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.
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.