SALT LAKE CITY -- The Sacramento Kings struggled in the third quarter of each of their first two games of the season. They didn’t make it that far into the game Saturday night in Utah.
Head coach Luke Walton’s club was listless from the opening tip and were run off the floor a very good Jazz team. Not even four minutes into the third, Walton benched his starters after the team fell behind by 32 points.
Bojan Bogdanovic was left open and burned the Kings for 26 points on 10-for-18 shooting. Donovan Mitchell scored 15 points in limited minutes and almost every player in the main rotation hit at least one 3-pointer.
Here are three takeaways as the Kings were lambasted by a final of 113-81 to drop to 0-3 to start the 2019-20 season.
Where is the pace?
Sacramento led the league in pace for much of last season before finishing fifth overall. Through the first two games they ranked ninth in pace, but against the Jazz, they looked like they were running in mud.
The Kings walked the ball up the court on most possessions and it got even worse when Walton turned to the bench. Sacramento finished with just 81 points on 37 percent shooting. They also took only 81 field goal attempts, compared to the 93.1 attempts per game they averaged last season.
Somewhere along the way the Kings have lost their identity. If they don’t find it quickly, this could be a very long season.
Dewayne Dedmon came into Saturday with a career-high of five turnovers. Against the Jazz, he gave it away seven times by the early third quarter.
The Kings are running the ball through the veteran center at the top of the key, which doesn’t seem to be working. Dedmon has 13 turnovers through three games to go with just a single assist.
There is light at the end of the tunnel. Dedmon has averaged just one turnover per game through his seven-year NBA career. Whatever is going on early this season, he needs to clean it up.
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The disappearance of Buddy Hield
Through two games, Buddy Hield was averaging 24.5 points per game on 43.5 percent shooting from long range. Those numbers took a hit on Saturday evening.
Hield scored just three points on 1-of-7 shooting from the field and sat most of the second half.
If the Kings are going to snap out of their early season funk, they need Hield and the rest of the rotation to play with more energy and a lot more force.