Kings

Kings listless in loss to Grizzlies: 'Every one of us [needs] to look in the mirror'

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AP

Kings listless in loss to Grizzlies: 'Every one of us [needs] to look in the mirror'

SACRAMENTO -- Some losses you can’t hide from. It’s not about losing to a better team or dropping a tough one at the buzzer.

There is no excuse in the book for trailing by as many as 33 points to the team with the worst record in the Western Conference. Especially when that team is playing on the road for the second night of a back-to-back.

“We got our butt kicked,” George Hill said following the Kings 114-96 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on New Years Eve. “It’s not fun losing. We’ve got to figure it out.”

The Kings fell behind big early. Despite starting four veterans and a 25-year-old rookie, Sacramento went down by as many as 16 in the first quarter.

“I don’t know if we were just exhaling being at home or relaxing from being on the road a long time, but this is not a good performance,” Dave Joerger said following the game. “Lack of focus and lack of force. ”

After falling behind by 24 in the second quarter, they made a run to cut the Grizzlies lead to 14 at the 2:28 mark, but it was all downhill from there.

“Sometimes we let our offense dictate our emotions and things like that,” Hill added. “When we’re not making our shots, we kind of go into a slump.”

The Kings couldn’t find the basket and they couldn’t stop Tyreke Evans. The 2011 Rookie of the Year looked like an All-Star, hitting his former team for 26 points, seven rebounds and five assists in just 25 minutes of action. Evans was the only Memphis player to score more than 11 points on the night.

“He was in a rhythm, man,” Joerger said of Evans. “He’s very comfortable and he was very locked in. When he is able to make his jumper at that ease, he is very difficult to guard.”

With the loss, Sacramento fell to 12-24 on the season. They have now lost two in a row and four of their last five. Following the game, the coaching staff asked the players to take a solid look at what they are bringing to the table and how they can help the team snap out of the current funk.

“Each guy just has to own his own stuff,” Joerger said. “It’s not a finger pointing deal, it’s a ‘how can I get better?’ This is a little bit part of the process of maturing, locking in and getting focused.”

Joerger has turned to countless lineups to start the season. He’s found some combinations that work, but overall, each game has its own challenges. At some point, the players need to show consistent production.

“Like coach said, each and every one of us [needs] to look in the mirror and figure out what we can do better,” Hill said. “It’s not about making shots or this or that. How can we help the team get better in every aspect of the game.”

The Kings are taking New Year's Day off with the hopes of starting fresh Tuesday evening when the Charlotte Hornets roll into Sacramento. It’s another opportunity to get a win against a sub-.500 team.

NBA Draft Prospect Profile: Michael Porter Jr.

NBA Draft Prospect Profile: Michael Porter Jr.

Michael Porter Jr. - Small Forward - Missouri - Freshman

Age: 19 Height: 6-foot-10.75 Weight: 211

Stats: 10.0 points, 6.7 rebounds, .3 assists, 1.0 steals, .3 blocks, 30.0% 3-point

Player Comparison: Danilo Gallinari, Tracy McGrady

Strengths

Porter is an incredibly gifted scorer that projects as a legitimate number one option at the NBA level. His handles need some work, but he can take opponents off the dribble, rise above defenders in the mid-range and shoot from deep. He’s also a solid rebounder for his position and has the size and athleticism to be an adequate defender.

Weaknesses

Porter underwent back surgery after just two minutes of play during his freshman year at Missouri. He returned late in the season, but was limited to just 53 minutes of play for the Tigers. His shot selection will need work and he weighed in at just 211 pounds at the combine. He’ll need to get stronger and work the kinks out with his back issues if he hopes to fulfill his enormous potential.

Fit

If it wasn’t for the back issues, Porter would be the perfect addition for the Kings. He could start at the small forward position and slide over and player stretch four for stints. Sacramento could use a pure scorer like Porter, but health is a big concern.

Chance of going No. 2

Sacramento would love to take the gamble on Porter, but they’re going to need a clean bill of health. They attended his evaluation day last Friday, which reportedly went well. But with other options on the table, they are going to need assurances that the herniated discs issue was a one time thing.

19-year-old Luka Doncic wants a date with a Friend and...a tiger?

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AP

19-year-old Luka Doncic wants a date with a Friend and...a tiger?

In Europe, Luka Doncic is a star. It appears he would like to be one in the United States as well.

Fresh off a EuroLeague championship, as well as league and Finals MVP honors, the 19-year-old Slovenian-born wing showed a different side of himself in a video made by the folks over at Bleacher Report.

In an interview with Howard Beck, Doncic made a few of his wishes known, including his want for a signature shoe, a date with Jennifer Aniston and the future purchase of...a tiger?

"I just like tigers. I said if I go to U.S., I will buy a tiger—like Mike Tyson," Doncic told Beck.

Sacramento has Doncic on a short list of prospects they are considering with the second overall selection. He has high aspirations, both on and off the court.

It’s hard not to like the confidence and moxie of this prospect. Will he be a King come Thursday evening?