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.
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.