Kings

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.

For Kings' De'Aaron Fox, NBA All-Star break was just what doctor ordered

For Kings' De'Aaron Fox, NBA All-Star break was just what doctor ordered

SACRAMENTO -- The NBA All-Star break is the last major milestone in the regular season before the mad dash to the finish line. It’s also a time for both mental and physical recovery, which was much needed for the Kings.

Buddy Hield went to Chicago to win the NBA's 3-point title. Cory Joseph made a visit to Maui and coach Luke Walton spent the weekend in Cabo with his wife. De’Aaron Fox took some time to heal up.

Coming off the best month of his career in January, Fox limped into the break. Following the team’s getaway game in Dallas, he was seen icing his left ankle that he injured early in the season. The issue caught the eye of at least one national writer.

According to ESPN’s Marc Spears: “Keep an eye on point guard De'Aaron Fox, who is still trying to recover from an early season ankle injury. The All-Star break came at a much-needed time for Fox. The third-year point guard is having issues with tightness in his ankle when he sits for long stretches during games, a source told ESPN.”

A league source confirmed to NBC Sports California that Fox’s ankle is nothing more than “normal grind of a long season.” The week away was just what the doctor ordered.

Fox originally injured his left ankle during practice on Nov. 11. He missed 17 games with a Grade 3 sprain, but came back much faster than originally predicted.

Following practice on Wednesday, Walton said he noticed that the time off might have done Fox some good.

“He looked really good yesterday and today, looks like he’s moving better,” Walton said. “He has some of that bounce back. The break, I think was great for everyone, including De’Aaron.”

[RELATED: Parker expects to make Kings debut against Grizzlies]

Fox is having another breakout season for the Kings. He went into the break averaging a career-best 19.7 points to go with seven assists and 4.2 rebounds in 31.5 minutes per game.

If the Kings have any chance of making a late run, they need their starting point guard healthy and ready to play a major role.

Kings' Jabari Parker ready for Sacramento debut; Alex Len getting closer

Kings' Jabari Parker ready for Sacramento debut; Alex Len getting closer

SACRAMENTO -- With 28 games remaining in the 2019-20 season, the Kings hit the practice court for one last workout before starting the stretch run Thursday night against the Memphis Grizzlies.

It was a lively practice, with Bogdan Bogdanovic hitting 90 consecutive free-throw attempts, a couple of new faces hitting the practice facility floor and the reigning 3-point champ speaking to the media.

Here are a few notes and quotes coming out of Wednesday’s practice.

Jabari Parker is ready

After sitting out since Jan. 3 with a shoulder impingement issue, and playing just once since Dec. 23, Parker is confident he’ll play Thursday night when the Kings face the Grizzlies.

“Yeah, I’ve been expecting to play the last couple of games,” Parker said following practice. “Hopefully I’ll get out tomorrow, keep my hopes high.”

Any enthusiasm regarding Parker should be tempered slightly. The 24-year-old forward has played just one game in almost two months. He isn’t in basketball shape and will take time to get up to speed with Sacramento. That doesn’t mean he won’t score the ball, he might just have to be used in short bursts.

“Hopefully just be that guy that can score, be that guy that can create on the offensive end, be uptempo on both sides of the floor,” Parker said, of what Kings fans should expect when he makes his debut.

Alex Len is getting closer

Len fully participated in practice, but he still needs more time before jumping back in the rotation. Acquired along with Parker at the deadline for Dewayne Dedmon, the 7-footer hasn’t played since Jan. 24 due to a strained right hip flexor.

Atlanta updated his condition on Jan. 31, putting him out of action for another 7-10 days. With the Kings short-handed in the post, they could use the former No. 5 overall pick from the 2013 NBA Draft.

"Last night's practice he did full contact, everything else he was in," Walton said. "Today he was a full go and he looked good out there. He was moving well and hopefully, we'll get him back this weekend if not early next week -- depending on how he feels in the morning."

Len is averaging 8.7 points, 5.8 rebounds and .8 blocks in 18.6 minutes per game for the Hawks. The only healthy and available center on the Kings’ roster heading into the stretch run is Harry Giles.

[RELATED: What Kings must do down stretch to make NBA playoff push]

Congrats

While it has nothing to do with the current state of the franchise, a heartfelt congratulations go out to former Kings coach Dave Joerger, who recently exchanged wedding vows with Kimberly Irons in Paso Robles.

Joerger spent three seasons as the Kings' coach from 2016 to 2019, compiling a 98-148 record.