Kings

Kings Youth Movement: Tracking young core through first 10 games

kings-2018-19-youth-movement.jpg.jpeg
NBC Sports Bay Area

Kings Youth Movement: Tracking young core through first 10 games

It’s a youth movement in Sacramento. After finishing last season with a focus on youth, head coach Dave Joerger has continued the trend to start the 2018-19 season.

The results have been a pleasant surprise, with the Kings jumping off to a 6-4 start over their first 10 games.

We’ll track their improvements throughout the 2018-19 campaign. Here is a first look at how the young core stacks up early in the season.

VIEW KINGS YOUTH MOVEMENT

Did Buddy Hield double dribble on Kings' buzzer-beater against Pistons?

Did Buddy Hield double dribble on Kings' buzzer-beater against Pistons?

Buddy Hield gets buckets. On Saturday in Detroit, he drained one he'll never forget, heaving in an acrobatic 3-pointer to give the Kings a 103-101 win over the Pistons at the buzzer. 

"As a kid, you always dream of hitting one of those types of shots, especially at a high level like this," Hield told reporters after the game. "It’s something I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.”

But did perhaps the most memorable shot of his NBA career come with controversy? It depends on who you ask. 

Is Blake Griffin right? Let's take another look at the shot. 

“I lost the ball,” Hield said to The Athletic's Sam Amick. “I didn’t have possession of the ball. I just tried to catch it, and I lost it. It’s whatever. It counts as a win, so we’ll take it.”

Whether you believe it was a double dribble or not, Hield's right -- it counts as a win, and now the Kings (24-22) are only a half game behind the Clippers (24-21) for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference standings.

Kings' Buddy Hield didn't double dribble before buzzer-beater, NBA says

Kings' Buddy Hield didn't double dribble before buzzer-beater, NBA says

The league has spoken.

According to the NBA’s Two-Minute Report, Buddy Hield's game-winning 3-pointer against the Detroit Pistons on the Kings' final possession Saturday night was legal.

"Hield (Sac) fumbles the inbound pass and subsequently bats the ball to the floor as he attempts to gain control," the report said. "He picks up the ball with both hands thereafter, establishing full control, and legally takes one dribble prior to the start of his upward shooting motion."

Hield’s 28-footer as time expired didn’t even graze the iron. It cut right through the net, sending Sacramento to an improbable 24th win on the season.

With 3.4 seconds remaining and the Kings trailing 101-100, Bogdan Bogdanovic hit Hield coming off a screen from Willie Cauley-Stein. Hield bobbled the initial pass, took one dribble, picked up the ball and, from one camera angle, took another dribble as he stepped through three Pistons for the open look.

Following the loss, Pistons star Blake Griffin voiced his opinion on the play.

"Fumbling the ball, taking a controlled dribble to gather the ball, picking it up with two hands then taking another dribble definitely works to your advantage," Griffin told media members.

Pistons center Zaza Pachulia agreed with his teammate.

"Once he picked up the ball, he couldn't dribble anymore," Pachulia told reporters. "That's messed up. Unfortunately he did. He got by me easy because it was sort of surprising. One-foot floater from (three-point range)? C'mon."

Pachulia's late-game defense also was called into question by the two-minute report, but like Hield, he was cleared by the officials upon review.

Hield defended his play following the game, and his recollection of the events lines up with those of the league.

“I lost the ball,” Hield told reporters following the game. “I didn’t have possession of the ball. I just tried to catch it, and I lost it. It’s whatever. It counts as a win, so we’ll take it.”

As the ball ripped through the cords, Hield shed celebrating teammate De’Aaron Fox, then took a victory lap around Little Caesars Arena before jumping a television camera cord and heading down the tunnel and into the visiting locker room.

Maybe the Kings stole a victory. Maybe the Pistons gave one away. Not of that really matters now. All that matters for Sacramento is that the game goes in the win column.