Kings

Marvin Bagley III works out with Kings: 'I love it here'

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AP

Marvin Bagley III works out with Kings: 'I love it here'

SACRAMENTO -- The 2018 NBA Draft is just around the the corner and the action is heating up. Vlade Divac and Vivek Ranadivé traveled to Spain last week to watch Luka Doncic suit up in a Real Madrid uniform. Sacramento’s front office made their way to Chicago on Friday to kick the tires on forward Michael Porter Jr. and they intend to visit the forward again later this week.

On Monday morning, power forward Marvin Bagley III dropped by Golden 1 Center to workout for the Kings. It’s an open race for the second overall selection and the Kings are doing their best to cast a wide net.

Media members were allowed in at the tail end of Bagley’s work out as he banged in the post against assistant coaches Phil Ricci and Bob Thornton. The athletic big out of Duke held his own, using a variety of moves with both his right and left hands to score over Ricci and Thornton.

“I can do a lot of different things, I’m not just one-dimensional,” Bagley said when asked why he thinks he’s the best player in the 2018 draft class. “I can go inside and out and create for my team. I can be a positive leader, lead by example. Most importantly, compete. I like to compete and win and just go hard every single day.”

Word coming out of Sacramento is that Bagley looked good in his workout. Known as a high-motor player, the 19-year-old showed ball-handling and shooting skills that he wasn’t able to showcase during his time with the Blue Devils. His incredible leaping ability and versatility shined through as well.

“I don’t want to label myself as a position, I want to be able to fit in where coach needs me and be able to do it well,” Bagley said. “I just try to go out and work on every aspect of my game and be ready for that moment.”

Whether he did enough to persuade the Kings into drafting him No. 2 is another story. Sacramento has plenty of options at the four and five positions, including another Duke product in Harry Giles. If the Kings decide to choose Bagley, there will have to be corresponding moves.

In his lone season at Duke, the 6-foot-11, 235 pound big posted huge numbers, including 21 points and 11.1 rebounds per game for coach Mike Krzyzewski. He’s relentless on the glass and would instantly improve a Kings team that ranked 28th in the NBA in rebounding last season.

Bagley has only worked out for the Kings and the Phoenix Suns, although he still intends to visit the Atlanta Hawks between now and next Thursday’s draft. While he hasn’t visited a lot of NBA cities, his initial impressions of Sacramento were good.

“I love it here, just being around all the people I’ve seen so far and met so far, just walking around the city, it’s a cool environment to be in,” Bagley said of his visit. “Not only that, on the court, I feel like it’s a place where I can definitely focus, lock in and get better. And that’s the main goal for me, to continue to grow as a player and get better.”

Bagley met and hung out with Giles and point guard De’Aaron Fox on Sunday evening. He stayed overnight in Sacramento before working out with the Kings on Monday morning.

The Kings will continue working out prospects throughout the week as they prepare for the draft. They’ve focused on a small group of players, but a lot can change between now and June 21.

 

Kings' narrow overtime loss to Heat all too familiar in trying season

Kings' narrow overtime loss to Heat all too familiar in trying season

The Miami Heat are the best home team in the NBA. They came into Martin Luther King Jr. day with an 18-1 record at AmericanAirlines Arena, and they picked up their 19th win in 20 chances with a nail-biting 118-113 overtime win against the Kings.

It’s another tough pill to swallow for Sacramento. After trailing late in the fourth quarter, Heat big man Bam Adebayo appeared to push off of Kings point guard Cory Joseph at the rim. Adebayo made a bucket with 0.8 seconds remaining that likely will show up on Tuesday’s Last Two Minute Report. 

The Kings fell behind early in overtime, but a couple of huge three-pointers from Buddy Hield gave them a late lead. Miami didn't give in, though, eventually handing Sacramento a fifth straight loss. 

“That’s more of our team that I’m used to seeing as far as how hard we competed,” Kings coach Luke Walton told reporters in Miami. “That kind of has to get back to being the standard of how we play each and every night. All guys giving everything they have. Unfortunate loss. Give Miami credit, they had a lot of big shots.”

In a season filled with bad beats and last-second misses, this one felt familiar. The Kings now have played 20 games decided by five points or fewer, and they are just 7-13 in those contests.

It’s not one player or one reason for the record, but an assortment of issues that always seem to pop up at the wrong moment. 

Nemanja Bjelica put up big numbers for the Kings in Miami, finishing Monday with 22 points on 7-of-13 shooting. His rebound and putback with 1.9 seconds remaining in regulation looked like the game-winner for the Kings.

Marvin Bagley put in a strong game as well, scoring 15 points and grabbing 15 rebounds in 38 minutes in just his fourth game back from injury. 

“I thought he gave a winning effort tonight,” Walton said of Bagley. “It’s unfortunate it didn’t turn into a win for us.” 

Hield gave the Kings a late lead in overtime, but the Heat kept charging back once again.  

“He’s always a constant threat to score quickly and he’s evolving as an all-around player too, taking more responsibility on defense and the other things that we ask him to do,” Walton said. 

Hield finished the night with 20 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, but he also shot just 5-of-17 from 3-point range in 43 minutes of action.

“I don’t necessarily consider ourselves a bad team, we just can’t figure it out,” Hield said. “Guys hurt, in and out of the lineup. We’re trying to figure out coverages.”

[RELATED: What will Kings' plan be as NBA trade deadline approaches?]

The Kings have been in a tailspin since mid-December, and it could continue. 

They are 3-13 over their last 16 contests, and they currently sit a season-worst 13 games under .500 at 15-28. The Kings also are in the middle of their longest road trip of the season with stops in Detroit, Chicago and Minnesota on the schedule before their next home game on Feb. 7.

Kings takeaways: What we learned in 118-113 overtime loss to Heat

Kings takeaways: What we learned in 118-113 overtime loss to Heat

BOX SCORE

The best way to avoid the South Beach flu? Spend an extra day in Utah.

After a blowout loss to the Jazz in Salt Lake City on Saturday, the Kings (15-28) took their time getting to Miami. They looked fresh and focused from the opening tip Monday night against the Heat (30-13) and put up a strong showing against one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference.

Unfortunately for the Kings, it wasn’t quite enough to come away with a win.

Playing without All-Star Jimmy Butler, veterans Goran Dragic and James Johnson stepped up to combine for 40 points off the Heat bench. Rookie Kenrick Nunn scored 25 and Duncan Robinson hit some huge threes to give Miami a boost in a 118-113 win over Sacramento. 

Here are three takeaways from the Kings' fifth straight loss. 

From Serbia with love

Nemanja Bjelica and Bogdan Bogdanovic have plenty of chemistry from their time playing together on the Serbian National team. Against the Heat, the two looked completely in sync. 

Bjelica hit his first five shots and finished the game with 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting. He added six rebounds, three assists and a steal in 36 minutes of action.

In his second game back from injury, Bogdanovic came off the bench to score 14 points for Sacramento. He had a chance to tie the game in the final seconds, but Johnson blocked the 3-point attempt.

Battling Bagley

Marvin Bagley struggled with his pick-and-roll defense against Rudy Gobert on Saturday. That wasn’t the case Monday against the Heat. 

Bagley scored 15 points on 7-of-13 shooting and grabbed a season-high 15 rebounds. He was active on the defensive end and even had a couple of big hustle plays. 

This is the type of game the Kings need from their second-year centerpiece. Bagley held Bam Adebayo in check, and he was opportunistic on the offensive end. 

In the final minutes of regulation, Bagley attacked the glass and came up with a pair of huge putbacks to help the Kings keep it close.

[RELATED: What will Kings' plan be as NBA trade deadline approaches?]

Stuff the stat sheet

Buddy Hield is known for his scoring, but he did a little bit of everything against the Heat.

With his 3-pointer on the fritz, Hield became a distributor for Sacramento and dished out seven assists. He hit the glass for seven rebounds and even picked up three steals and a pair of blocks. 

When the shot isn’t falling, this is the type of outing the Kings need from Hield. He was active on the defensive end and made an impact on the game.

After hitting just 3-of-14 from deep through the first 48 minutes of the game, Hield finally got a pair of triples to drop in the overtime session and finished the game with 20 points.