Kings

Kings takeaways: What we learned from second preseason loss to Pacers

Kings takeaways: What we learned from second preseason loss to Pacers

The 2019 NBA India games are over.

For a second straight contest, the Sacramento Kings fell to the Indiana Pacers, this time by a final of 130-106.

Head coach Luke Walton has a lot of work to do with his newly formed team, specifically on the defensive side of the ball, as well as on the glass.

With three of his reserves missing the game, Walton went deep to his bench early, which played into the final score. Alize Johnson led the way for Indiana with 17 points, but he was just one out of eight Pacers who scored in double-figures in the blowout win.

Here are three takeaways as the Kings dropped to 0-2 on their 2019-20 preseason schedule:

Can the real Marvin Bagley please stand up?

Bagley wasn’t himself in Friday’s opener in India. He struggled with his shot and grabbed just five rebounds in 29 minutes of action. The second-year big looked like a completely different player when the ball tipped Saturday.

Bagley was aggressive on both ends of the floor, finishing with 15 points on 5-for-12 shooting to go with six rebounds in 25 minutes. He sprinted the floor and got early position on the Pacers bigs. With Bagley manning the post, Dewayne Dedmon got loose on the perimeter, scoring 11 points on 2-for-3 shooting from long range. The veteran center was brought in to balance the frontline alongside Bagley. He added seven rebounds and a pair of blocks in 20 minutes of action, although he took a knee to the thigh and left the game early.

Freebies

For the last few seasons Sacramento has struggled to get to the free-throw line. It’s a young player issue and the Kings’ roster is filled with kids on their first NBA contract. If the team’s performance in India is any indication, the team is figuring out how to draw contact and finally getting some whistles to go their way.

De’Aaron Fox struggled with his shot, knocking down 1-of-5 from the field, but he managed to get to the line 10 times in his 25 minutes of action Friday.

This is a positive for the Kings moving forward. Overall, the Kings went 32-for-41 from the line. It’s only the preseason, but if the Kings can be the aggressor and get calls, it would add another wrinkle to their uptempo offense.

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Your 2019-20 Stockton Kings

Caleb Swanigan showed off his slimmed-down physique and advanced basketball IQ in his first look Saturday. Kyle Guy bombed from the outside. Justin James played the passing lanes and Wenyen Gabriel flashed his versatility.

Most of, if not all of these players, will spend the season with the Kings’ G League affiliate in Stockton.

Swanigan is the bruiser. Guy is the scorer. James is the toolsey wing. Gabriel has the NBA body. Throw in Tyler Lydon and you have a starting five.

With Richaun Holmes (sore groin), Cory Joseph (sore calf) and Trevor Ariza (rest) all sitting out, the quartet of young players saw major time for the Kings. It wasn’t always pretty, but the group is young and will have plenty of time to build chemistry once the G League schedule begins.

Kings' Bogdan Bogdanovic listed as questionable day after career night

Kings' Bogdan Bogdanovic listed as questionable day after career night

The hits keep rolling for the Sacramento Kings.

De’Aaron Fox is out for the foreseeable future with an ankle injury. Marvin Bagley traveled with the team on the current four-game road trip, but will not play due to his still healing broken right thumb. And now Bogdan Bogdanovic, Cory Joseph and Trevor Ariza are having an issue as well.

Bogdanovic set a new career-high in scoring on Tuesday evening when he dropped 31 points in the Kings’ win over the Suns, but he watched the final 1:22 of the fourth quarter from the bench.

Sacramento's super-sub is dealing with tightness in his left hamstring and is questionable for Friday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets.

The 6-foot-6 wing could be seen grabbing at his left hamstring late in the win over Phoenix. Following the game, he said that his leg felt okay and believed it was just a cramp. He is expected to be listed as day-to-day moving forward.

After a rough start to the season, Bogdanovic is on a tear as of late for Sacramento. Over his six games, the 27-year-old guard is averaging 21.3 points, 6.7 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 2.3 steals in 32.6 minutes per game. He’s also shooting 53 percent from the field and a stunning 56.5 percent from 3-point range on 7.7 attempts per game.

Bogdanovic is a huge reason the Kings have rallied back after starting the season 0-5. He’s taken over as the primary ball handler with Fox out of action and his confidence is at an all-time high.

[RELATED: How Kings' Serbian connections help make Bogi feel at home]

In addition to Bogdanovic, Joseph is banged up as well and listed as questionable with a sore left heel. The veteran point guard has started the last four games in Fox's absence, posting 3.3 points and 6.3 assists in 31.7 minutes per game. While his numbers are down, he's provided a steady hand with the offense and his defense has helped the Kings win games.

Lastly, Ariza is still recovering from a right groin injury and is away from the team due to personal reasons. According to a league source, he will miss the entire four game trip.

If Bogdanovic and/or Joseph can’t suit up, head coach Luke Walton will have to get creative with his rotations. Expect to see Buddy Hield to carry even more of the load in the backcourt and veteran Yogi Ferrell will likely get a longer look with the second unit.

The Kings also have rookie Justin James and two-way player DeQuan Jeffries on the roster if they need some added depth. If Walton is looking for help at the wing, Wenyen Gabriel is available to steal some minutes and brings plenty of energy.

Marvin Bagley re-evaluated by Kings, will not play on four-game road trip

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USATI

Marvin Bagley re-evaluated by Kings, will not play on four-game road trip

Before the Sacramento Kings boarded a flight to New York City on Wednesday morning, they took care of some medical news.

According to the team, Marvin Bagley underwent an x-ray on his broken right thumb and has been re-evaluated by the team’s medical staff.

Bagley is progressing in his recovery and will make the four-game trip to the east coast, but he will not suit up for the Kings as they push to get back to the .500 mark. The 20-year-old power forward will undergo another re-evaluation when the team returns home next week.

After a solid rookie season, Bagley was injured on opening night against the Phoenix Suns. He’s missed the last 12 games but has ramped up his activity both in practice and in pregame over the last week.

“Once he’s cleared, we have to get him on the practice court,” head coach Luke Walton said during pregame on Tuesday. “I’ve played with players like Kobe (Bryant) who could miss four weeks and come back and they are ready to go at a high level. And then I’ve been a player myself, where if I missed four weeks, I need another four weeks just to be able to run with the guys out there. So it’s different for everybody.”

Bagley is likely closer to the Kobe model than the Walton model in this particular instance. He’s been on the floor working out and staying in shape during the injury, despite wearing a removable brace on his right hand.

The injury is also to Bagley’s non-dominant hand, which has allowed him to continue to work not just on cardio, but on shooting drills as well.

A lot has changed in the 12 games Bagley has missed. Nemanja Bjelica has stepped in and played extremely well at the power forward position and Richaun Holmes has taken over the center position for veteran Dewayne Dedmon.

Bjelica is averaging 11.4 points and 6.3 rebounds in 25.8 minutes per game as a starter. He’s also shooting 53.1 percent from 3-point range during that time and his true shooting percentage of 67.8 is tops on the team.

With Bjelica spacing the floor, Holmes has found a home in the paint. The athletic 26-year-old is averaging 11.8 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 29.6 minutes over nine games as a starter.

The combination of the two players has helped the Kings recover from their slow start to the season, but the team is also excited to get Bagley back in the fold.

“We can’t wait,” Richaun Holmes said of Bagley’s potential return. “When he gets back, to have a talent like that inside our lineup, all know what he can do on the floor, that’s just going to make us better. We’re looking forward to getting him back.”

Bagley has a different skill set than either Holmes or Bjelica. He isn’t the shooter that Bjelica is and he’s still learning the pick-and-roll game that has made Holmes so successful. But Bagley is likely the best rebounder of the lot and his ability to get easy baskets as a true back to the basket scorer is a welcome sight.

“No complications to me,” Holmes added. “He’s talented. You know we’re going to need him. We need everyone in this locker room. When he gets back, we’re ready to have him back out on the floor.”

[RELATED: Kings must adapt with Bagley missing time]

Bagley’s original diagnosis had him missing 4-6 weeks of action. We’re currently at the four-week mark, which means he’s getting close.

Walton will have a tough decision to make when Bagley is finally ready to return. The chemistry of his team is building. They’ve won six of their last eight games to move within a game of .500. But Bagley is the future of the Kings and after an adjustment period, he is going right back into the starting lineup.