Kings Under Review: Harrison Barnes, Harry Giles thrive in win over Knicks


Kings Under Review: Harrison Barnes, Harry Giles thrive in win over Knicks

SACRAMENTO -- It wasn't pretty. It doesn't need to be. The Sacramento Kings found a way to get back in the win column Monday evening at Golden 1 Center with a victory over the New York Knicks.

Sharpshooter Allonzo Trier posted 29 points and Dennis Smith Jr. scored 18 to keep the Knicks close throughout the night. But in the end, the Kings had too many weapons for New York to handle.

The 115-108 win helped the Kings keep pace with the Clippers and Spurs, who also picked up victories on Monday evening. 

Sacramento snapped their three-game losing streak and moved to one game over the .500 mark at 32-31. Here are the positives and the negatives from the win.


Giles the Enforcer

Sacramento has taken the long and cautious approach to rookie big man Harry Giles. Their patience is now being rewarded.

The 20-year-old big has scored a combined 50 points over the last three games off the Kings' bench. With Marvin Bagley out with a knee injury, he has stepped into a scoring role and come up huge for coach Dave Joerger's squad.

In addition to his scoring, Giles has become one of the team's tough guys on the court. After a hard foul by Mitchell Robinson sent forward Corey Brewer flying to the floor, Giles checked to make sure his teammate was okay and then went directly to Robinson to have words. It was a veteran move by Giles and his teammates appreciate the support.

On the downside, Giles watched the final 5:07 from the locker room after getting called for a flagrant 2. He has a few things to learn, but he's quickly becoming another bright spot for the Kings.


Killer Instinct

The Knicks are a mess. They came into the night with a record of 5-29 over their previous 34 games and they are just 13-51 on the season.

While the Kings picked up the win, they have an issue playing to the level of competition. How does a team go toe-to-toe with the Nuggets, Warriors and Bucks, but leave the Knicks within striking distance until the final minutes?

They are young and this is the first playoff race for most of their players. They need to figure this issue out or risk dropping a few winnable games down the stretch.


Barnes Gets Comfortable

Sacramento thought they were adding another offensive weapon when they traded for Harrison Barnes at the deadline. The 26-year-old forward has struggled to find his niche on the offensive side of the ball for the Kings through his first eight games with the team, but that wasn't the case against New York.

Barnes hit two 3-pointers in the first quarter to get the ball rolling. He finished the night with 22 points on 7-of-13 from the field and 3-for-6 from behind the arc. In addition, Barnes grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds in the win.

The Kings don't need Barnes to average the 17.7 points he posted with the Mavericks, but they need him to keep the defense honest. While he's struggled with his shot, Barnes has been better than advertised as both a defender and rebounder.


Bjelica Makes an Impact

After an incredible start to the season, Nemanja Bjelica cooled off in January and February to a point where he was out of the rotation. With Bagley on the shelf, Joerger has turned back to the veteran and he's given the team a nice boost.

Bjelica finished the evening with a modest eight points, five rebounds and five assists in 23 minutes of action. He also ran a team-high plus-13 on the evening.

Having a floor spacer opens up everything for the Kings. Bjelica isn't the most athletic player on the squad, but he can have a major impact on the outcome of games as the Kings fight for a postseason berth.

If OKC's Steven Adams is available, Kings need to get on the phone


If OKC's Steven Adams is available, Kings need to get on the phone

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.