Kings takeaways: What we learned from narrow 121-118 loss to Pelicans

Kings takeaways: What we learned from narrow 121-118 loss to Pelicans


NEW ORLEANS -- Down to the wire. The Sacramento Kings struggled to match the physicality of the New Orleans Pelicans Thursday evening at Smoothie Kings Center and it cost them.

Playing without Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday and plenty of others, the Pelicans attacked the center of the Kings’ defense from the opening tip. 

Julius Randle dominated, scoring 34 points to go with 11 rebounds, leading the Pelicans to a 121-118 victory. 

Here are three takeaways as the Kings drop back below the .500 mark on the season at 37-38.  


Road weary or not, the Sacramento Kings are at their best when they put the pedal to the metal. Against the Pelicans, they turned on the afterburners.

De’Aaron Fox was the ringleader, posting 25 points on 11-for-22 shooting. He added 12 assists, five rebounds, two steals, and a block.

The Kings’ starting point guard hit the gas, helping his club come away with a 27-17 advantage in fastbreak points.


Buddy Hield couldn’t buy a long ball and it cost his team dearly. 

The normally reliable shooter hit just 1-of-8 from behind the arc, including a shot that would have tied the game in the final seconds.

The third-year guard dropped 27 points on 11-of-21 shooting, but the misses from 3-point land hurt his team.

Not all good 

Willie Cauley-Stein was aggressive as a scorer and rebounder Thursday evening in New Orleans, but that doesn’t tell the entire story. 

The 7-footer finished the game with an 18-point, 12-rebound double-double, but the Pelicans’ bigs abused him and every other big on the roster down low. 

New Orleans dropped 74 points in the paint against the Kings. They attacked the rim and finished over the top of Cauley-Stein on multiple possessions. 

Why Kings need to go after Steven Adams if Thunder center is available


Why Kings need to go after Steven Adams if Thunder center is available

SACRAMENTO -- Anthony Davis reportedly is set to become a Laker. Mike Conley Jr. reportedly will be traded to the Utah Jazz. The NBA isn’t messing around, and we haven’t even reached the 2019 NBA Draft.

It’s hard to tell what is real and what isn’t, especially with the substantial transactions that have already taken place.

Wednesday afternoon brought more scuttlebutt, which the Sacramento Kings should investigate fully. Sports Illustrated's Jake Fischer reported Wednesday that Thunder center Steven Adams is available in trade talks.

Rumors make the basketball world go round, and this is a good one. The Kings have yet to be mentioned as a potential trade partner with the Thunder, but this is worth more than a cursory phone call.  

Steven Adams is a beast of a man and instantly climbs to the top of almost every list when it comes to available centers. The fact that OKC might be willing to throw in the 21st pick in a deal to save luxury tax dollars adds to the intrigue.

At 25 years old, Adams not only fits the age arc of the Kings, he would instantly sure up almost every one of their deficiencies on the front line.

A rebounder and defensive presence, Sacramento could slide the 7-footer next to Marvin Bagley and never look back.

Strapped with a $147 million payroll for this season, OKC is potentially on the hook for a $50 million luxury tax bill. By dealing away Adams, the Thunder could save upwards of $75 million between his $25.8 million salary and the tax penalty.

Whether or not Thunder general manager Sam Presti has been asked to cut the team’s tax bill or not is unknown, but dealing away Adams would clear up almost all of the team’s financial woes.

Adams posted 13.9 points, 9.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals and a block in 33.4 minutes per game last season. He’s one of the better offensive rebounders in the game and his defensive rebounding totals are likely to improve without Russell Westbrook roaming the painted area.

He also brings a toughness and maturity that would help the Kings’ younger players both on and off the court.

The Kings plan to be aggressive this summer, whether it’s on draft night or when free agency opens June 30. Their primary focus has been to improve the center position.

[RELATED: Eight ways Kings can use their three second-round picks]

With Harrison Barnes’ decision to opt out of the final year of his contract on Tuesday, the team has upwards of $60 million to make improvements, although the Kings are confident they will retain the veteran forward with a new long-term contract.

If Adams is indeed available, the Kings need to jump in line and start shoving other teams out of the way. He would instantly improve the roster and give Sacramento another building block to work with.

NBA Draft: Best-ever No. 47 picks, where Kings will select in 2019


NBA Draft: Best-ever No. 47 picks, where Kings will select in 2019

The No. 47 pick might not seem like a spot to grab an impact player, but that's where the Kings will be selecting during Thursday's NBA draft. Luckily for Sacramento, there have been a few success stories with that pick that make for some interesting throwback stories.

Here are some of the best No. 47 picks in the history of the NBA Draft. 

Paul Millsap, PF, Jazz, 2006

Before Millsap was ever on an NBA court, he was making history. He became the only player in NCAA basketball history to lead the nation in rebounding for three consecutive years. 

Is that good? I think that's good. 

Across 13 seasons in the NBA with the Jazz, Hawks and Nuggets, Millsap has averaged 14.1 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. He has also been selected to four All-Star teams and was named to the 2006-07 All-Rookie team. 

Mo Williams, G, Jazz, 2003

Williams was also drafted to the Utah Jazz -- but left a mediocre rookie season behind him before signing Milwaukee Bucks when as an unrestricted free agent. He fared well with the team, but it was his ability to come off the bench in the clutch making game-winning shots that set him apart from others. 

In his four-season stint with the Bucks, he averaged 14.1 points and in December 2006, he recorded his first triple-double against the Miami Heat. 

Mike Gale, G, Bulls, 1971

Gale's background is similar to that of George Gervin, who we outlined as the best-ever player selected with the No. 40 pick. Well, minus the insane numbers, the Hall of Fame induction, and the 12 All-Star selections.

[RELATED: How Kings can use their three second-round picks]

But Gale did play for the San Antonio Spurs in both the ABA and the NBA. That's the only similarity between the two. 

Across his 13-year career, Gale tallied 6,203 career points and 3,146 career assists, and he won the 1974 ABA Championship while with the New York Nets.