Kings

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

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USATI

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

SACRAMENTO -- Finish strong. With the playoff chances reduced to rumble, the Kings still have an opportunity to string together a win streak and move back over the .500 mark on the season. They'll face a struggling Phoenix Suns team that is focused on the future and not the now.

The Kings shook off a brutal loss to the Nets with a win against the Mavericks. Buddy Hield shook off his shooting struggles to score 29 points on 7-of-13 from long range. Marvin Bagley notched his third straight 20-point performance, including a career-best three makes from 3-point range.

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

Phoenix sits at the bottom of the Western Conference standings at 17-56. They have young talent, but they've lost four of their last five games and they've started to shut down players with an eye on the lottery.

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.

Following the game against Phoenix, the Kings start a five-game trip starting Sunday in LA against the Lakers. They'll make stops in Dallas, New Orleans, Houston, and San Antonio before returning home to face the Rockets April 2 at Golden 1 Center.

Line

Kings by 10

Projected Lineups

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

Suns
PG Devin Booker
SG Josh Jackson
SF Mikal Bridges
PF Dragan Bender
C Deandre Ayton

Injury Report

Kings 
C Harry Giles (quad contusion) questionable.

Suns
G Tyler Johnson (knee) questionable, SF Josh Jackson (ankle) questionable, F Kelly Oubre (thumb) out, SF T.J. Warren (ankle) out.

Rotation Outlook

Kings

Dave Joerger continues to balance the minutes for his young players with a smattering of veterans. Nemanja Bjelica is the only player above 26-years-old playing meaningful minutes in the rotation.

Harry Giles took a blow to the back of his left leg in the second quarter of the team's win over the Mavericks on Thursday. He is listed as questionable to play, although the injury is not considered serious by the team.

The Kings inked former Sacramento State guard Cody Demps to a 10-day contract on Friday. The 25-year-old averaged 11.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 3.2 assists in 30.6 minutes per game for the Kings' G League affiliate in Stockton this season. Demps is trying to become the first player in Sac State history to play a minute in the NBA.

Hield is three 3-pointers away from surpassing Peja Stojakovic for the Kings' franchise record for most long balls in a season.

Suns

Phoenix is a mess. They rank 24th in the league in scoring at 107 points per game and 27th in points allowed at 116.1. They have a frontline scorer in Booker and Ayton is putting up numbers down the stretch, but this team isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

On Friday afternoon the Suns signed former King, Jimmer Fredette, to a two-year contract. The 30-year-old guard has played the last three seasons in China, averaging over 36 points per game in the CBA.

New NCAA rules allow Kings, NBA to evaluate draft prospects early

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New NCAA rules allow Kings, NBA to evaluate draft prospects early

SACRAMENTO -- One foot in, one foot out. It’s the new NBA draft process, and the players seem to love it.

According to new NCAA rules, undergraduate college players can hire agents and work out for NBA teams without it impacting their eligibility. The agents can pay for their travel and food for NBA workouts, and they can collect feedback from clubs before deciding whether to stay in the draft or return to school.

“It allows people like me to the opportunity to test and still have a chance to get their education if they want to go back if it’s not their time," University of Florida freshman guard Andrew Nembhard said from the Kings facility Wednesday. "It’s been great.”

Players have until May 29th to make their final decision, which can get dicey for college programs waiting to hear whether they’ll have open roster spots or not.

There is hope thatm by allowing players the opportunity to test the NBA market, potential prospects can get a better feel for their strengths and what they need to focus on moving forward before making an educated decision on their future.

“I’m very thankful, grateful for the opportunity,” Virginia big man Mamadi Diakite said. “If you look back at the time people didn’t get to do this, if you were trying to test the water, you were done, basically.

“You had no way back to college,” Diakite added. “But now we get an opportunity to come and play in a great facility like this, with Hall of Famers and go back to school with that experience, you know how much you have to work and you know your weaknesses and everything. It’s a really good process.”

With fewer and fewer players fully participating in the NBA Draft Combine, this opens the door for teams to bring in more players for individual and group workouts. Many of the players who have visited the Kings this week already have plans to go back to school and re-enter the draft next year or possibly the year after that.

“With a lot of the new rules, it was a little easier decision to make,” William and Mary center Nathan Knight said. “Just the ability to test the waters and not risk my eligibility, because school is important as well.”

These players will return to school with professional assessments from multiple clubs. It’s an experience that might even raise the level of competition at the NCAA level.

“All of these GMs, all of these coaches are wise people when it comes to the game of basketball,” Knight added. “It’s a lot to take in, so I’m just doing my best to take it all in and really just put together a really robust template of what I need to work on, where they think I could go this year and what they think I can do if I went back next year.”

The process of group workouts also allows prospects to test themselves against different competition. Twelve different schools from all over the map were represented during Wednesday’s workout in Sacramento.

“I’ve been able to get great feedback on my game and just learn from great coaches and great players and get to play against the best competition in the country,” Penn State junior forward Lamar Stevens said. “This has been great for me, just being able to go through this process the way it’s been set up.”

[RELATED: Kings will reportedly go after free agent Tobias Harris]

Sacramento will host a fourth workout this week on Thursday when UCF’s 7-foot-7 center Tacko Fall headlines another six NBA hopefuls. This is the new standard for prospect evaluation.

The Kings will make a file on every prospect who rolls through Sacramento, whether it’s for one of their three second-round selections this year, or for next summer when the process starts all over again.

Kings will host UCF big Tacko Fall in workout ahead of 2019 NBA Draft

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Kings will host UCF big Tacko Fall in workout ahead of 2019 NBA Draft

The Kings might need to raise the ceilings for their next NBA draft workout. 

University of Central Florida center Tacko Fall is among the six players Sacramento will host Thursday for a workout ahead of the June 20 draft in Brooklyn. Fall, who the Kings listed as 7-foot-7 and 289 pounds, was ninth among NCAA Division I basketball players during his senior season with 2.6 blocks per game. 

NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig, citing conversations with six NBA teams and other league sources, wrote Monday that Fall was among the players who stood out at the draft combine in Chicago. Fall become something of a viral sensation in four years with the Golden Knights because of his height, and the Senegal native didn't start playing basketball until he was a teenager. 

[RELATED: Kings will reportedly go after free agent Tobias Harris]

In a league that's getting smaller and spacier, Fall is something of a throwback and "is not gonna be a guy that's gonna be a 35-40 minute a game guy," according to ESPN's Jay Bilas. The Athletic's Sam Vecenie pegs Fall as "probably a 10-minute per game guy given his propensity for fouling and his complete and utter inability to make foul shots," but noted that Fall's length (8-foot-2 wingspan) and size could make him a situational big in the NBA. 

Fall, like all of the players the Kings will host Thursday, figures to be available when the Kings pick in the second round at Nos. 40, 47 and 60 overall. Duke center Marques Bolden, who is listed as a whopping eight inches shorter than Fall, is the only workout participant listed on NBADraft.net's top 100.