10-day contract so they can field an entire squad on Monday night.

Kings players provide meals to locals in need amid coronavirus pandemic

Kings players provide meals to locals in need amid coronavirus pandemic

The Kings are getting involved.

It started with a 5,000-pound food donation in the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak, but the team is stepping up to help both the local community and abroad.

Late last week the Kings offered up Arco Arena as a surge hospital and it is currently being transformed by the Army Corps of Engineers into a 400-bed facility. On Tuesday, we learned that Bogdan Bogdan, Nemanja Bjelica and Ana and Vlade Divac are sending aid to Serbia, including ventilators, masks and other medical supplies.

Bogdanovic is now joining Richaun Holmes, De’Aaron Fox and Harrison Barnes in a new local venture, where the players are partnering to support local eateries while supplying over 1,000 meals to families in the Sacramento area.

“Since coming to Sacramento I have experienced firsthand how our community is truly one big family, so my teammates and I are committed to looking out for those in need and lending a helping hand,” Holmes, who initiated the plan, said via press release. “I am very thankful for my teammates in joining me to help bring smiles to others and get through this time together.”

The quartet of players are working with non-profits Juma Ventures and City Year, as well as Buckhorn Grill, Chicago Fire, Fixins Soul Kitchen and Jimboy’s Tacos, who will deliver food to those in need.

[RELATED: Kings' Bogdan Bogdanovic shooting on neighbor's hoop during NBA shutdown]

“Sacramento is a huge part of my life and my career,” Bogdanovic told NBC Sports California when reached for comment. “We all said, ‘we have to give back to our community.’ We’re trying to help as much as we can. There are all of these people, most of who are fans, who are helping us during our games. Now it’s our time to help them”

The group has gone through local non-profits to find those in need and will have food delivered in the coming days. 

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Kings' Bogdan Bogdanovic shooting on neighbor's hoop during NBA shutdown

Kings' Bogdan Bogdanovic shooting on neighbor's hoop during NBA shutdown

Every player in the NBA is different when it comes to their workout routine. Some players like to live in the weight room. Others use their key cards to show up at all hours of the day to get shots up.

Bogdan Bogdanovic is known for his incredible work ethic and his need to be in the gym shooting, but like everyone else, he’s locked out of the practice facility. 

Without a state of the art facility to work in, Bogdanovic has purchased equipment for his garage and turned to an interesting option to get his shots up.

“I have a little basket hoop from my neighbors, sometimes I’m shooting over there,” Bogdanovic said during the special edition of the Purple Talk podcast. “I ordered one, but it will come in two months or something.”

Once a hoop arrives, it will be in a box. Does the Serbian sharpshooter own a socket set? Can he make it through a complex “exploded view” diagram as he assembles a hoop on his own? 

[RELATED: Kings' Vlade Divac, Bogdan Bogdanovic send coronavirus aid to Serbia]

These are questions that we will have that will have to wait until the NBA’s mandated shutdown ends. Until then, we must assume that Bogdanovic is putting in work on his neighbor's water-based, roll around hoop that he can lower if he feels like trying a 360 dunk. Or maybe he’s installed a nerf hoop in his living room to keep fresh.

The coronavirus has caught all of us off guard. Bogdanovic, like everyone else, will need to adapt if he hopes to overcome. Or the team's most versatile player could just sign his extension offer from the Kings and go out and purchase a home with a built-in court. 

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