SACRAMENTO -- Four games into the NBA preseason schedule, and Dave Joerger has an outline of his rotation.
The Kings coach usually is more secretive about his intentions. He’s a "keep the starting lineup under lock and key" type of coach, but following the team’s 132-100 win over Maccabi Haifa at Golden 1 Center, he was more forthcoming that usual.
“It may or may not come out exactly like it did tonight, but it’s pretty much the candidates,” Joerger told media after the game. “I think going forward, I think I’ve had a good chance to see guys in different roles, and we have two more games to look at some different combinations of guys.”
Joerger started De’Aaron Fox at the point alongside Frank Mason III. Justin Jackson picked up another start at the three, with Nemanja Bjelica and Willie Cauley-Stein rounding out the Kings' starters.
“It’s not an easy group to throw together,” Joerger said. “They haven’t played a lot together -- with Nemanja and Frank and De’Aaron playing together. I wanted to take a look at that. See how that looked. See how the space on the floor was.”
Mason is a placeholder at this point for the injured Bogdan Bogdanovic. The team hasn’t updated Bogdanovic's status, but the second-year guard had a knee procedure two weeks ago with an original recovery time frame of four to six weeks.
Once Bogdanovic returns, Mason likely will be in a fight for playing time, despite an extremely impressive preseason.
“Frank does what does, he’s hard nosed and he’s a guy that a coach always knows he can go to and you’re going to get 110 percent from him,” Joerger said.
Off the bench, Joerger turned to the backcourt pairing of Buddy Hield and Yogi Ferrell. The duo really can light it up from the perimeter, and they are very good in transition.
For stretches, Joerger used a three-guard set with different combinations of Fox, Mason, Hield and Ferrell. That trend likely will carry over into the regular season as the team looks to push the tempo.
On the frontline, rookies Harry Giles III and Marvin Bagley III carried the load off the bench. Giles played 22 minutes, which is in line with what he has played so far in the preseason. Bagley played 18 minutes, but Joerger turned to his third group to finish the final six minutes of the game.
“Marv’s not hard to play with -- he’s somewhat easy to play with,” Giles said. “He’s someone who’s versatile, someone who plays hard.”
Early in the season, Joerger likely will turn to a shorter rotation while he attempts to build chemistry on the court. Eventually, he might expand beyond the nine players who saw the bulk of the minutes Monday, but he’s starting the season with the youth of the team and will adjust as needed.