Kings

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

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USATSI

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

SACRAMENTO -- The end is near. After a breakout season by the Sacramento Kings, we are down to just two games remaining on the 2018-19 schedule. At 39-41, the Kings need a strong finish to reach the .500 mark for the first time since the 2005-06 season. They'll face the New Orleans Pelicans Sunday evening looking for win No. 40. 

Sacramento struggled Thursday against the Jazz. They fell behind 16-1 to start the game and never recovered. Adding to the defeat was a pair of injuries to point guard De'Aaron Fox and reserve center, Kosta Koufos. It appears that Fox is ready to suit up on Sunday evening, but Koufos is likely done for the year and with free agency looming, he may have played his last game for Sacramento.

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

New Orleans has had a disappointing season this year after making it to the second round of the playoffs a season ago. Turmoil regarding the future of superstar big man Anthony Davis has hurt team chemistry and a series of injuries have the Pelicans at 32-48 on the season.

Kings Pregame Live on NBC Sports California begins at 5:30 p.m., with tipoff scheduled for 6:00 p.m. All coverage can be seen on the MyTeams by NBC Sports app.

The Kings will finish the season with one last road trip to Portland to face the Trail Blazers on Wednesday.

Line

Kings by 10

Projected Lineups

Kings
PG De’Aaron Fox
SG Buddy Hield
SF Harrison Barnes
PF Nemanja Bjelica
C Marvin Bagley III

Pelicans
PG Elfrid Payton
SG Cheick Diallo
SF Kenrich Williams
PF Julius Randle
C Anthony Davis

Injury Report

Kings 
PG De'Aaron Fox (foot) probable, C Harry Giles (thigh bruise) out, C Kosta Koufos (calf) out, C Willie Cauley-Stein (personal) status unknown at this time.

Pelicans
C Anthony Davis (back) probable, SF Stanley Johnson (ankle) out, SG/SF E'Twaun Moore (thigh contusion) out, PG Jrue Holiday (core muscle) out, G Trevon Bluiett (thumb) out, PG Frank Jackson (concussion) out, SF Darius Miller (thigh) out.

Rotation Outlook

Kings

With a big Pelicans frontline rolling into Sacramento, the Kings are thin on the frontline. Giles and Koufos have both been ruled out for Sunday's game and there is no early word as to whether Willie Cauley-Stein made it back to the team over the weekend after missing Thursday's game to attend to a personal issue.

If Cauley-Stein is still away from the team, expect rookie Marvin Bagley III to get a second straight start at the center position.

With 597 made 3-pointers over his first three seasons in the league, Buddy Hield is now just two away from tying and three away from breaking Damian Lillard's NBA record of 599 makes through his first three seasons.

Frank Mason posted eight points on 3-of-5 shooting in nine minutes against the Jazz. The second-year guard has played in just 37 games this season after seeing action in 52 games as a rookie.

Pelicans

Anthony Davis is listed as probable, but he was also listed as probable last week when the Kings were in New Orleans. The six-time All-Star has sat the last six games and there is no early word on whether he'll actually put on a uniform and play on Sunday.

Randle destroyed the Kings last time these teams faced off, finishing with 34 points and 11 rebounds. The 24-year-old is averaging 21.4 points and 8.7 rebounds per game in his first season with the Pelicans. He has a player option at $9 million for next season, which he is likely to opt out of this summer.

[RELATED: Kings set new goal of finishing season over .500, with playoff hopes over]

New Orleans has dropped three straight and they are 2-12 over their last 14 games. One of those two victories came over the Kings last week at the Smoothie King Center.

Kings 'have a couple All-Stars,' fired assistant Larry Lewis believes

Kings 'have a couple All-Stars,' fired assistant Larry Lewis believes

Amidst all the reshuffling in the Western Conference over the last few weeks, it's easy to forget that the Sacramento Kings are one of the up-and-coming teams in the NBA.

Led by De'Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes, Marvin Bagley and Harry Giles, the Kings won 39 games last season and have a promising future.

But the group of coaches that helped get those players to where they are won't get to see the job through to the finish line. The Kings fired head coach Dave Joerger after the season and let all of his assistants go.

Two of those coaches, Elston Turner and Larry Lewis, recently spoke to the Sacramento Bee about their departure and what they are leaving behind.

“They have a couple All-Stars,” Lewis told The Bee. “I saw a lot of potential in that young, core group. These players have a learning curve, but they were adapting very, very quickly to what was going on. Do they have a lot to learn? Of course, but at the same time, these guys are for real. I would have loved to have been a part of that going forward, but their decision is their decision and I’m at peace with it."

Fox and Hield made the biggest jumps this past season. It's clear the work with Lewis, who was a player development coach, paid off.

“It was a great experience,” Lewis told The Bee. “The players really grew. They really matured a lot. We had a great season. The team got a lot better. The players got a lot better. That’s what it’s all about.”

From Year 1 to Year 2, Fox went from averaging 11.6 points per game to 17.3. His field goal percentage improved from 41.2 percent to 45.8 percent, and his 3-point shooting improved from 30.7 percent to 37.1 percent. Those numbers combined with the highlight-reel plays he made were good enough to help him finish third in the NBA's Most Improved Player voting.

As for Hield, he blossomed from a spot-starter to a guy that started all 82 games for the Kings this past season. He entered the year shrouded in questions, but answered every single one of them by averaging a career-high 20.7 points per game and sinking a Kings' single-season record 278 3-pointers.

Bagley and Giles, both rookies, showed that they have the potential to be difference-making bigs in the NBA.

[RELATED: Barkley: Kings won't make playoffs]

“You could see the improvement,” Turner told The Bee. “A lot of guys got better and Larry was head of the player development department, so he did a hell of a job.”

Now it will be up to new head coach Luke Walton and his staff to help the Kings' young core continue their development. If they do, Sacramento will be a force in the Western Conference for years to come.

Kings agree to contract with forward Tyler Lydon, agency confirms

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AP

Kings agree to contract with forward Tyler Lydon, agency confirms

The Sacramento Kings are taking a flier on a former first-round draft pick.

Forward Tyler Lydon and the Kings have agreed on a two-year contract, Priority Sports tweeted on Sunday afternoon.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, citing a league source, first reported the agreement.

Lydon all but confirmed the agreement by quote-tweeting Wojnarowski's tweet with crown emojis.

The Kings now have 18 players on the roster, according to ESPN's Bobby Marks.

Back in 2017, the Denver Nuggets used the No. 24 overall draft pick on the Syracuse product. But things didn't work out for Lydon in the Mile High City.

The 23-year-old appeared in just 26 games over two seasons with Denver and averaged 0.9 points and 0.7 rebounds.

[RELATED: Kings have 'preliminary interest' in Koufos]

Despite using a first-round draft pick on Lydon, the Nuggets declined Lydon's 2019 option, making him a free agent.

Now, the Kings are hoping they can unlock the potential that made Lydon worthy of being a first-round draft pick.