Kings

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

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AP

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

SACRAMENTO -- The circus comes to Golden 1 Center Thursday evening when star rookie Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks roll into town. The Kings could use a good distraction after a disappointing loss last time out.

Tuesday's game was a head scratcher for Sacramento. The Kings started the third quarter on a 20-0 run and took a 25 point lead into the fourth quarter. In a stunner, Brooklyn ran over the Kings in the fourth quarter, outscoring the home team 45-18 in the fourth to come away with a stunning 123-121 victory.

[RELATED: How to watch Kings-Nets online and on MyTeams app]

The Mavericks are playing on the second night of a back-to-back after losing Wednesday night in Portland. They've lost two straight and 14 of their last 16 as they head down the home stretch of the season.

Kings Pregame Live on NBC Sports California begins at 6:30 p.m., with tipoff scheduled for 7:00 p.m. All coverage can be seen on the MyTeams by NBC Sports app.

The Kings finish off their homestand on Saturday against the Phoenix Suns and then head back out on the road. They'll start a five-game trip starting Sunday in LA against the Lakers, followed by stops in Dallas, New Orleans, Houston, and San Antonio.

Line

Kings by 9

Projected Lineups

Kings
PG De’Aaron Fox
SG Buddy Hield
SF Harrison Barnes
PF Nemanja Bjelcia
C Willie Cauley-Stein

Mavs
PG Luka Doncic
SG Jalen Brunson
SF Tim Hardaway Jr.
PF Dirk Nowitzki
C Dwight Powell

Injury Report

Kings 
No injuries to report.

Mavs
PF Maxi Kleber (wrist) questionable, PG J.J. Barea (Achilles) out, PF Kristaps Porzingis (knee) out.

Rotation Outlook

Kings

Dave Joerger is likely to stick to his standard starting lineup down the stretch, although his rookie tandem of Marvin Bagley and Harry Giles are earning more minutes every game out. 

Bagley is coming off another breakout performance where he scored 28 points on 12-of-15 shooting to go with seven rebounds. He played 29 minutes off the Kings' bench as he continues to work through a minutes restriction.

Fox is finishing the season strong and Joerger continues to feed him more minutes. The 21-year-old point guard is averaging 19.5 points and 7.4 assists in 33.5 minutes per game since the All-Star break.

Mavs

Rick Carlisle's group is struggling down the stretch after shaking up their roster at the deadline. The veteran coach has relied heavily on Doncic throughout the season as his primary ball handler and the 20-year-old has held up surprisingly well. Selected with the 3rd overall selection in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Kings will get a long look at the player they passed on in June.

Former King, Justin Jackson, makes his return to Sacramento after being sent to Dallas at the trade deadline as part of the Barnes trade. The second-year guard is coming off his best game in a Mavs uniform, posting 21 points on 8-of-15 shooting in the team's loss to the Blazers on Wednesday.

It's unknown if Dirk Nowitzki will play on the second night of a back-to-back, but it might be the last time he comes through Sacramento as a player. The 40-year-old future Hall of Famer can still knock down a shot, but running the floor against a team like the Kings won't be easy.

De'Aaron Fox roasts Fran Fraschilla over Zion Williamson, Duke tweet

De'Aaron Fox roasts Fran Fraschilla over Zion Williamson, Duke tweet

De'Aaron Fox isn't here for Fran Fraschilla's college basketball takes.

After Zion Williamson thanked the program in a video announcing his intention to declare for the 2019 NBA Draft, Fraschilla sent out a tweet noting how much he believed playing for Duke helped the phenom build his brand and profile.

Well, Fox didn't agree with the notion that Duke had a lot to do with boosting Zion's worth, and he threw some shade at Fraschilla in a NSFW tweet.

In fairness, both sides have a point to make.

A year ago, Williamson was a YouTube dunking sensation, but questions about his overall skill level remained. But during his lone season in the spotlight at Duke, Williamson showed he was more than just a highlight-reel dunker, and has all the skills necessary to be the No. 1 overall pick.

However, Williamson should've had the ability to go straight to the NBA out of high school if he wanted. He still would have been a top-10 pick, and a lucrative shoe contract would have followed shortly after his name was called by NBA commissioner Adam Silver.

[RELATED: Fox responds to comments about MIP candidacy]

We'll give the win to Swipa.

Kings awards: Handing out end-of-year accolades for 2018-19 season

Kings awards: Handing out end-of-year accolades for 2018-19 season

The Sacramento Kings failed in their ultimate goal of making the postseason, but that doesn’t mean that they didn’t have a very good year. The Kings finished the season at a surprising 39-43 and they stayed in playoff contention much longer than anyone expected.

Perhaps more important than the final outcome of the season, many of the young Kings players took major strides forward in their development. The core turning potential into production, making the future bright in Sacramento.

With the season in the books, here is NBC Sports California’s take on the end of year accolades for the team.

MVP -- Buddy Hield

Coming into training camp, Hield wasn’t expected to start. A late summer knee injury cost Bogdan Bogdanovic time, opening the door for a breakout season from the former Oklahoma star.

Known for his work ethic, Hield became more than just a scorer in his third NBA season. He improved as a defender, posted a career-high in assists and rebounds, and showed an ability to hit big shots.

Hield also led the team in scoring, finishing the year averaging 20.7 points, five rebounds and 2.5 assists in 31.9 minutes per game. He flourished from behind the arc, posting the seventh most made 3-pointers in a single season in NBA history with 276 makes.

The 26-year-old shooting guard took a leap from potential sixth man to near All-Star and his energy on the court was infectious.

De’Aaron Fox is in the running for this award as well, but Hield gets the nod for his consistency throughout the entire season.

Most Improved Player -- De’Aaron Fox

Fox and Hield should both draw votes for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award. As far as the Kings’ team goes, it’s close, but with Hield taking home the MVP, Fox gets the MIP.

Statistical jumps from year one to year two is expected in the NBA, but Fox’s leap stands out. He bumped his points per game from 11.6 to 17.3. He increased his assists from 4.4 to 7.3, with just a .4 increase in turnovers per game. He also shored up one of his biggest weaknesses, improving his 3-point percentage from 30.7 to 37.1 percent.

In addition to all of his statistical achievements, Fox became a leader in year two and appears ready to expand his game even farther in year three.

Defensive Player of the Year -- De’Aaron Fox

Fox wasn’t just a force leading the Kings’ uptempo offense. He showed incredible improvement as a defender in year two, especially in late-game situations.

The 21-year-old point guard has tremendous upside as a two-way player. He finished the season in the top 10 in the league in steals at 1.6 per game and as he gets stronger and more mature, there is plenty of room for growth.

Willie Cauley-Stein gets an honorable mention here. He led the team in defensive real plus/minus and defensive win shares. He put up a solid season, posting career-highs in both rebounds and blocks.

Biggest Surprise -- Nemanja Bjelica

A late addition to the roster, Bjelica stepped into the starting lineup and made a tremendous impact on the Kings, especially early in the season.

The 30-year-old out of Serbia almost went back overseas before signing a three-year deal with the Kings. He posted career-highs in points, rebounds, assists, blocks and minutes played, and shot over 40 percent from behind the arc.

Bjelica struggled for a stretch in the middle of the season, but he finished strong. His ability to help space the floor was a major bonus for the team and he was a better rebounder and defensive player than expected.

[RELATED: Fox responds to comments about his most improved candidacy]

Rookie of the Year -- Marvin Bagley

This isn’t exactly a fair category. Marvin Bagley was the second overall selection in the 2018 NBA Draft and his only competition for the award was a redshirt freshman who had played a total of 300 minutes over a three-year period.

Don’t get me wrong, Harry Giles was very impressive, especially in the month of March after he got his sea legs. Giles looks like a rotational player at a minimum, with the possibility to jump into the starting lineup down the road. But he’ll need time to develop after missing crucial development years.

Bagley jumped off the page from the moment he stepped foot on the floor. He needs to get stronger and build his overall skill base, but the 20-year-old power forward averaged 14.9 points, 7.6 rebounds and a block in 25.3 minutes per game.

A pair of knee injuries cost Bagley 20 games and plenty of momentum. A summer to work out the kinks should do wonders for the former Duke star.