Kings

Kings vs. Hornets watch guide: Lineups, injury report, player usage

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USATSI

Kings vs. Hornets watch guide: Lineups, injury report, player usage

SACRAMENTO -- Looking to extend their win streak on their homecourt to three games and move back over the .500 mark on the season, the Sacramento Kings host the Charlotte Hornets Saturday at Golden 1 Center.

The Kings pounded the Detroit Pistons in their last game out, leading wire-to-wire in the 112-102 victory. It was a team effort for Sacramento after a disappointing loss to the Suns on Tuesday. They crushed Detroit on the glass and received scoring output from almost every player that stepped on the court.

Charlotte has dropped three out of four on their season-long six-game road trip out west. Kemba Walker is having another stellar season for the Hornets, averaging just under 25 points per game and Jeremy Lamb is posting a breakout year in his seventh season in the league.

Kings Pregame Live on NBC Sports California begins at 6:30 p.m., with tipoff scheduled for 7. All coverage can be seen on the MyTeams by NBC Sports app.

The Trail Blazers roll into Sacramento on Monday to finish the three-game stand. Like Detroit and Charlotte, they will play the Kings on the second night of a back-to-back. Following the Blazers game, Sacramento heads out on a season-long, six-game road trip.

Line

Kings +5.5

Projected Lineups

Kings

PG De’Aaron Fox
SG Buddy Hield
SF Iman Shumpert
PF Nemanja Bjelica
C Willie Cauley-Stein

Hornets

PG Kemba Walker
SG Jeremy Lamb
SF Nicolas Batum
PF Marvin Williams
C Bismack Biyombo

Injury Report

Kings 

No Injuries to report.

Hornets

PG Tony Parker (rest) out, C Cody Zeller (hand) out.

Rotation Outlook

Kings: Dave Joerger's group is getting healthy at the right time. For the second straight game, they come with a full roster of players to work with and they are well rested. 

Sacramento is coming off a quality win over the Detroit Pistons on Thursday. Buddy Hield led the way with 18 points, but seven Kings players in double-figures to help propel the team to victory.

Joerger turned to rookies Harry Giles and Marvin Bagley as his two bigs off the bench against the Pistons. Giles responded by stuffing the stat sheet 14 points, four rebounds, three assists, three blocks and two steals in 22 minutes. Bagley added 10 points and seven rebounds after sitting out Tuesday's game in Phoenix.

Hornets: In his first season at the helm in Charlotte, former Spurs assistant, James Borrego has his team at the back end of the Eastern Conference playoff chase. They rank 10th in the league in scoring at 112.5 points per game and 21st in points allowed with an identical 112.5 points per game. The Hornet are in the middle in the back in pace and they take care of the ball, leading the league with just 12.2 turnovers per game.

Once you get past the starting backcourt of Walker and Lamb, the Hornets struggle to score. Batum, 30, has trailed off considerably as a scorer in his 11th NBA season, posting just 8.8 points in 30.7 minutes per game. The dip in production is not what Charlotte expected when they inked the small forward to a 5-year, $120 million deal in 2016. Batum is making $24 million this season and owed nearly $53 million over the next two seasons.  

Tony Parker will sit out the game to rest up for his return to San Antonio. The 36-year-old guard has been solid in a reserve roll, averaging 9.4 points and 3.8 assists in 18.6 minutes per game. This is his first year with the Hornets after spending the previous 17 seasons with the Spurs.

What Lakers' Anthony Davis trade could mean for Kings' offseason plans

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USATSI

What Lakers' Anthony Davis trade could mean for Kings' offseason plans

The wild, wild West.

With the strong smell of the Warriors’ blood fresh in the water, at least one Western Conference team is shooting its shot, and that definitely will impact the Sacramento Kings.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Saturday that the Los Angeles Lakers have agreed to acquire star center Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans for a package of Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram and three first-round picks, including the No. 4 overall selection in the 2019 NBA Draft.

It’s an interesting trade for Davis, who has missed plenty of time over his NBA career because of myriad physical ailments. The six-time All-Star played in just 55 games this past season, although it was more a precautionary move by the Pelicans after Davis’ representation made a trade demand prior to the All-Star break.

Ball has yet to establish himself in the league after being selected No. 2 overall by the Lakers in the 2017 NBA Draft. He’s missed 63 total games in two seasons, and his shooting woes are monumental.

Hart is a solid rotational player with upside, but he’ll likely be lost in a crowded New Orleans backcourt with Ball, Ingram and veteran Jrue Holiday. His addition in the deal also puts Elfrid Payton’s return in question after his solid season for the Pelicans.

Ingram is a wild card. He had a breakout 2018-19 season, posting 18.3 points and 5.1 rebounds per game for the Lakers. But a late-season blood clot cost him time and is a concern moving forward.

So, what does this all mean for the Kings, their standing in the West and what they should do this offseason?

The Pelicans likely won’t be an immediate threat, since they’re starting over with a young core, which should include Zion Williamson, the expected No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming draft. They’ve lost a star, but they could quickly reload, especially if they can move the No. 4 pick acquired in the Davis deal for another major piece.

The Lakers, meanwhile, are swinging for the fences, and at 34, LeBron James is getting long in the tooth by NBA standards. By adding Davis while retaining Kyle Kuzma, the Lakers put themselves back on the map and considerably changed their age arc.

Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka also has somewhere between $27 million and 32 million to play with in free agency, which is a good thing because his roster is filled with holes.

So, expect LA to add substantial pieces around James, Davis and Kuzma. Then the Lakers should come into the season as championship contenders and a tough matchup for the Kings.

The Pacific Division just became a lot more difficult, which isn’t good news for Sacramento, although Golden State likely will slip from its perch with Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson both entering free agency and having just suffered major injuries.

The Kings, however, have a young core in place and $38 million to spend in free agency. That gives them an opportunity to greatly improve their roster with the right moves this summer, but their rise in the standings still will depend on the growth of players such as De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield and Marvin Bagley.

This group needs more help, and this isn’t an offseason for the Kings to sit on their hands. Even before the Davis trade, general manager Vlade Divac hoped to upgrade at center, with a decision to make on Willie Cauley-Stein.

Now that the Kings will play against the Lakers and their new star big four times per season, whomever mans the position for Sacramento will become even more important. The team has been linked to Nikola Vucevic, DeAndre Jordan and Dewayne Dedmon in free agency rumor mills, and they could be a better fit against Davis.

[RELATED: Kings troll Warriors over Finals loss]

The Kings have high hopes for next season, including playoff aspirations. They can’t completely base their summer plans off what happens with the Warriors, Lakers or any other team, but it’s clear that one team in the Pacific just became a major player, and Sacramento needs to do the same with player development and smart free-agent signings.

Former NBA player turned Kings scout Predrag Drobnjak stops by Sacramento

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AP

Former NBA player turned Kings scout Predrag Drobnjak stops by Sacramento

SACRAMENTO -- The NBA draft process is entering its final week, and that means it’s time for the Kings to call all of their scouts back from afar and whittle the list to a handful of prospects for pick Nos. 40, 47 and 60.

During Wednesday’s workout, former player-turned-European scout Predrag Drobnjak was seated courtside next to longtime friends Vlade Divac and Peja Stojakovic. Following the workout, he hit the floor, took some shots and showed off some of his old moves.

In his playing days, Drobnjak was known for his ability to knock down a long-range shot, and in Seattle, he became a bit of a cult hero for his television ads, which still can be found hidden deep on the internet.

There used to be an entire website devoted to Drobnjak and the Drobnjak Manjaks. Unfortunately, it no longer is available.