SACRAMENTO -- You can’t put a lot of stock in NBA preseason basketball, but there always is a chance for a player to step up and potentially earn himself a shot once the regular season begins.
Kyle Guy wants to be that player.
After putting on a show during the Kings’ preseason home opener, it was only fitting that the game came down to one last shot by the Kings’ second-year guard. The play was called for Guy coming out of a timeout and the coaching staff sent a clear message, which only added to the pressure of the situation.
“They told me go for the win, don’t try to tie it up,” Guy said following the Kings’ 114-113 win over the Warriors. “They said they were ready to jump over the screen that’s blocking the bench. When they said that, I knew I had to knock it down.”
The 23-year-old former Virginia star used a Chimezie Metu screen to get free from Warriors rookie Nico Mannion and then used a pump fake to get big man Caleb Weston off his feet.
With 0.6 on the clock, Guy released a 25-foot laser that swirled in the net and fell through. Despite it being a preseason game, the Kings' bench stormed the court to congratulate the hero of the night.
“What he’s doing is he’s building confidence in his teammates and his coaches as far as trusting him,” head coach Luke Walton said.
Guy torched the Warriors for 20 points on 6-of-10 shooting from 3-point range. He handled the point guard duties for stretches and chipped in three assists in the Kings’ win.
“He’s a great player, we see it every day, we see it every day in practice and in workouts he shoots like that, so it’s no surprise,” Marvin Bagley said. “I’m just happy for him that he’s getting an opportunity to show the world what he can do.”
It was a big moment for a player that scored a total of four points in his rookie season last year. Guy came into camp 10 pounds heavier and in great shape. He also was active on the defensive end and did a solid job of running the team, even though most of the players on the court were extremely inexperienced.
Following the big win, Guy talked about how his experience in the G League and Sacramento's coaching staff have helped build him up.
“They’ve been really good about instilling me with confidence,” Guy said. “Even last year, I didn’t get many opportunities, but they always told me to be ready and I try to be.”
Nothing is guaranteed this season for Guy. He is the lone two-way player on the squad at this moment, but with the Kings opting out of the G League for this season, his only real opportunity to make his mark is with the parent club.
“Making the roster was a goal I set this year,” Guy said. “If that happens, great, if it doesn’t then I’m very content. I know I can still get an opportunity even if I’m not on the actual roster.”
Two-way players will be allowed to stay with the team for the entire season this year due to the coronavirus pandemic and the potential need to have players ready to jump on the court at a moment's notice.
“He’s somebody we trust and his teammates trust him,” Walton said. “Now as far as the regular season’s concerned, if we’re fully healthy, there’s probably not a lot of minutes every night for him, but we’re having an off-night or guys are out, then he’s someone that we can throw in there and count on.”
As a two-way player, Guy can't play in every game, but he potentially could play substantial minutes over the course of the 72-game schedule. He has worked hard to build trust with the people around him, which is key for a young player trying to earn minutes.
Coming up big in a preseason game might seem like a small step, but Guy has shown the Kings that he isn’t afraid of the moment and he’s ready if the coach calls his number.